A few years back, I had a conversation with a top-flight CEO specifically about Buffett’s point. This chap, who is now about 55 and spent a good deal of his career in retail, told me the story of how he, many years ago, as a junior up-and-coming young executive, was given the mandate to grow the annual sales of one of the company’s storesfrom $1.2M to
$1.5M. With considerable enthusiasm, our intrepid future CEO “dived” into the store (as the newly minted Store Manager) – only to find out the store was not doing $1.2M in sales – it was doing, in fact, $600K per year. Our future CEO rushed off to senior management to advise of the situation. His boss, being somewhat of a gruff fellow, refused to meet with this future CEO. So our trusty Store Manager toddled off to ponder his predicament. He could well imagine moving sales from $1.2M to
$1.5M. But going from $600K to $1.5M was a whole different matter. Finally, he goes back to his boss, screws up his courage, barges into the boss’s office and lays out the situation. It was at that point that his employer said “What has the past have to do with today?” Our future CEO-in-training, with his new-found way of thinking, did, indeed, get the sales to $1.5M that year. And this very same fellow, many years later, rose to become the actual CEO and built the very same company, profitably, to over $1.0 Billion in sales!
Born exactly 89 years ago this month, Buffet has pledged to give 99% of his wealth to charitable causes. As of July 2019, his net worth is about
$82 Billion USD. So perhaps what he is saying is worth considering.