Warren Buffett on making mistakes: ‘That makes it interesting’
Warren Buffett wins more than he loses.
He’s one of the world’s savviest investors and Berkshire Hathaway has a market cap of nearly $532 billion. Buffett’s success with investing has earned him the title of the fourth richest person in the world, with a current net worth of $88 billion, according to Bloomberg.
But despite his success, Buffett says it’s the hard times that keep him on his toes. He recently likened bad investments to golf in the Financial Times.
“If you played golf and you hit a hole in one on every hole, nobody would play golf, it’s no fun,” Buffet told FT. “You’ve got to hit a few in the rough and then get out of the rough…. That makes it interesting.”
While Buffett is known as the Oracle of Omaha for his stellar investing record (Berkshire Hathaway has delivered a 20.5 percent compounded annual gain in market value since 1953, according to Bloomberg) he isn’t always right. Famously, Buffett “made the wrong decisions on Google and Amazon,” he said at Berkshire’s 2018 annual shareholder meeting.
He said he was behind the curve on Google (it took friend and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates telling Buffett to stop using search engine Altavista and Berkshire subsidiary Geico paying Google “a lot of money” at the time of its initial public offering for him to become aware) and with Amazon, he underestimated its ability to disrupt retail.
“I’ve watched Amazon from the start. I think what Jeff Bezos has done is something close to a miracle … The problem is when I think something will be a miracle, I tend not to bet on it. It would have been far better obviously if I had some insights into certain businesses,” he said at the meeting.
Like many other successful people — ranging from Bill Gates to Mark Cuban — Buffett does not fear failure. He owns his mistakes and doesn’t dwell on them.
“You’re going to make mistakes in life, there’s no question about it,” Buffett has said. “You don’t want to make them on the big decisions, who you marry and things like that. So there’s no way I’m going to make a lot of business and investment decisions without making some mistakes. I may try to minimize them. I don’t dwell on them at all. I don’t look back….”
“The triumphs in life are partly triumphs because you know that everything isn’t going to be a triumph,” he said.
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