Buffett’s Storytelling Lessons For Startups

Interesting post at Entrepreneur Corner on three lessons from Warren Buffett on shaping communications for startup ventures:

Lesson No. 1: Converse Like a Real Human Being

Lesson No. 2: Admit Mistakes and Move On

Lesson No. 3: The Power of Humor in Business

By coincidence, these three lessons relate to a previous post on clarity as a business strength (and the second broadly links to ‘lessons learnt’, a recurring theme on this blog eg here).

Out of curiosity I went to the web site (Berkshire Hathaway) to see how ‘conversing like a real human being’ worked in practice.

Here’s a random extract from the Shareholder Letter for 2009 to give a flavour:

Our metrics for evaluating our managerial performance are displayed on the facing page. From the start,
Charlie and I have believed in having a rational and unbending standard for measuring what we have – or have
not – accomplished. That keeps us from the temptation of seeing where the arrow of performance lands and then
painting the bull’s eye around it.

Selecting the S&P 500 as our bogey was an easy choice because our shareholders, at virtually no cost, can
match its performance by holding an index fund. Why should they pay us for merely duplicating that result?

Quite different from the more formal approach we’re all familiar with from company reports and web sites!

The Letters provide good examples of the power and effectiveness of a storytelling approach in an area not known for clear and lively communications.

Picture credit: here.


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