Monday, September 8, 2008

Berkshire-Hathaway Stockholders Meeting

Although it is probably not sound economic policy to base your investment portfolio on the quality of the annual stockholders meeting of the company stock you are purchasing, perhaps it is a consideration for some. I had my first experience with attending a corporate stockholders meeting by going to the one for WalMart, since it is so close to where I live. The fact that it was held in the same huge arena as where I had attended many Razorback basketball games perhaps added to my excitement of being in the audience, but the geographical excitement was soon overwhelmed by the excitement of the numerous celebrities (both athletes and entertainers) that were part of the program. I determined to return the following year, and since then, have had the opportunity to see and hear several big-name personalities, as well as the opportunity to ask questions to the actual president of WalMart. So when I heard on MSNBC that the Berkshire-Hathaway stockholders meeting was quite the event, and was held annually in Omaha, Nebraska, I put it on my list of things to do. Of course, it did require my being a stockholder, so I purchased the minimum amount that will make a person a stockholder. I attended the 2008 Annual Meeting last May, and here is my report: It too is held in a huge arena, and is a bit more drawn out than the WalMart event. It included activities for stockholders the day before, the day of, and the day after. One of my favorite parts was going to the "Net-Jets Reception" at the Omaha airport where we were able to tour several different styles of private jets, have snacks to munch on while we visited with other attendees, AND a big-screen tv to watch the Kentucky Derby which was going on the same day. And I cannot omit the excitement I felt getting to be in the crowd of photographers following Bill Gates as he strolled through the exhibits that go along with the meeting. I have a greater appreciation for those photographers who can get a clear, crisp, in-focus shot of someone like that, because every photo I took of the man showed that one of us was shaking badly (and I don't think it was him!) One of my cousins has recently gone to work for a large corporation that is a leading chocolate supplier for the entire world, and their annual meeting is held in Switzerland. Let's see---could my portfolio use a little sprinkling of cocoa?
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