The Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting is still under way and so far the best source for live-blogging coverage is the Wall Street Journal. Enjoy!
The Audit Committee of Berkshire Hathaway has just concluded its report regarding Dave Sokol’s trading in Lubrizol shares. They found that “Mr. Sokol’s conversations with Mr. Buffett and others at Berkshire Hathaway were ‘intended to deceive’ and ‘its effect was to mislead.’ ” Now that the “hype” is unprecedented in terms of a Berkshire “conflict”, and that the noise levels are bound to get even higher, it’s important to try and separate what’s relevant.
Two updates to our posts: ONE – Carl Icahn really didn’t like at least one sentence in the NYT story we posted a few days ago – and wrote an “instant classic” of a letter to the editor. TWO – Stanford CG professors organize the Dave Sokol resignation issues and ask relevant questions in an 11-page PDF.
Two quick notes: One on the irony of Brazil’s iBovespa index dropping along with the US’s indexes after the negative S&P outlook, despite two more bullish stories about Brazil. Another on Carl Icahn’s profile in the NYT highlighting succession issues at his firm (“key-man risk”).
It’s rare to see such candid evaluations of a company’s problems, even in internal communications. In a memo sent in early February 2011, Stephen Elop doesn’t really hold anything back and tells Nokia employees the harsh truth: the company has fallen behind in innovation, accountability, product line and most other factors. In fact, he puts it in much harsher fashion… We’d like to thank the reader who sent us this letter. Keep the suggestions coming!
Bankstocks.com has a review of Jamie Dimon’s Letter to Investors in the 2010 J.P. Morgan annual report. It’s a gem, a great piece to understand financial services/ banking in general, now and in the long term. Always nice to hear candid remarks clearly written by the company’s leader to its ultimate owners. It’s a benchmark for companies in all sectors and countries.
Books we want to read but haven’t yet: “Bismarck: A Life”, by Jonathan Steinberg, reviewed by Henry Kissinger in the New York Times. “The Origins of Political Order: From Prehuman Times to the French Revolution”, by Francis Fukuyama, reviewed in The Economist. Finally, this review about “Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule The World” by Willian Cohan actually made us want to revisit “The Partnership: The Making of Goldman Sachs” by Charles Ellis.
Don Taspcott, author of Wikinomics, was interviewed by Brazilian magazine Veja. We liked Wikinomics in “broad” terms: we’re firm believers in the power of crowdsourcing done right, mass collaboration made easier via social media etc.. The problem is summarized in the old saying: “To the man who only has a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.” Mr. Taspcott falls into that trap, which is avoidable.