Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Dinner With Fools

by Hunzi

What do you get when you get 50+ Fools together in the same room? A fabulous time. The dinner was with the Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK.A) message board Fools who were in Omaha for the annual shareholders meeting.

The idea of a Foolish get-together was first mentioned months ago on the board. Someone mentioned a local restaurant as a meeting place, and the idea caught on. One of the board members volunteered to keep track of the number of people who wanted to meet and we soon realized that we'd need a larger room. In all, we had about 50 Fools and spouses in attendance including about a dozen who were "book Fools." They were a group from Indiana who had never been online but had used The Motley Fool books, including The Motley Fool Investment Guide and Rule Breakers, Rule Makers, as study guides for their stock club. Somehow they had heard of our dinner and asked to join in.

Personally, I was a little nervous about meeting people I only knew from their Fool nicknames. I'm brand new to investing. I don't know how to value a company the way many of the board members can. I don't even own shares of Berkshire Hathaway. I follow the board because it's a local company for me and I wanted to learn from more experienced investors. I was only going to the meeting thanks to a very generous Fool (also a board member) who gave me tickets.

What I found at the dinner were warm, friendly people who were happy to share their knowledge. My husband and I sat with Andy, a Fool from the Washington D.C. area who said he enjoyed reading posts on the board, TheBaker3 who just lives down the road in Lincoln, SimpleInvestor, who has contributed many posts, and his wife, and also with one of the couples from the Indiana study club. I had a chance to talk to many of the other board members (although much too briefly), including TFoolery, Baumie, SomeTomFoolery (whom I got to chat with more at Dairy Queen after dinner).

We didn't have any speeches. We just got together, talked about Berkshire Hathaway, and shared stories. We talked about the weekend's events, the baseball game, the tour of the plane, the reception at Borsheim's, and even who had met Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. We also talked about other companies, and investment philosophies.

During dinner, I discovered I had learned more in my time at The Motley Fool than I had realized -- both about Berkshire Hathaway and about my own personal investment style -- and came away with a feeling of confidence. I also took away the knowledge of how lucky I was to have such cool mentors as the Berkshire investors who selflessly share at the message board.

Overall the food was great, the company was divine, and the time we spent together was too short. Next year, we plan on getting a room for a hundred Fools. I don't think we'll have trouble filling it.

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