Note: This is uploaded fast, to get it to you fresh. I’ll edit later. This is the pre-meeting notes - jump to my next post for Q&A.
7:35 - We cab it to the CenturyLink, AKA the center formerly known as Qwest center. A woman out front is holding a sign that says “Berkshire uses billions to kill babies”. She explains, by way of apology, that you don’t need to spend billions to kill babies. I agree with her and explain that it really couldn’t shouldn’t cost more than a dollar or two, on a per-baby-basis. I mean, if you’re spending billions, there’s probably a lot of inefficiencies in the process (side note: one of the many charity efforts that Munger and Buffett both fund is Planned Parenthood. Hence, billions, babies, etc.).
7:50 - Once we walk inside, it’s pretty clear that by not getting up at 6AM and immediately going to the stadium, we have set sail for fail. Every desirable seat is taken, and there’s a pattern to how we find this out. We approach a single, weary-looking man, who is sitting alone in a sea of empty seats. As we get closer to him, we realize that the seemingly empty seats are, in fact, claimed - things like a single breath mint or business card resting precariously on the seat edge. We look at the man; he looks at us. We reach out to brush away the offending piece of confetti or whatever, and he shakes his head. We keep walking, the untouchables of the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Eventually, we find space in the farther row back, center stage, and we set about putting breath mints and business cards on the surrounding forty seats.
8:20 AM - A voice doing a surprisingly good imitation of the late Don Lafontaine is announcing the time until the famed Berkshire movie starts. The lights dim and Lon DaFontaine tells us to get back to our seats.
Cartoon Warren Buffett is hocking Berkshire products. GEICO, See’s, Coke. Buffett is playing football for the Nebraska cornhuskers, charged with warming the bench (OH HAY MR. BUFFETT I PLAYED THAT POSITION TOO, WE’RE LIKE TWINS!). The Huskers are facing an all-robot team from Washington, and Nebraska is down in the first half. Brief commercial break during halftime for Borsheim’s to explain that they can keep me well stocked in silver toothpicks and gold nail clippers. In the second half, the coach puts Buffett in, who serves Dilly bars and blizzards to the beleaguered Huskers. Well, I don’t want to ruin it for you, but OH GOD WHO AM I KIDDING, THE GEICO GECKO CATCHES THE GAME WINNING PASS! HUSKERS WIN, HUSKERS WIN!
Video continues - showing the CenturyLink center being setup. Gratuitous shots of Buffett doing a mic check with a ukelele, people setting up booths showing Justin Boots and mobile homes.
Short sketch on Debbie Bosanek letting the fame from the Buffett tax rule go to her head. Buffett is fielding her calls, because she’s too busy. Oprah doesn’t recognize him :( Buffett also has extreme stress trying to transfer calls. Poor Warren. The president calls, and after he’s done talking to Debbie, maybe he can talk to Warren. Becky Quick calls - she’s booked Debbie for the pre-annual meeting. Finally, Charlie calls with an investment idea. Warren can listen, if he wants, but he needs to run it by Debbie. Cue Warren screaming, Kevin McAllister-style.
More commercials. Buffett sings in a boy-band inspired music video for GEICO . If you thought that Buffett was gonna be the ‘clean cut’ guy in this boy band, YOU HAVE GOT ANOTHER THING COMING. Buffett is clearly the dangerous fella, the one you wouldn’t want to bring home to mom. You can tell, because his part is autotuned and he briefly raps. My life is pretty much complete.
Buffett is on the therapists couch. But this is no ORDINARY therapist - his therapist is JIMMY BUFFETT (because they have the same name, if you didn’t notice at first). Dr. Buffett doesn’t seem to take his role seriously - he’s playing games on his iPad. Again, poor Warren. He can’t play a certain chord on the ukelele, and it‘s driving him nuts. The chord, for those of you of you who NEED TO KNOW, is a D sharp, half diminished. Never say that my coverage of this meeting was anything less than complete. You can’t get this information anywhere else.
Another sketch! The GLEE cast has a new member. Hint: He’s a little older than the rest of them, and his name rhymes with TORRIN MUFFETT. Also, Puck isn’t very respectful of [celebrity name removed to preserve suspense]. He thinks that he should have “hos”. At the new members urging, they sing a song accompanied by the ukelele. My girlfriend is well-versed in the black art of Acapella, and I will ask her later how the mystery celebrity did. I suspect he was a tad flat at a few points, but a brilliant smile and jazz hands can make up for a lot.