#303 Rose Blumkin (Warren Buffett's Favorite Founder)

Episode Summary

What I learned from reading The Women of Berkshire Hathaway: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Female CEOs and Directors by Karen Linder.

Episode Notes

What I learned from reading The Women of Berkshire Hathaway: Lessons from Warren Buffett's Female CEOs and Directors by Karen Linder. 


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Episode outline:

Mr. Buffett, we're going to put our competitors through a meat grinder. — Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein. (Founders #182)

There are several "Going Out of Business" advertisements from competitors' stores framed and hanging on the wall.

As a general rule, bet on the quality of the business, not on the quality of the management-unless, of course, you've got a Mrs. B. in your hand. If that is the case, go all in. She was a business genius. —  The Tao of Charlie Munger (Founders #295)

Retirement is fatal. — David Ogilvy (Founders #189)

Business like raising a child, you want a good one. A child needs a mother and a business needs a boss.

What is your favorite thing to do on a nice evening? Drive around to check the competition and plan my next attack.

He was 52 and famous. I was 33 and a junior account executive. Early on, he wrote a letter to one of my clients. After listing eight reasons why some ads prepared by the company’s design department would not be effective, he delivered his ultimate argument: The only thing that can be said in favor of the layouts is that they are “different.” You could make a cow look different by removing the udder. But that cow would not produce results. So began my “David” file. Almost everyone who worked at the agency kept one. — The King of Madison Avenue: David Ogilvy and the Making of Modern Advertising by Kenneth Roman. (Founders #169)

Buffet said: If she ran a popcorn stand I’d wanna be in business with her. She's just plain smart. She's a fierce competitor and she's a tireless worker.

Buffett “on how Mrs. B ran her business: One question I always ask myself in appraising a business is how I would like, assuming I had ample capital and skilled personnel, to compete with it. I'd rather wrestle grizzlies than compete with Mrs. B. They buy brilliantly, they operate at expense ratios on to t competitors don't even dream about, and they then pass on to their customers much of the savings. It's the ideal business—one built upon exceptional value to the customer that in turn translates into exceptional economics for its owners."

She hired a chauffeur who drove her around Omaha each day. The driver took her to other stores. She looked in the windows and checked to see how many cars were in their parking lots. It didn't take long for her to plan her revenge.

There was no looking back. She just swung.

Aspiring business managers should look hard at the plain, but rare, attributes that produced Mrs. B’s incredible success. Students from 40 universities visit me every year, and I have them start the day with a visit to NFM. If they absorb Mrs. B’s lessons, they need none from me.


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