How a humble Warren Buffett taught Bill Gates to laugh more

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Published: August 15, 2017 11:22:47 AM

In a blog titled ‘25 years of Learning and Laughter’, Bill Gates wrote last year: “I don’t remember the exact day I first met most of my friends, but with Warren Buffett I do."

Bill Gates shares a very close bonhomie with Warren Buffett, his friend for over 25 years. (Image: Reuters)

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft shares a very close friendship with Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in the world. They’ve had a very enriching bonhomie which has stood the test of time — theirs is a friendship of more than 25 years. Last year, in a blog titled ‘25 years of Learning and Laughter’, Bill Gates wrote: “I don’t remember the exact day I first met most of my friends, but with Warren Buffett I do.”

Bill Gates says that the friendship has changed his life for the better in every imaginable way. Taking stock of what he learnt from Warren Buffett, he explains, “Warren has helped us do two things that are impossible to overdo in one lifetime: learn more and laugh more.” The blog went on to detail Bill Gates’ favourite memories with Warren Buffett.

Bringing out the striking differences between them, Bill Gates wrote, “At first glance, Warren and I may seem like a mismatch. I’m a technology nerd. He’s an investor who doesn’t use email. In fact, I never expected to be friends with him.” Bill Gates explained the role of his mother in initiating the friendship. When his mother called him to come on a vacation to meet a group of friends, which included Warren Buffett, he cut her out saying that he’s too busy with work. When his mother insisted that Warren Buffett would be interesting, Bill Gates said, “Look, he just buys and sells pieces of paper. That’s not real value added. I don’t think we’d have much in common.”

After further persuasion he agreed to meet the legendary investor. When he met Warren Buffett, he was mighty impressed with the questions put forth by the ‘Oracle of Omaha’. Bill Gates recounted in his blog, “He started asking me some questions about the software business and why a small company like Microsoft could expect to compete with IBM and what were the skill sets and the pricing.” Warren Buffett did not come across as a big-shot investor, and Bill Gates was drawn by the way the legendary stock picker thought about the world. This led to “very deep” friendship from the very first conversation.

Bill Gates was also intrigued by Warren Buffett’s choice of food. Speaking about his eating habits, Bill Gates notes, “One thing that was surprising to learn about Warren is that he has basically stuck to eating what he liked when he was six years old.. he mostly eats hamburgers, ice cream, and Coke.”

Giving a glimpse of his deep bonding with Warren Buffett, Bill Gates wrote that he has only two numbers on speed dial: his home and Warren Buffett. He went on to write, “If Warren has time for a call, it’s the highlight of my week.” Bill Gates looks up to the Warren Buffett as a father figure. He said, “when faced with a challenge, we often ask ourselves, “What would Warren do?” It usually leads us to the best answer.” The tech tycoon noted that while Warren Buffett and he are mostly peers, sometimes Warren Buffett is much wiser than him.

In the same blog, Bill Gates explained that Warren Buffett’s ability to stay ‘emotionally invested’ sets him apart. He wrote, “Warren earned a reputation as the “Oracle of Omaha” for his shrewd approach to investing in business. But he’s equally gifted at investing in people.” Bill Gates also noted that despite his busy schedule, Warren Buffett finds time to nurture their friendship. The most important lesson in the last 25 years for Bill Gates has been the one in friendship. “It’s about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren,” he wrote.

Bill Gates said that even to this date, Warren Buffett drives down to the airport to receive him. Writing on how deeply he feels about it, he penned, “It’s a small gesture, but it means the world to me.” Closing the emotional blog, Gates wrote, “Thanks for your friendship, Warren. It’s been an amazing 25 years. I look forward to making many more memories with you in the years ahead.”

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