Five things Bill Gates has learnt from 25 years of friendship with investor Warren Buffett

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett share 25 years of friendship (Image from Gates Notes)

Source: GatesNotes.com

To mark the 25th anniversary of his friendship with beloved investor Warren Buffett, Bill Gates has shared their most cherished moments together on his blog.

“I don’t remember the exact day I first met most of my friends, but with Warren Buffet I do,” Gates said on Gates Notes, recalling meeting Buffett for the first time on July 5, 1991.

“I think the date stands out in my mind so clearly because it marked the beginning of a new and unexpected friendship for Melinda and me.”

These are five key lessons Gates says he has learnt from his friendship with the Oracle of Omaha.

1. People you think you have nothing in common with can offer surprising value

When Gates first met Buffett in 1991, he did so begrudgingly on the request of his mother.

“Look, he just buys and sells pieces of paper. That’s not real value added. I don’t think we’d have much in common,” Gates says.

But he was pleasantly surprised.

During their first conversation Gates loved how Buffett looked at the world and says the pair got “lost in conversation” for hours.

2. No matter how big you get, always be humble

On meeting Buffett, Gates was enlightened with questions no one else had asked him, like why his small software business Microsoft thought it could compete with the likes of IBM, what the skill sets at his company were and how its pricing worked.

“He didn’t come across as a big shot investor,” Gates says. 

“He had this modest way of talking about what he does.”

3. Stay connected to your inner child

According to Gates, Buffett mostly lives on hamburgers, ice cream and Coke, all things he loved to eat and drink as a child.

One of the first times he stayed at Gates’ house, Buffett ate Oreos for breakfast.

“Our kids immediately demanded they have some too,” Gates says. 

“He may set a poor example for young people, but it’s a diet that somehow works for him.”

4. Learn and laugh more

Gates says learning and laughing are two things no one can overdo, and it’s a lesson no one teaches better than his friend Buffett.

One of Buffett’s many gifts is his ability to make learning with him fun, so much so that people are drawn to him, says Gates.

“If Warren has time for a call, it’s the highlight of my week,” says Gates.

Surrounding yourself with people who are passionate and well read in issues you want to grow your knowledge in makes for an exceptional relationship and way of learning, Gates says.

“Warren and I love to talk about companies, politics, world events, and new innovations,” says Gates.

“He’s got that economic investor’s eye and I have much more of a technologist’s eye towards things.”

5. Invest in friendship

“Even though he keeps up a hectic schedule, Warren finds time to nurture friendships like few other people I know,” Gates says.

This captures the biggest lesson Gates says he has learnt from Buffett: the power of friendship.

“It’s about being the kind of friend you wish you had yourself. Everyone should be lucky enough to have a friend who is as thoughtful and kind as Warren,” says Gates.

“He goes out of his way to make people feel good about themselves and share his joy about life.”

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George Naumovski
4 years ago

You never stop learning because not one person knows everything. Sharing experiences goes both ways because what you don’t know someone else will and what you know someone else wont, it’s a win win situation.