In my eyes, this is a good article about Bill Gates. It’s a little suck-up-y to Gates in a lot of areas, but I really enjoyed one particular quote about halfway through.
Then I met Warren, and I thought, “Oh, wow, this guy isn’t just about buying and selling stocks and businesses. He is thinking about how the world works.” And he asked me questions that I always wanted somebody to ask me, about why hadn’t IBM been able to do what we had done, and how software gets priced, and why does one company have a defensible position. He wanted to understand the dynamics of the industry. To me it was way far away from, “What is your company worth?”
Then he explained to me about how Wal-Mart had not only changed things in its business, but how it had an effect on newspapers because they thought of their advertising differently than individual local stores had. And he talked about how banking really worked in terms of credit risk. The whole time all I could think was, “Hey, I’ll be smarter about running Microsoft after I talk to this guy.” And so I stayed the whole day.
I can think of several ways that this story demonstrates why Warren Buffett is where he is.
- He meets smart people
- He asks good questions
- He listens
- He helps others understand things better; he gives great knowledge for free
- He thinks things through at multiple levels
I don’t know how much of Buffett’s image is genuine, and how much is PR fluff. But he certainly seems to often demonstrate specific qualities that are good.