It’s not easy to maintain a 31-year-old friendship but the billionaires, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are setting a benchmark for every group of friends out there. Two men who bonded for their common love for Mathematics and Numbers in 1991 today share one of the most lovable friendship.
Since they both met, they have found time to play countless games of bridge, enjoyed meals with each other at McDonald’s and looked at each other for many valuable advice. And you will be surprised to know that Gates also had Warren’s number on speed dial at his office.
What Actually Led To Friendship?
Every friendship story is different. Bill’s and Warren’s tale of friendship was no different.
On July 5th, 1991, Gates’s mother, Mary had invited the late Meg Greenfield, a Washington Post editor, to her home. Greenfield was also supposed to bring her friend Warren Buffett with her.
Gates didn’t want to join but because Greenfield was also bringing the late Post publisher Katharine Graham, he agreed to join them. Gates was interested in the Post’s history.
“I didn’t even want to meet Warren because I thought, ‘Hey, this guy buys and sells things, and so he found imperfections in terms of markets – that’s not value added to society, that’s a zero-sum game that is almost parasitic.’ That was my view before I met him… he wasn’t going to tell me about inventing something,” 66 years old billionaire said at the DealBook conference in 2019.
Besides, Buffett also didn’t particularly want to meet Gates. But both of them eventually liked meeting each other. And now you must be thinking why?
Actually, Gates got quite impressed by the questions Buffett asked him during their meeting. Meanwhile, Gates asked Buffett to buy stocks in Microsoft and Intel. And that is how the world saw the rise of a deep friendship between the two billionaires.
Here’s What Buffett Taught Gates
Bill Gates has learned quite a few important business lessons from Warren but these 3 lessons from him have always been useful for the billionaire.
Always Look At The Bigger Picture
When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, the former’s instinct was to focus on the surface of his success: picking and investing in stocks. But Gates took no time in learning the deepest reason behind the success of Buffett. It’s about the big picture of a business that Warren always focuses on. Gates admits that Buffett has a whole framework for business thinking that is quite powerful.
Buffett aims high by focusing on the overall growth of the market rather than the day-to-day details. As difficult as it may sound to develop big-picture thinking, here’s how you can do it;
- Block your calendar when you are most creative and spend some time thinking about bigger goals
- There are always two sides to every thought. Start analysing things from different angles and perspectives
- Stop seeking perfection and look for different opportunities
Time Is The Biggest Asset
“No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time. There are only 24 hours in everyone’s day. Warren has a keen sense of this. He doesn’t let his calendar get filled with useless meetings,” writes his dearest friend Bill. And that is how Buffett taught Bill Gates to always value and protect time as it is quite precious.
If you also want to manage your time in the best possible way, try to:
- Follow a pre-planned routine and prioritize what’s important
- Set a time limit to complete your task within the specified time
- Always set goals that are attainable and measurable
Transparency Is The Key
Honest communication keeps investors and shareholders happy. Warren takes time every year to send a letter to his stakeholders offering business and investing insights and this habit got effortlessly inculcated in Gates’s mind as well. Realising the value and power of transparency, Gates got inspired by Warren to start doing the same.
Here’s how you can maintain transparency with your stakeholders:
- Include your key stakeholders in important decisions and milestones
- Communicate with them on a consistent basis
- Educate your stakeholders so that they know what to expect