Here are some excerpts from notes taken at that meeting:
Health insurance is so ingrained into national policy that it is a tough business. It's pretty adversarial. I'm not really that excited about it from a business perspective. I don't want to write policies with high loan loss ratios. That being said, I would buy the stock of an undervalued healthcare insurer.
Insurance is an interesting business. You know, we underwrote a two year life insurance policy on Mike Tyson. I wanted an exclusion against women shooting him, but they wouldn't let me.
When I do invest, I don't care if the stock price goes from $10 to $2 but I do care about if the value went from $10 to $2. Avoid debt. I decided early on that I never wanted to owe more than 25% of my net worth, and I haven't… exept for in the very beginning. I like to play from a position of strength.
The formula for value was handed down from 600 BC by a guy named Aesop. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Investing is about laying out a bird now to get two or more out of the bush. The keys are to only look at the bushes you like and identify how long it will take to get them out. When interest rates are 20%, you need to get it out right now. When rates are 1%, you have 10 years. Think about what the asset will produce. Look at the asset, not the beta. I don't really care about volatility. Stock price is not that important to me, it just gives you the opportunity to buy at a great price. I don't care if they close the NYSE for 5 years. I care more about the business than I do about events. I care about if there's price flexibility and whether the company can gain more market share. I care about people drinking more Coke.
I bought a farm from the FDIC 20 years ago for $600 per acre. Now I don't know anything about farming but my son does. I asked him, how much it cost to buy corn, plow the field, harvest, how much an acre will yield, what price to expect. I haven’t gotten a quote on that farm in 20 years.
I am lucky to have picked up a book at 19, The Intelligent Investor, that gave structure to investing and investment decisions. Over time, I learned different ways to apply it. I have learned what it is outside my circle of competence. I bought See's in 1972 and I think understanding the value of brand helped drive the decision to buy Coca-Cola in 1988. Through experience, I have gotten smarter on predicting and evaluating human behavior. My wife put me together in terms of human behavior. I really enjoy doing what I do and I get to do what I want. I enjoy talking to groups like these. Irv and Ron Blumkin are some of my best friends and I continue to add friends by buying businesses. I don't want a boat or 12 houses. I'm almost fully depreciated, down to my residual value. Age doesn't affect my ability to my job though, as opposed to Arnold Palmer, he can't play his game.
The biggest problem is probably weapons of mass destruction. We have always had people who were ill-fitted to society and wished harm on others. In 1945 we unlocked the atom, and that changed everything. The human animal hasn't changed, you still have the same percentage that are maladjusted. The problem is knowledge, materials, and deliverability.
Governments, individuals and organizations can't control security. It's what I would spend all of my money on if I could fix it.