It has always been a bucket list item of mine to attend Berkshire Hathaway's Annual General Meeting, also known as the Woodstock for capitalists. I was hoping to go last year for the 50th Anniversary but we weren't able to get ourselves organized in time and of course didn't want to pay the exorbitant hotel prices for the weekend. Therefore we got ourselves organized about six months into this year's event and got a great room an an Airbnb suite and booked flights that wasn't completely unreasonable.
Here's a recap of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting weekend, it was probably one of the highlights of my year (other than getting engaged haha)! We did not go to the event at Borsheim's on Friday night, but did manage to get into Century Link for all that he has to say.
Getting the Tickets
To get the shareholder passes to you need to be either a BRK.A or BRK.B shareholder. Obviously I don't have $200,000+ to plunker down on Berkshire shares, so Berkshire B share it is. You get the annual report in the mail and can order your credentials to be mailed to you in order to access all the shareholder events. I literally just bought one BRK.B share (around $145) last year (blame it on the high USD) in order to get my credentials.
Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting
Apparently this year 1000s of people started lining up at 4:30 am to get floor seats. We didn't arrive until about 6:40am and were able to get seats on the lower bowl. This was the first year that the meeting was televised live (on Yahoo Finance Live Stream) so perhaps that's why we were able to get a good seat without much of a line up (in fact, no line up).
We went to the CenturyLink area to pick up the package for the 5km Invest in Yourself run and stumbled into Warren Buffett doing his rounds at the exhibits. We were ridiculously close to him, about two meters away and managed to get a few pictures among the throng of media and Buffett fans. I shouted “Warren!” but he didn't hear me. Haha.
The movie started promptly at 8:30 (it was really good, I loved the ads and the cameos from famous celebrities) and the Question and Answer period with Charlie Munger started at 9:30. Some of the questions asked were similar to questions asked in previous Berkshire Hathaway meetings, including a question asking Warren Buffett if he had any regrets in life (to which he said there wasn't, and Charlie Munger answered that he wished he ‘smartened up' earlier in life). Of course, someone also asked about Coca Cola, and why Buffett and Munger endorse it because of how it is a sugary unhealthy drink. I loved Warren Buffett's wit and humour.
He made a joke about how Charlie Munger is depicted with more women around him usually, and he said it's because when young women are asked to select between two older ridiculously wealthy men, they would choose the older one.
They interspersed questions from shareholders, from journalists, and from the financial industry until about 1pm, and then there was a one hour break and the meeting commenced again. We left a little early to check out the booths at the CenturyLink.
CenturyLink Exhibit Booths
The companies and subsidiaries that Berkshire Hathaway owns is mind boggling. Benjamin Moore paints, Geico, Dairy Queen, Heinz Kraft, Coca Cola, Sees candies, Fruit of the Loom and Brooks to name a few, are the companies that Berkshire Hathaway is affiliated with. The exhibits were displayed and there were tons of things to buy (for a good price, too!). Going on Saturday afternoon was nice because they gave some deep discounts to clear stock out.
We checked out a home by Clayton Homes 1426 sq feet, 3 bedroom for just under $80,000. Maybe they could ship that to Vancouver, haha, it would save a ton on building costs haha. I got a mini-blizzard for $2 and a Kraft mac and cheese and Heinz ketchup bottle with Charlie and Warren's cartoon on it for $1. We bought a coffee table book about Warren Buffett for $15, my fiancee got some Berky boxers (for $3 a pair, you can't go wrong), and I got some See's candies.
Readers, stay tuned for Part Two of the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting experience! Have you been? What was your favourite part?