WHAT I LEARNED FROM WARREN BUFFETT’S DINNER BY JUSTIN SUN
Great things take time.
Thank you Warren Buffett for your wisdom and for sharing your vision of the future along with your quick witted humor which made the dinner so much fun with lots of laughter! He truly is someone who is happy and enjoying life to the fullest!
I’ll always remember your kindness and support, and will take your advice and guidance to make TRON a better ecosystem with all the partners in the blockchain space and beyond.
On January 23rd, 2020 at 6:00 PM CT, Mr. Buffett, myself, Charlie Lee, Chris Lee, Helen Hai and Yoni Assia met for dinner at Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska. I am so grateful that Mr. Buffett would honor our previously postponed gathering.
To commemorate the occasion, I presented him with a few gifts. These gifts being:
A bronze horse figurine. Despite being born 60 years apart, both Mr. Buffett and I were born in the Year of the Horse.
A paper cutting artwork of the Year of the Mouse with a personal message: from Justin to Warren.
A set of plates with TRON logo and matching chopsticks.
A personal copy of my book “Brave New World”.
And of course, a Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 with TRON blockchain embedded, loaded with 1 Bitcoin, 1,930,830 TRX, 100 BTT, 100 WIN, and 100 TRC20-USDT. The number of TRX matches Mr. Buffett’s birthday, and yes, now Mr. Buffett holds Bitcoin!
Warren Buffett’s cryptocurrency addresses:
One of the most memorable experiences during dinner was when I demonstrated to Mr. Buffett how to use TRON for transferring tokens through the Samsung Galaxy Fold I gave him. 45.67888 TRX was instantly transferred. This transaction amount mirrors the winning auction amount of 4,567,888 USD that was donated to the Glide Foundation for Mr. Buffett and myself to meet.
Upon witnessing the completion of the transfer, Mr. Buffett was delighted and said blockchain has its value. He remarked that there are a lot of incredible companies in the payment space, and it has huge demands. Mr. Buffett went on to say that blockchain technology will have a disruptive effect on the future of payments.
Here is the Transaction Hash: https://tronscan.org/#/transaction/6876418e90962449c2c3c5a0d85cbc3b17ab4885b12b9b06ae3a4b69a559636b
After presenting these gifts, the dinner proceeded. What follows are some of the highlights of our conversation with Mr. Buffett:
On Delaying Our Lunch:
I apologized to Mr. Buffett regarding the delay of the lunch. Mr. Buffett was very understanding, and said we were able to meet after all, so all is good.
On My Winning Auction:
Mr. Buffett asked me about the details of the auction. I replied “the auction was quite intense, I had a very competitive opponent”. Luckily, I set on eBay to outbid the highest bidder by $100 each time. I also set my threshold at $4,567,888 but would have gone up to $10 MIL if needed. I really wanted to win!
Mr. Buffett followed up and asked me, how much was your budget for the auction? I said, “10 million USD”. Mr. Buffett asked was it you or the team handling the bid. I said, “my team was closely monitoring everything, but I was the one handling it.”
On My Meeting with Steve Wozniak:
Mr. Buffett asked me about my meeting with Apple Co-Founder, Steve Wozniak, and wanted to relay his greetings to him. Mr. Buffett said, “Wozniak is a legend who shaped the development of Apple”. That comment took me by surprise because it suggested Mr. Buffett already knew about my meeting with Wozniak. It only happened two days prior to our dinner. Mr. Buffett might be closely following my Twitter. LOL.
Mr. Buffett said that Samsung is doing well in its market, although Apple rakes in most of the profit. But Samsung is really doing a great job. It is not easy considering the chairman of Samsung Lee Kun hee (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Kun-hee) is in the hospital for quite a long time. Mr. Buffett remarked that he hopes he gets better soon.
On The Giving Pledge:
I introduced myself as the first millennial graduate from Jack Ma’s Hupan University. Mr. Buffett said that he has high hopes for Jack Ma. When Mr. Buffett was in China, Jack Ma hosted him. Jack Ma also attended the Giving Pledge organized by Bill Gates and spoke highly of it. I expressed my willingness to participate in the event and Mr. Buffett further added he would like to see more people outside the U.S. participate.
Mr. Buffett donates most of his money to Bill Gates’ Foundation because he thinks it’s better to let someone who can do a better job do it for him.
On Finding the Right Partner:
Mr. Buffett said “If you are not sure if your girlfriend is the one, then she isn’t. It’s the same with business partners.” He mentioned that he’s lucky to have found Charlie Munger, saying “it’s a matter of luck.” Charlie 35, Warren 28, worked at the same grocery store in high school, by luck!
Mr. Buffett said blockchain has its value. There are a lot of incredible companies in the payment market, and it has huge demands. He believes blockchain technology will have a disruptive effect on the future of payment.
Mr. Buffett stated the reason why he doesn’t think Bitcoin is a good investment is that as much as he recognizes the value of blockchain, it is not all going into Bitcoin.
Mr. Buffett thinks people get protection from stocks and equity. The current U.S. dollar system does well. Bitcoin is simply a changing hands activity with no value added. Mr. Buffett would rather buy acres of land. We can plant something and harvest it. Bitcoin cannot capture the value of blockchain. Just because something has value doesn’t mean it’s a good investment.
I told Mr. Buffett about how Bitcoin is going to be the currency for the next generation. Although he doesn’t appreciate the value of Bitcoin, I’m sure his grandchildren will. Mr. Buffett smiled and said, “it’s not going to happen. I’m sure my grandson would rather inherit my wealth in US dollars.”
Mr. Buffett said if you work so your children don’t have to work, you might as well stop working.
Mr. Buffett said he would like to leave his family enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.
Mr. Buffett said he was married at the age of 23. Back then, people married early, and he’s still happily married.
In regards to marriage having the same culture, having the same beliefs, and things like wanting kids or no kids would make things easier.
Mr. Buffett said competition is the last thing you want in a marriage. It cannot turn into a competitive relationship, which is why it’s best not to end up with someone who’s constantly competing with you. He has seen lots of couples who are in competitive relationships suffer from unhappy marriages.
Mr. Buffett bought his first insurance at the age of 23. He did this for his wife and children so even if he had died the next day, his family would be able to receive $50K, showing that he’s a cautious family man.
Mr Buffett said it’s not easy for an individual to excel at even just one thing. It’s hard for him to just be successful at investing based on the book The Intelligent Investor. He then signed a copy of The Intelligent Investor book and gave it as a gift to me. He went on to say he has dedicated his life to something he can be good at which brings him happiness.
Investing, unlike the medical and sports industries, is one of the few areas that is not constrained by age and relies on experience.
Mr. Buffett said if you had a crystal ball and it tells you smartphones will change the world in ten years, then is it a good idea to invest in smartphones? No. Because most companies didn’t survive except for Apple. Even those who survived are having a difficult time. It’s not the best industry to invest in.
Berkshire Hathaway has two million shareholders. Mr. Buffett said he would only make an investment he can sleep well at night with. He doesn’t invest in new technologies, he only pays attention to profitable businesses.
In his conversation with Yoni, Mr. Buffett talked about an Israeli business ISCAR he invested in. He gave them 2 billion dollars the first time and 4 billion dollars the second time. This business created significant social value for Israel. We also talked about the CEO of Overstock, Patrick Byrne, who is a good friend of Mr. Buffett, but his Bitcoin business is not doing very well.
Chris asked Mr. Buffett in terms of Financial Ratios such as Free Cash Flow, Gross Profit Margin, Net Profit Margin, which one is more important. Mr. Buffett thinks the cash flow condition is the best representation of real business performance. Fundamental analyses are important for an individual stock. Berkshire Hathaway keeps its cash level at a healthy level. Too much cash reserves would drag down the return.
I told Mr. Buffett I have invested in Tesla since 2012 because I believe Tesla is creating a new ecosystem like Apple did in 2007.
Mr. Buffett said Elon Musk is a great entrepreneur. A large industry with huge potential but he doesn’t believe Tesla is a good investment.
The automobile industry is a field with immense competition and lots of aggressive players. Since Ford, the US has had over two thousand automobile manufacturers, and now only three are left and none of them are currently doing well. As much as the automobile industry changed the world in a good way, no investors nor businesses benefited from it. On the contrary, the whole industry is stuck in endless competition. The same is true with consumer electronics. With smartphones, Apple is the only major winner, even Samsung hasn’t been able to make that much earnings.
Tesla is facing a lot of competition, and these businesses with large cash reserves would rather file for bankruptcy than quit. For Tesla, the future is full of uncertainties. Mr. Buffett said “Close your eyes and imagine what the news headlines’ gonna be in ten years. Think about the most likely one, not the one you want to see the most.”
Chris asked which entrepreneur does Mr. Buffett admire the most. Mr. Buffett said Bezos. And Jack Ma is the one he admired the most in China.
Mr. Buffett talked about how not everyone needs banking services. For example, his wife hasn’t used any banking services for 15 years and relies solely on cash and checks. She doesn’t feel it is inconvenient at all.
On Income equality:
Mr. Buffett said it is an obvious question, what does one of the most successful people in the world think about income equality? He mentioned the top 1% own the most wealth of the population. Yet, it was much worse hundreds of years ago. So actually equality in society is getting better. Capitalism as a system is great and ensures taking care of the public.
I noticed the similarities between Warren Buffett and Jack Ma when it comes to teaching. They both share the same value in wanting to dedicate the rest of their lives in educating the younger generations since they are the future. They both dedicate a lot of their time in devoting to this cause. I’m honored to have been a student to them both.
Overall, my impressions are that Mr. Buffett is a prudent, disciplined, and patient person. He follows his own rules and sticks to them. He has strong convictions and is decisive. He embraces certainties over uncertainties and things he can fundamentally understand. I am thankful for the lessons learned during this experience. I feel like Mr. Buffett gave me phenomenal consul. If there is ever a chance in the future to collaborate with Mr. Buffett, I would love the opportunity.
It’s been a long, difficult journey to reach this point, but thank you all for your patience and understanding in this extraordinary occasion. This is not just monumental for the TRON Foundation and our community, but for the entire blockchain space as a whole. We have made progress together. We have reached out to the other side and marched towards having dialogue.
At TRON, we strive our best to deliver. The blockchain market is still nascent and rapidly growing. There’s doubt in this market; there are questions and concerns. Sometimes it takes longer than anticipated, but TRON executed and we delivered eventually. This time around we were fortunate to deliver in a big way. Not just for TRON and our community, but also for the whole blockchain community. We had an opportunity to start an open dialogue. Let’s work together to change the general public’s mindset on our space. Let’s decentralize the internet together!