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Commonsense Investment Advice

Warren Buffett has just been interviewed for the PBS’s “Nightly Business Report” in the US. The interview reveals some of the investment philosophies that Mr Buffett uses. These include

“My approach to investing I learned in 1949 or ‘50 from a book by Ben Graham and it’s never changed … I see different ways to apply it from time to time but that is the framework.”

“I look at how much I am getting for my money, how good the management is, how the competitive position of that business compares to others, how durable it is and just fundamental questions. Any stock I buy, I will be happy owning it if they close the stock market for five years tomorrow.”
“You’re going to buy groceries the rest of your life; you want grocery prices to go up or down? You want them to go down. And if they go down you don’t think gee I got all those groceries sitting in my cabinet at home and I’ve lost money on those. You think I am buying my groceries cheaper, I am going to keep buying groceries. Now if you’re a seller, obviously prices are higher. But most people listening to this program, certainly I, myself, and Berkshire Hathaway, we’re going to be buying businesses over time. We like the idea of businesses getting cheaper.”

No get rich schemes, no tax avoidance (sorry minimisation); just solid wealth creating in fundamentally strong businesses. Free advice from the world’s richest man, the man that said three years ago that he is going to give it all away.

Via: Get Rich Slowly Blog

Warren Buffett - Giving It Away - Fortune Magazine Cover

Warren Buffett – Giving It Away – Fortune Magazine Cover

Remember “go outside and play”?

There is another let children be children article in the LA Times, by Rosa Brooks:

All in all, “going out to play” worked out well for kids. As the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg testified to Congress in 2006, “Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles. … Play helps children develop new competencies … and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges.” But here’s the catch: Those benefits aren’t realized when some helpful adult is hovering over kids the whole time.  Remember ‘go outside and play?’ – Los Angeles Times.

Sure there are risks, but as Rosa points out, what about the risk of heart attacks and other obesity related health problems in these house-bound children.  The other thing that spring to mind is we have very vocal people in our society upset about cage-bound, battery farm chickens – but there is only a small a relatively unheard group speaking up for children! 

Is this a sign that there is something wrong in society?

No Ball Games

No Ball Games

The Customer is Always Right?


For those of you in customer service businesses, or if you are just having a bad day, this website – [^] – should be a good form of stress relief.  It is a catalogue of how wrong customers can get it, and how sometimes they come unstuck!

Somewhere just recently I came across an essay on why the customer is not always right, and case studies of companies that have successfully implemented this policy.  As soon as I find the link I will add it to this post.

Eat Breakfast at Home

Someone has finally had the courage to speak out, and ask the question “Why can’t staff eat breakfast at home?” Smartcompany [^].

Cereal Bowl: Flickr User twatson

Cereal Bowl: Flickr User twatson

I fall firmly into the “I’m not going anywhere until I’ve eaten camp” of breakfast eaters.  The thought of driving to work and then eating breakfast is completely foreign to me.  I don’t even know that I would make it to work, I’d probably pass out from hunger!

This is a discussion that has already prompted some outbursts, and I have some questions of my own:

  • How can this tiny fringe benefit makes a difference? 
  • How does being late to work, and then wasting 10-15 minutes eating breakfast make sense?

I can’t say that I’m completely against the eating breakfast at work thing, but please people show some discretion, 11 o’clock is probably a bit on the late side for brekkie, and do not even think about putting the last of the milk on your cereal – it needs to go in my coffee!

Image Credit: twatson [^]

Sydney Censorship – Henson Follow-Up

Brizbunny has had two big posts here on the whole Henson Teen Photos controversy; original post here, and further explanation of some of the issues as we see them here.  With the events over the past couple of weeks a follow-up post is called for.

No Prosecution.

The NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has advised that there is little chance of the NSW Police managing a successful prosecution.  In light of this the police have now dropped the case against the gallery and Bill Henson. 

The NSW Assistant Commissioner of Police, Catherine Burn noted that the case was a result of complaints received, which the police were obliged to investigate.  As part of the investigation the photographs were seized, as possible evidence, from the gallery.  The photographs have now been returned to the gallery and the exhibition has re-opened.

This is a case of the police acting in the manner in which they are obliged to under the law; they received a complaint, investigated the complaint, and seized evidence that would support any prosecution.  Once an investigation had been conducted and it was clear that a conviction was unlikely to be obtained they returned the evidence.  There was no attempt at censorship, it was a case of the police doing what they are paid to do.

The collapse of the prosecution case is centred around the concept of the “sexual context”.  As far as the law is concern nudity is not a sexual context; it is this that separates nudity from pornography.  No matter what anyone’s concerns are this is the law, and Henson’s work appears to be within the law.

Gallery Response.

The gallery responded to the news by announcing that the exhibition would go ahead.  However there is a twist, on re-opening the exhibition was open to appointments only, and the appointments were vetted by the owner. 

Before the police raid on the gallery the Henson exhibition was open to the public, with the more explicit work available in a private area for serious buyers.  Was this in attempt to keep the non art-lover’s away, and make sure that only appropriate people could see the material that would not be appreciated by the general public. 

The exhibition is now closed, and likely to head overseas.

Links: Sydney Morning Herald [^], [^], The Australian [^].