Notes to Myself



Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting Videos – 1994-2018

Few weeks ago I posted a blog on CNBC’s Warren Buffett Archive. I recently saw that Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting videos of years 1994-2018 have been uploaded on Youtube.

It is such a wonderful experience to see more of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, especially in their prime (though they were 60+/70+ then). Hope to see more such videos uploaded on Youtube. Meanwhile do watch these AGMs:




Anatomy of A Blowup

I read the following news about Jet Airways:

  • JET AIRWAYS posts loss after 11 straight quarters of profits
  • Loss higher than past 6 quarters of profit combined
  • Fuel costs and higher other expenses dent numbers

It reminded me of the following side explaining Nassim Nicolas Taleb’s assertion of “Anatomy of A Blowup”

Few days ago, Prof. Sanjay Bakshi had tweeted the same image with another example.

Great insight! The pattern is not as rare as it appears to be. Maybe, we should factor the Black Swan event as a certainty…given a long enough period.

CNBC’s Warren Buffett Archive

Yesterday I posted a short blog post with link to 2018 Annual General Meeting of Berkshire Hathaway.

I watched the Live telecast of the AGM till very late night (as per India Time). Some days back I posted a blog on Charlie Munger and shared some of his videos. Few days later I wrote another blog on my idol and his mental models.

Warren Buffett is (almost) 88 years old and Charlie Munger completed 94 years on 1st  January 2018. Since the time I have discovered the duo I have been trying to read everything written or spoken by them. But video adds one more dimension – it also shows the body language and composure. I have not wasted any opportunity to find and watch any video where either on them has featured. There are plenty of videos of Warren Buffet. But there are very few of Charlie Munger. I think I have watched all…

Since last 2 years Berkshire Hathaway started live streaming of their AGM – first in 2016 and then in 2017.  And I watched it again yesterday. It has been a wonderful experience watching the two holding marathon meetings.

One sad feeling I get is that both these great people are slowly approaching the inevitable – the end of life. They themselves talk about it often and that too in light, humorous tone. When you know that someone who you are close to is about to vanish forever you tend to spend every possible minute with that person, collect as many memories as possible. (This is also true of the person who is about to leave your life and become stranger after spending precious few years with you)

So with that feeling I try to read/listen to / watch everything featuring Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger – even though at times it becomes repetitive and predictable. I always wondered that Berkshire started Live streaming of their AGM very late, only 3 years. I have read all previous Letters To Shareholders since 1965 (you can download them here). I have also read some interesting quotes and discussion from some of the AGMs. But I always wished I could watch those AGMs or listen to the audio recording.

And my wish came true today!

I found out that CNBC has released definite collection of Warren Buffet – 24 years of Berkshire Hathaway videos, over 120 hours of videos and 2600 pages of transcripts!

This is amazing! To borrow Warren Buffett’s analogy, I felt like a kid in a candy store…

Here is the link to the Warren Buffett Archive: The Warren Buffet Archive (since 1994)

Check out the 1994 AGM clip where WB quoted “You don’t fin who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out”. Or, when asked “What is your next goal in life now that you are the richest man in the country?” Buffett’s instant reply was: “That’s easy. To be the oldest man in the country” 🙂

Well, I hope he and Charlie go on to become the oldest men alive…by a huge margin!


Live: Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting 2018

Watch Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting 2018 Live on Yahoo!

Berkshire Hathaway AGM 2018

Larry Ellison USC Commencement Speech | USC Commencement 2016

I have learnt so much from so many different people. They have influenced me and shaped my thoughts in many ways. Some of these people I like from Business/Management domain are:

  • Charlie Munger
  • Warren Buffett
  • Steve Jobs
  • Jeff Bezos
  • Henry Ford
  • Elon Musk
  • Rajiv Bajaj
  • Ajay Piramal

One person I have not followed much is Larry Ellison. I first noticed him when I read his quote which I blogged in 2007. I haven’t following him much since then. But I recently came across his commencement speech at USC and liked it a lot.

Check if you like it too. By the way he was 73 years old at the time of this address!

Good Read: How Long Is A Quarter? 6 Months If You Are This Indian “Startup”

I came across a couple of interesting articles on Reliance Jio (Mukesh Ambani’s $38 billion “start-up”) suggesting that the accounting practices (just like a lot of other things at the Ambani Group) could be dubious. I want to write something on valuation and Indian equity markets since a long time…meanwhile do read this article.

Ambani’s Mobile Startup Packs 6-Month Sales Into a Quarter

It is not clear if it is accounting fraud or just “massaging the numbers” within the permissible accounting rules. But this definitely calls for a closer look at the Reliance Industries performance.

Good Read: The Dead Horse Theory

This is so true…!

The Dead Horse Theory

The tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that, “When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount”

However, in modern business, education and government, a whole range of far more advanced strategies are often employed, such as:

  1. Buying a stronger whip
  2. Changing riders
  3. Threatening the horse with termination
  4. Appointing a committee to study the horse
  5. Arranging to visit other countries to see how others ride the dead horses
  6. Lowering the standards so that dead horses can be included
  7. Re-classifying the dead horse as “living impaired”
  8. Hiring outside contractors to ride the dead horse
  9. Harnessing several dead horses together to increase the speed
  10. Providing additional funding and/or training to increase  the dead horse’s performance
  11. Doing a productivity study to see if lighter riders would improve the dead horse’s performance
  12. Declaring that as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overhead, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line of the economy than do some other horses
  13. Re-writing the expected performance requirements for all horses
  14. Promoting the dead horse to a supervisory position of hiring another horse

Good Read: Making the Jump from Millionaire to Billionaire, and How Long That Takes

Here is an intereting Infographic: Making the Jump from Millionaire to Billionaire, and How Long That Takes


Some very good insights based on this…will write some other day.

Chanda Kocchar, Videocon case and test of “ना खाऊंगा ना खाने दूंगा”

Some interesting stories have unfolded in the Indian Banking and Financial Sector in last 1-2 months. First, there was the Nirav Modi and Punjab National Bank scam, and since then many Banking frauds or scams are coming in light.

But there is one peculiar story that is still not being seriously pursued. Few days ago there was a news that the Top two ladies at the two leading private banks in India have been summoned by SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office). Usually the bank officials from the concerned branch are called for such questioning. So it was a bit surprising to see that the CEOs were called. One of them happened to be ICICI Bank’s CEO Chanda Kocchar.

Then last week some stories broke out in few lesser known media, individual blogs that Chanda Kocchar was caught in a dubious deal involving Videocon group and her husband’s joint venture where ICICI Bank (headed by Chanda Kocchar) lent large sums of loan, and eventually Videocon was declared as Non Performing Asset (thereby helping her husband’s JV).

The story was not picked up by any major newspaper or TV media until this week. It was said in hush-hush manner that the case has been referred to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the PMO is sitting on the file but not willing to act. Some suggested that it is going to be a major test of Prime Minister’s motto, which he used to brag about often (but not much of late!), “ना खाऊंगा ना खाने दूंगा” – Won’t take bribe myself and won’t let others take

It is indeed a sad situation that such high profile cases are not pursued in transparent manner and politics and electorate convenience always takes over.

You should remember that Chanda Kocchar was among the top bankers who had praised the monumental blunder of Demonetization. She had called it a “gamechanger” !?

Just yesterday the ICICI Bank board announced that they back Chanda Kocchar amid nepotism rumors. See how conveniently the case has been transformed from a fraud to a nepotism issue!

Let’s see how the case unfolds and who pursues it. I have a major investment in ICICI Group companies, mainly because of their track record and sound corporate governance. But now I am not sure if they do have such high standards – in fact, does anybody else in India can claim to have highest Corporate Governance standards? We have seen the mighty fall of Satyam Computers. We have seen internal squabbles at Tata Group (Mistry vs Ratan Tata), we have seen similar power struggle in Infosys (Narayana Murthy vs Vishal Sikka). All these were reputed firms/groups who seemed so fragile once these issues came to surface.

So now one cannot be 100% sure that any business house or company or person is infallible.

In my view the Chanda Kocchar “scam” or “nepotism” issue is going to blow into a major controversy soon, and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be under pressure to act in this matter. Not sure if he is willing to…given the fragile state of Indian Banking Sector and the reputation of Chanda Kocchar.

Update: 31st March 2018:

CBI has registered preliminary inquiry into the Videocon-Kochhar case. Let’s see how this shapes up. How much of politics and how much of genuine inquiry/investigation…



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