Technology The Nebraska Sage and Watson


Warren Buffett

written by Mike Sterling for Canadian Community News

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Warren Buffett is often ranked in the top two or three most influential and richest people in the world.

He is a simple man with clear thoughts.  I admire him greatly.  He plans to give away 99% of his vast wealth.

He does not like it that mega-billionaires pay so little tax.

He, Bill and Melinda Gates do more for humanity with their wealth than any billionaires known.  Buffett gives to the Gates Foundation.  They have formed a partnership.

He holds a stockholders meeting in Omaha Nebraska, where he was born and still lives.  The current price, as of this writing, of a single share of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.a} preferred stock is $248,000.  I wonder if they ever heard of a stock split?

I have a friend whose wife has long invested in BRK.  She was a nurse.  My friend, a former professor of mine, goes with her to the meetings.  They serve very fine food.  It's also peaceful, so he can read and write undisturbed.

So, why am I so interested in Warren Buffett?  There are two reasons:

1.  I think he is a very good man.

2.  He, over time, has purchased over 64 million shares of IBM worth 11 billion or $172/share.

He now owns about 5.5% of the stock of IBM.  Why?

Warren Buffett has always been a value investor.  He does not buy a company, fire the management and sell it off in pieces. 

Yes Heinz had layoffs, but he did not control the management and they long term needed to reduce costs.  He invests in solid productive companies.  He is a name brand investor in stable industries.

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What is IBM's clear vision?  I see it as tied up totally with the Watson science and technology, that I've written about in the past.

Buffett has never been a technology investor... admitting that he does not understand high technology.

So, why the buy?  He claims that he likes IBM's clear vision and how they acquire and keep customers over time.

It's intriguing to watch the push toward Artificial Intelligence move forward.  Buffett may not have it right, but his bet is a good one to watch.

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Thursday, December 22, 2016