There weren’t any groundbreaking announcements, but some things were pretty interesting:

  • the weather was ridiculously cold. It was raining, too, which is probably why they opened the doors 30 minutes early at 6:30am;
  • not a whole lot of protesters this week – at least none that made it inside the building;
  • The “Breaking Bad” skit at the beginning of the meeting was comedy gold: Warren Buffett vs Walter White in a battle over brittle distribution. The greatest part was Munger’s “Brittle, bitch!” at the end.
  • BYD, the Chinese electric car company that Charlie Munger praised from the rooftops for years, was never mentioned during the Q&A, nor showcased in the exhibit hall. Oh, the shame!
  • After Buffett’s little speech on the need for better gender equality, Munger refused to comment. Given his previous conservative commentary on gender relations, it probably wouldn’t have been very PC – silence was probably the better course of action;
  • Doug Kass, who is apparently a famous short-seller, was one of the panelists who got to ask Buffett and Munger questions. The first few were fine, but around 2pm he turned his question into a 3-minute monologue about the benefits of short-selling and a lame challenge to Buffett with a complete list of conditions. He blabbered on for at least 3 minutes, wasted everyone’s time and got succinctly shut down by Munger’s “To answer your question – no.” Here is hoping he won’t get invited again;
  • The funniest moment of the Q&A session: a 25-year-old guy from Los Angeles who asked how he could convince people to give him money for his brand new partnership, even though he had no track record of any kind. Laughter ensued;
  • The bookstore in the exhibit hall featured pretty much every book ever written about Buffett, except for his official, authorized biography – The Snowball byΒ Alice Schroeder. Only the old biography, Roger Lowenstein’sΒ Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist, was featured. I guess Buffett is still mad at Schroeder;
  • The Buffett worship is turning into creepy idolatry: shareholders could buy boxer shorts with Buffett’s face on them ($5) or a gold coin with Buffett’s face ($850);
  • When asked about IBM’s moat and competitive advantage, Buffett launched into tirade about different valuation methods, etc. He never did answer the question, which only reinforces my belief that IBM wasn’t a traditional Buffett investment. Seems like it was just a convenient, fairly conservative large company that simply happened to match some (but not all) of his usual criteria…