Warren Buffett elogia a esta persona una y otra vez. La razón por la que es fascinante

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Recientemente volví y leí todas las cartas anuales de Warren Buffett a los accionistas.

Es parte de un proyecto para mi nuevo libro electrónico. Warren Buffett predice el futuro (edición preliminar), lo que puedas Descargalo gratis aqui. Porque yo (en retrospectiva) me di cuenta de algo obvio que el propio Buffett no sabía cuando escribió muchas de estas cartas.

En esos días de Internet antes del consumo, ¿podría haber esperado cuán grande sería la audiencia algún día para ellos? Seguramente no podría haber esperado que la gente los descargara todos a la vez y los leyeran de principio a fin.

(Algunas personas miran El Gambito de la Reina o viejas secuencias de La oficina durante una pandemia; otros leen el texto completo de 500.000 palabras de las cartas de Buffett).

El hecho de que ahora podamos ver estas cartas de esta manera proporciona una visión realmente fascinante. Este es mi ejemplo favorito hasta ahora. Comienza en la carta de Buffett de 1983.

Ese año, en su cumpleaños, Buffett conoció a una mujer de negocios de 89 años llamada Rose Blumkin (conocida por todos como «la Sra. B») para comprar su negocio: $ 55 millones por una participación del 90 por ciento.

Buffett elogió a Blumkin, a sus hijos y a otros miembros de la familia, tanto en la carta de 1983 como en los años siguientes.

Todos habían crecido trabajando en el negocio de Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) que la Sra. B comenzó con solo $ 500 en 1937. Cuando Berkshire Hathaway compró NFM, tenía ventas de $ 100 millones al año.

«Prefiero luchar con Grizzlies que competir con la Sra. B y su descendencia», escribió Buffett al presentarla a los accionistas.

Al año siguiente, Buffett anunció que confiaba en ella tan completamente que ni siquiera revisó el inventario o las cuentas por cobrar cuando compró la empresa.

«Le dimos a la Sra. B. un cheque por $ 55 millones y ella nos dio su palabra», escribió Buffett. «Eso aseguró un intercambio parejo».

Sigue apareciendo en cartas que no creo que Buffett hubiera esperado que la gente leyera todas a la vez 30 o más años después. Son educativos pero también bastante divertidos cuando podemos ver cómo resultó todo.

1985: «También me complace informar que a los 92 años, la presidenta de NFM Rose Blumkin (la legendaria ‘Sra. B’) continúa marcando un ritmo en el negocio que ninguno de nosotros puede seguir».

En 1987: «[T]Hoy, NFM es, con mucho, la tienda de muebles para el hogar más grande del país … La Sra. B continúa trabajando los siete días de la semana. … Sé que está ganando ritmo y que podría alcanzar su máximo potencial en otros cinco o diez años. Por esta razón, convencí a la junta directiva de que redujera nuestro seguro de pensión obligatorio a 100. «

1989: «El Nebraska Furniture Mart registró ventas récord e ingresos tremendos en 1989, pero hubo malas noticias. La Sra. B … anunció … Abrió una nueva tienda en 96 – ¿qué más? – alfombras y muebles. ¿Y cómo ella siempre trabaja los siete días de la semana «.

1992: «A fines del año pasado, la Sra. B decidió vender su edificio y propiedad a NFM … Me complace que la Sra. B se haya vuelto a conectar con nosotros … Esta vez, la Sra. B amablemente me ofreció one Firmando un acuerdo de no competencia, y yo, siendo descuidado en este punto cuando ella tenía 89 años, hice el trato «.

Por supuesto, Buffett también elogió a la Sra. B en otros lugares. Un ejemplo divertido accidental que encontré es esta entrevista televisiva de finales de los 80. («Si pudiera iniciar un negocio y tuviera un primer draft como el de la NFL», dijo Buffett, «me quedaría con la Sra. B. No hay otra Sra. B»).

La Sra. B siguió trabajando y recibió una lluvia de elogios de Buffett hasta poco antes de su muerte en 1998 a la edad de 104 años.

Una vez que le preguntaron qué secretos tenían ella y su familia que los hicieron tan exitosos, Buffett dijo que había cuatro puntos simples:

Primero, «aplicar con [intense] Entusiasmo y energía. «

En segundo lugar, «definen su área de competencia con extraordinario realismo y actúan con decisión en todos los asuntos que contiene».

En tercer lugar, «ignoran incluso las sugerencias más tentadoras que fallan fuera de esta área particular de experiencia».

Finalmente: «Siempre te comportas de manera de alta calidad con todas las personas con las que tratas».

Un último detalle que me llamó la atención: el día de su cumpleaños, el día que Buffett se reunió con la Sra. B para comprar su empresa, tenía 53 años. Estaba a punto de cumplir 90 años, que es la edad que tiene Buffett ahora.

Esto significa que, según los estándares de la Sra. B, Buffett debería dirigir Berkshire al menos hasta la década de 2030. Pero tengo que preguntar: ¿Alguien ha pensado en conseguir que firmen un acuerdo de no competencia?

Como recordatorio, puede obtener el libro electrónico gratuito aquí: Warren Buffett predice el futuro (edición preliminar).

Las opiniones expresadas aquí por los columnistas de Inc.com son las suyas propias, no las de Inc.com.

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The fact that we can look at these letters now, in this way, provides some really fascinating insights. Here's my favorite example so far. It starts in Buffett's 1983 letter. 

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On his birthday that year, Buffett met with an 89-year-old businesswoman named Rose Blumkin (known to all as 'Mrs. B'), in order to acquire her company: $55 million for a 90 percent stake.

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Buffett was effusive in his praise of Blumkin and her children and other family -- both in the 1983 letter, and in the years that followed. 

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They'd all grown up to work in the business, Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM), which Mrs. B had started with just $500 in 1937. By the time Berkshire Hathaway bought NFM, it was generating $100 million a year in sales.

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"I'd rather wrestle grizzlies than compete with Mrs. B and her progeny," Buffett wrote in introducing her to shareholders.

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The next year, Buffett revealed that he trusted her so completely that when he bought the company, he didn't even audit the inventory or check the accounts receivable.

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"We gave Mrs. B. a check for $55 million and she gave us her word," Buffett wrote. "That made for an even exchange."

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She comes up, over and over -- again, in letters that I don't think Buffett would have expected people to read all at once, 30 or more years later. They're instructive, but also quite funny when we can see how everything unfolded.

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In 1985: "I am also happy to report that NFM's chairman, Rose Blumkin (the legendary 'Mrs. B'), continues at age 92 to set a pace at the store that none of us can keep up with."

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In 1987: "[T]oday NFM is far and away the largest home furnishings store in the country ... Mrs. B continues to work seven days a week. ... It's clear to me that she's gathering speed and may well reach her full potential in another five or ten years.  Therefore, I've persuaded the Board to scrap our mandatory retirement-at-100 policy."

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In 1989: "The Nebraska Furniture Mart had record sales and excellent earnings in 1989, but there was one sad note. Mrs. B ... quit. ... At age 96 she has started a new business selling -- what else? -- carpet and furniture. And as always, she works seven days a week."

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In 1992:   "At the end of last year, Mrs. B decided to sell her building and land to NFM. ... I am delighted that Mrs. B has again linked up with us. ... This time time around, Mrs. B graciously offered to sign a non-compete agreement -- and I, having been incautious on this point when she was 89, snapped at the deal."

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Of course, Buffett sang Mrs. B's praises in other places too. One random fun example that I found is this TV interview from sometime in the the late 1980s. ("If I could start a business, and I had first draft pick like in the NFL," Buffett said, "I'd take Mrs. B. There aren't any other Mrs. Bs.")

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Mrs. B continued to work, and to be lavished with Buffett's praise, until shortly before her death in 1998, at age 104. 

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Asked once to explain what secrets she and her family had that made them so successful, Buffett said there were four simple points:

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First, they "apply themselves with [intense] enthusiasm and energy."

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Second: they "define with extraordinary realism their area of special competence and act decisively on all matters within it."

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Third: they "ignore even the most enticing propositions failing outside of that area of special competence."

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Finally: they "unfailingly behave in a high-grade manner with everyone they deal with."

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A final detail I noticed: On his birthday that day when Buffett met with Mrs. B to buy her company, he was 53. She was just about to turn 90, which is the age Buffett is now.

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This means that by Mrs. B's standards, Buffett should be running Berkshire well into the 2030s at least. But I have to ask: Has anyone thought to get him to sign a non-compete agreement?

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Reminder, you can get the free ebook here: Warren Buffett Predicts the Future (Preview Edition).

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