A celebration of failed New Year’s resolutions
16 hours ago
If we don't, which is not even an option, just to put something on the line -- and it might take me the rest of my life -- I will pay back my scholarship because I didn't do what I said I was going to.
Courtney Paris is a terrific person, the epitome of what people hope their school’s student-athletes will be. I don’t believe it ever crossed her mind that she might be sending out some kind of “message” to UConn or any other team. Her message was intended for the Oklahoma fans and the program to which she feels indebted.
As most of us have done nothing wrong, guilt is not a motivation to surrender our earnings. We have worked 12 long months under these contracts and now deserve to be paid as promised. None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house.
I also think she’s looked at this in too narrow a way. What both Courtney and Ashley Paris have brought to their university, the Big 12 and the women’s basketball community long ago exceeded the value of their scholarships.
"These guys brighten my day every Wednesday. They are so much fun!" - Rachel TaylorBut also the givers:
"I love giving free compliments - there's nothing else I'd rather do" - WestcottSee them in action for yourself:
**Disclaimer - I have not actually tried any of these ideas yet, and if I did, I would make sure I had a co-pilot to run the tech side of the presentation while I focused on facilitating.**
The people you work with are people you were just thrown together with. You don't know them. It wasn't your choice, and yet you spend more time with them than you do your friends or your family. But probably all you've got in common is the fact that you walk around on the same bit of carpet for eight hours a day.And Life
I don't know what a happy ending is. Life is not about endings, is it? It's a series of moments.Here's the clip where he shares his thoughts. And wow! When he and Dawn finally get together... well it's much more meaningful if you've seen their relationship from the beginning. Enjoy.
Our decrease in net worth during 2008 was $11.5 billion, which reduced the per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock by 9.6%. Over the last 44 years (that is, since present management took over) book value has grown from $19 to $70,530, a rate of 20.3% compounded annually.* The table on the preceding page, recording both the 44-year performance of Berkshire’s book value and the S&P 500 index, shows that 2008 was the worst year for each. The period was devastating as well for corporate and municipal bonds, real estate and commodities. By yearend, investors of all stripes were bloodied and confused, much as if they were small birds that had strayed into a badminton game.Lampert focused more on retail, which makes sense being this was the shareholder letter for Sears Holding Company:
This past year was a very difficult year for the world economies and for retail in the United States, and 2009 needs to be the year of restoring confidence and trust in our financial system. We have witnessed the weeding out process that inevitably accompanies difficult economic times, with retail companies like Circuit City, Mervyn’s, Linens ’n Things, and Fortunoff not just filing for bankruptcy, but undertaking complete liquidation. Other retail companies, many of whom are highly regarded, have seen their plans and expectations thwarted by events ranging from consumer distress and the tightening of credit markets to rating agency concerns, all of which have upset normal expectations about how a retail business should be run.STAY TRUE TO OUR GOALS
In good years and bad, Charlie and I simply focus on four goals:I always enjoy the folksy way that Buffett shares his perspective. Here Lampert used the same focus on the controllable goals strategy, but wrote in language the reads more like generic company speak.
- maintaining Berkshire’s Gibraltar-like financial position, which features huge amounts of excess liquidity, near-term obligations that are modest, and dozens of sources of earnings and cash;
- widening the “moats” around our operating businesses that give them durable competitive advantages;
- acquiring and developing new and varied streams of earnings;
- expanding and nurturing the cadre of outstanding operating managers who, over the years, have delivered Berkshire exceptional results.
We continue to hone our vision and define what it will take to achieve it. There are five key pillars of our strategy, and I would like to lay them out for you:FOCUS EXTERNALLY OR INTERNALLY
- Creating lasting relationships with customers by empowering them to manage their lives
- Attaining best in class productivity and efficiency
- Building our brands
- Reinventing the company continuously through technology and innovation
- Reinforcing “The SHC Way” by living our values every day
Now, let’s take a look at the four major operating sectors of Berkshire. Each of these has vastly different balance sheet and income account characteristics. Therefore, lumping them together, as is done in standard financial statements, impedes analysis. So we’ll present them as four separate businesses, which is how Charlie and I view them.
As discussed above, a number of changes in the regulatory environment greatly impacted Sears Holdings and other companies. Three additional areas quickly come to mind.
If you're as a big of a geek as me and you would like to read the complete letters, you can find them at these links: Warren Buffet's letter and Eddie Lampert's letter.If you decide to leave during the day’s question periods, please do so while Charlie is talking. The best reason to exit, of course, is to shop. We will help you do that by filling the 194,300-squarefoot hall that adjoins the meeting area with the products of Berkshire subsidiaries. Last year, the 31,000 people who came to the meeting did their part, and almost every location racked up record sales. But you can do better. (A friendly warning: If I find sales are lagging, I lock the exits)...So join us at our Woodstock for Capitalists and let us know how you like the new format. Charlie and I look forward to seeing you.