Billionaire Warren Buffett shares his business lessons and wisdom.
Here are the hi-lites:
When do you decide to invest in a firm?
The best thing that happens to us is when a great company gets into temporary trouble. We want to buy them when they’re on the operating table. (Mr. Buffett bought Coke when it had its biggest fiasco after launching New Coke; he bought American Express when it went through a loss making phase in the early 60’s)
What do you look for in people when they come to sell their firms to you?
I don’t look for the usual credentials such as an MBA, a pedigree (Harvard, Wharton), or cash reserves or market cap of their firm.
What I look for is just a passion in their eyes; I think that’s the key. A person who is hungry will always do well. I prefer it when people even after selling stay on and work for the firm; they are people who can’t wait to get off their bed to get to work. Passion is everything; there is no replacement for innate interest.
Why do stock market crashes happen?
Because of human nature for greed and insecurity. The 1970s were unbelievable. The world wasn’t going to end, but businesses were being given away. Human nature has not changed. People will always behave in a manic-depressive way over time. They will offer great values to you.”
What are the things that are taught wrong in Business school and the corporate world?
I like such open ended questions, I think Business schools should refrain from teaching their wards about profit making and profit making alone, it gives a sense of 1 dimensional outlook to the young students that loss is a curse. In reality, in the corporate world, failure and loss making are inevitable. The capital market without loss is like Christianity without hell. I think they should teach the student on how to buy a business, how to value a business? Not just on how to determine the price of a business. Because price is what you pay, value is what you get.
How do you feel after donating $ 40 Billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation? You are a hero to us!
I feel nothing. I haven’t sacrificed anything in life. I have had a good life. I donated after I turned 75. I think I admire those people who sacrifice their time, share their food and home, as the people to be emulated not me. Besides, what is money before a man’s life?
What do you think are the pitfalls in donation?
I have never donated a dime to churches or other such organizations; I need to believe in something before I end up doing that. I have been observing the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation for years now and I am confident they will do a fantastic job of making use of the money. I am a big believer in Outsourcing, others believed in me as an Investor and gave their hard earned money to invest. I believe in Bill Gates, he is a better donor than me.
You seem to be so well read, tell us how it all started.
My father was a stock broker, so we had all these financial books in our library. He introduced me to those classics and I got into them. I am lucky that my father was not a fan of Playboy! Reading is the best habit you can get. Well, you can learn from teachers too, and have mentors but there are so many constraints attached- they will talk fast, talk slow, they might talk like a pro or they might be terrible communicators. Books are a different animal altogether, I love reading! The beauty about reading and learning is that the more you learn the more you want to learn.
What is the 1 biggest advice you would impart to a young investor like me?
Think for a moment that you are given a car and told this is the only car you would get for the rest of your life. Then you would make sure that you car is taken care of well, it is oiled and detailed every now and then. You would make sure that it never gets rusted, and you would garage it. Think of yourself as that car. You just get 1 body, 1 mind and 1 soul. Take care of it well. Invest in yourself that would be my advice.
So, what is your roadmap to becoming a billionaire?
Throughout history man has been making predictions of the future. With the advent of technology, the predictions moved away from religious topics to scientific and technological. Unfortunately for the speakers, many of these failed predictions have been recorded for all future generations to laugh at. Here is a selection of the 30 best.
1. “There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.
2. “We will never make a 32 bit operating system.” — Bill Gates
3. “Lee DeForest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public … has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company …” — a U.S. District Attorney, prosecuting American inventor Lee DeForest for selling stock fraudulently through the mail for his Radio Telephone Company in 1913.
4. “There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States.” — T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, in 1961 (the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965).
5. “To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth – all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances.” — Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, in 1926
6. “A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — New York Times, 1936.
7. “Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical (sic) and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.” – Simon Newcomb; The Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawk 18 months later.
8. “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” — Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895.
9. “There will never be a bigger plane built.” — A Boeing engineer, after the first flight of the 247, a twin engine plane that holds ten people
10. “Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.” -– Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955.
11. “This is the biggest fool thing we have ever done. The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.” — Admiral William D. Leahy, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy during World War II, advising President Truman on the atomic bomb, 1945. Leahy admitted the error five years later in his memoirs
12. “The energy produced by the breaking down of the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine.” — Ernest Rutherford, shortly after splitting the atom for the first time.
13. “There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at will.” — Albert Einstein, 1932
14. “The cinema is little more than a fad. It’s canned drama. What audiences really want to see is flesh and blood on the stage.” -– Charlie Chaplin, actor, producer, director, and studio founder, 1916
15. “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903
16. “The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have plenty of messenger boys.” — Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878.
17. “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.” — A memo at Western Union, 1878 (or 1876).
18. “The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.” — IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959.
19. “I must confess that my imagination refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea.” — HG Wells, British novelist, in 1901.
20. “X-rays will prove to be a hoax.” — Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society, 1883.
21. “The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous.” — Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916.
22. “How, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense.” — Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton’s steamboat, 1800s.
23. “Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever.” — Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889 (Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power).
24. “Home Taping Is Killing Music” — A 1980s campaign by the BPI, claiming that people recording music off the radio onto cassette would destroy the music industry.
25. “Television won’t last. It’s a flash in the pan.” — Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948.
26. “[Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” — Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.
27. “When the Paris Exhibition [of 1878] closes, electric light will close with it and no more will be heard of it.” – Oxford professor Erasmus Wilson
28. “Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as ‘railroads’ … As you may well know, Mr. President, ‘railroad’ carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by ‘engines’ which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.” — Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1830(?).
29. “Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” — Dr Dionysys Larder (1793-1859), professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy, University College London.
30. “The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to no one in particular?” — Associates of David Sarnoff responding to the latter’s call for investment in the radio in 1921.
As found here
Conficker has gone on to become one of the most widespread internet worms in recent years.
The conficker computer worm, also known as downup, downandup and Kido first surfaced in 2008 but as of January 17, various reports declare that 6.5 million computers have already been infected by this virus. It also states that 3 in 10 windows PC are vulnerable to conficker attacks.
It could be the biggest April Fool’s joke ever played on the internet, or it could be one of the worst days ever for computers connected to the network. Security experts can’t work out whether the Conficker virus will wreak havoc on Wednesday , or just let the day pass quietly.
Experts have worked out that from midnight on 1 April, the Conficker program will start scanning thousands of websites for a new set of instructions telling it what to do next. The infected machines thus comprise one of the biggest “botnets” – a network of “robot” computers – in internet history. And if they were all given a target, such as simultaneously sending search queries to Google or trying to connect to a gambling site, they could knock it offline through the sheer volume of connections – a “denial of service”. Victims usually discover that they have been locked out of their computers or have very slow-running internet connections.
Careful study of infected machines has revealed that from midnight on Wednesday they will seek new instructions from a randomly generated list of thousands of websites that changes every day. Just one needs to be under the virus writers’ control to turn Conficker into a newly configured botnet – making the task of catching the exact site a search for a needle in a computing haystack.
Experts admit that they have little idea of where Conficker might be headed next. “It’s a brave man who puts his neck out like that,” said Graham Cluley, an analyst with internet security company Sophos. “For what it’s worth, we have never seen earlier versions of the Conficker worm downloading a malicious payload.”
It is also rumoured that Conficker may not activate immediately, preferring to lie in wait before receiving further orders to avoid scrutiny. The main purpose of Conficker is to provide the authors with a secure binary updating service that effectively allows them instant control of millions of PCs worldwide.
The identity of its creator remains unknown, despite Microsoft offering a bounty of $250,000 (£176,000) for the information. Usual methods of unpacking the virus code to examine its workings have been thwarted because the authors have encrypted it, using algorithms that render it almost uncrackable.
- Users being locked out of directory
- Access to admin shares denied
- Scheduled tasks being created
- Access to security related web sites is blocked.
Method of Infection –
- This worm exploits the MS08-067 Microsoft Windows Server Service vulnerability in order to propagate.
- Machines should be patched and rebooted to protect against this worm re-infecting the system after cleaning.
- Upon detection of this worm the system should be rebooted to clean memory correctly. May require more that one reboot.
- Scheduled tasks have been seen to be created on the system to re-activate the worm.
- Autorun.inf files have been seen to be used to re-activate the worm.
- Users infected by W32/Conficker.worm should perform an On Demand Scan to remove remnants of the worm in memory using the latest DATs.
- Upon detection of W32/Conficker!mem and REBOOT, the W32/Conficker.worm malware components will be removed.
More information – http://vil.nai.com/vil/content/v_153464.htm
But beware of the other malware and virus creeping into your system by means of fraudulent software claiming to be an anti-dote to Conrficker. Microsoft is behind it and will do an appropriate press release for it. So trust only well known names for the cure.
The Microsoft Future Pro Photographers Photography Contest is the most lucrative contest of its kind and provides a unique opportunity for college and university student photographers from around the world to showcase their artistic talent and photographic style.
Microsoft is committed to carrying the art of digital photography forward by encouraging new and emerging talent at the student level to learn, utilize, and implement state-of-the-art equipment, software, and techniques to produce the finest images possible.
For student photographers, this is an opportunity to Kick Start Your Career as a future professional photographer.
The exciting prize packages include a Grand Prize of US$20,000 cash and a digital workflow prize package.
There will also be three First Place winners in the following categories:
Nature & Landscape; People & Portraits; and Sports & Photojournalism
who will each win US$3000 cash and a digital workflow prize package as well.
The submission period is March 1st through April 30th, 2009. The opportunity of a lifetime is just a click away!
All you college students and budding photographers, grab your camera and start hunting for the ‘moments’.
Unemployment has hit a 25-year high, the Dow is at a 12-year low, and it’s impossible to go 10 minutes without hearing the term “Great Depression.”
These are times when you need to squeeze much more than 100% of your dollar. So for all those who are looking to make any purchases online, the MSN Toolbar and its new “cashback-offer-detecting mechanism” may be just what the financial advisor ordered. This development ties into the established Live Search cashback program. Use Google, Yahoo, or Live to search for products – or even run queries through Craigslist – and according to a post on the official Live Search blog, “the toolbar will gleam an icon if there is cashback available for the item you searched for.”
Click on the shiny bit, and you’ll be taken to a page featuring the cashback offer. The idea is that you won’t miss a single opportunity to receive a discount and make you a happy customer. And at the same time, of course, Microsoft gets a little bit of space on your computer screen and earns a warm spot in your heart.
Mircosoft will soon launch, Laura, the virtual personal assistant for those of us who cannot afford a human one.
Laura appears as your secretary on the screen. You can speak to her and ask her to handle basic tasks like booking appointments for meetings or scheduling a flight. What is amazing, however, is Laura’s ability to make sophisticated decisions about the people in front of her, judging things like their attire, whether they seem impatient, their importance and their preferred times for appointments.
Instead of being a relatively dumb terminal, Laura represents a nuanced attempt to recreate the finer aspects of a relationship that can develop between an executive and an assistant over the course of many years. “What we’re after is common sense about etiquette and what people want,” said Eric Horvitz, a researcher at Microsoft who specialises in machine learning.
Microsoft wants to put a Laura on the desk of every person who has ever dreamed of having a personal aide.
Laura requires a topof-the-line chip with eight processor cores to handle all of the artificial intelligence and graphics work needed to give the system a somewhat lifelike appearance and function. Such a chip would normally sit inside a server in a company’s data centre. Intel is working to bring similar levels of processing power down to tiny chips that can fit into just about any device.
So all those ladies thinking of a future as the PA of the top boss, beware of competetion from the likes of Laura.
A Mircosoft Tech Support Centre in Rural India!!!
With the spread of computers in India, this can become a reality very soon.