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HomeValue InvestingOmaha Diaries #1: Find Your Tribe

Omaha Diaries #1: Find Your Tribe

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Over the next few days and weeks, I will be sharing a few lessons from my recent trip to Omaha, and from my interaction with some friends in the investing space, under this series titled “Omaha Diaries”. This is the first part of this series.

I have been a loner all my life. You put me a room, with just a window to look out, and I will be happy. Add a stranger, and I will be quiet, expecting the other person to begin a conversation. Add two strangers, and I will let them do all the talking while I look out of the window. Add more than two strangers, and I will have butterflies in my stomach.

Speaking at my workshops or at events with 50-500 people is, therefore, an act of great courage on my part. And being one among thousands of people from across the world should win me a “bravery” award.

So, it was with much trepidation that I made my solitary pilgrimage to Omaha recently, to attend the AGM of Berkshire Hathway, in the company of thousands of strangers but fellow investors, to hear Warren Buffett speak almost exactly what he has been speaking for 50+ years now –

  • “Buy exception businesses, at sensible prices, and own them forever.”
  • “Compounding is powerful and will make you wealthy, if you use its power judiciously.”

And let me tell you, it was an experience like no other. I was surrounded by strangers, but also found comfort in the company of friends, some old and some new.

The event was not just about listening to the sage advice of the most successful investor of our time, but about meeting your tribe — a community bound by shared beliefs and a common purpose – patient, long-term investing, in this case.

You see, humans are inherently tribal. Despite finding peace in solitude, we also thrive in groups, find comfort in companionship, and draw strength from shared goals. This is particularly true for long-term investors, who often tread a solitary path marked by patience, discipline, and a contrarian spirit. In short, all attributes difficult to practice unless there’s someone to affirm that you will do fine practicing them.

As Jason Zweig, the noted American financial journalist and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, aptly put it in this beautiful passage in an article in 2004 while sharing his experience of attending the Berkshire AGM –

Few things make humans feel worse than being alone. Buffett knows that no one wants to face the uncertainties of investing all by our lonesome. We want to be comforted and feel we’re part of a community. That’s the greatest gift he gives his investors: not massive wealth or brilliant insights but the deep-rooted solace of knowing that they belong, that they are in this together with others, that they are not alone.

In life and investing alike, finding your tribe can make all the difference.

The collective wisdom provides invaluable guidance, helping you make better-informed decisions. The feeling of being part of something larger than yourself alleviates loneliness and fosters a sense of belonging and purpose.

This connection is particularly comforting when pursuing long-term goals that may not be immediately understood or appreciated by the wider world.

Investing, by nature, is a solitary endeavour. It requires independent thinking, discipline, and the ability to withstand market volatility. However, even the most independent investors can benefit from the camaraderie of a tribe.

The Berkshire Hathaway AGM for me was a prime example of this dynamic. I found thousands of investors gathered there not only to glean insights from Warren but also to connect with fellow investors who understand and appreciate the long-term, value-oriented approach.

Warren is quoted as saying that the stock market is designed to transfer money from the active to the patient. This patience is easier to maintain when you know you are part of a community that values the same principles. Sharing experiences and strategies with fellow investors can reinforce your convictions and help you stay the course during turbulent times.

Finding your tribe is a powerful way to enhance your journey, whether in life or investing. It provides emotional support, shared wisdom, a sense of belonging, and inspiration. As an investor, being part of a tribe can reinforce your commitment to the long-term and help you stay the course.

Of course, you do not need to visit Omaha or any such place to find your tribe, but that’s not the idea here.

The idea is to be brave enough to seek out connections, to be open to new experiences, and to trust that somewhere, there are people who would understand and cherish you for who you are.

P.S. At the end of the AGM, Warren closed his talk saying this to a thunderous applause – “I not only hope you come next year, I hope I come next year.”

Before I embarked on my pilgrimage to Omaha this year, I believed this would be my first and last visit, like most pilgrimages we undertake in life. But the whole experience of being there, makes me want to visit next year too, to get another glimpse of Warren as much as to feel part of my tribe again. I will keep you posted on my plans, and if you also wish to be there in 2025, I look forward to seeing you.



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