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Pilgrimage to Omaha

PPFAS MF's Rajeev Thakkar on why value investors attend the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting every year

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Published 2 years ago on Apr 26, 2019 8 minutes Read
AP

There are plenty of books written about Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger and Berkshire Hathaway. However there is a book with an intriguing title of “Pilgrimage to Omaha”. This I believe is an apt description to the phenomenon of investors from all over the world congregating in the mid-western of Omaha on the first weekend on May each year for the Annual Meeting of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders. Warren Buffett himself calls it “Woodstock for Capitalists”.

I have been to the Berkshire meeting a number of times and there are many stories which do not directly link to specific companies or sectors or the economy but are nevertheless important from an investing standpoint indirectly.

To put into context, Warren Buffett has been famous for being probably the most successful investor.  He is not only is good at what he does but he and his partner Charlie Munger have been very generous in sharing their investing insights with the public at large. They do this through the following:

  1. Annual letters to Berkshire Shareholders.
  2. Media articles and interviews.
  3. Annual meeting of Berkshire shareholders.
  4. Lectures to small group of students in a classroom setting and also visits by students to Berkshire office in Omaha where they get to spend time with Warren Buffett.

 While learnings from 1 and 2 have been easily accessible to all, learnings from the third avenue of the Annual meeting were accessible only to those who made the trip to Omaha each year. This is because there was no audio / video recording accessible to the public at large till the year 2015. It is only since 2016 that those learnings are accessible via live-streamed and recorded proceedings of the meeting. Learning from the fourth avenue continues to be hard to come by.

Given that today investors can access current and past recordings of the meetings at  https://buffett.cnbc.com/ what are the extra learnings that an Omaha trip can provide?

Firstly, there will always be a difference between watching something on a screen v

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