Buffett’s favorite spot is Gorat’s Steakhouse, where he orders the T-Bone with hash browns. Other great dining options can be found in the charming area of The Old Market. In The Old Market, you’ll find great restaurants and fantastic bars to grab drinks and mingle with other value investors.
Insider Tip: Go to the Hilton across the street. I’ve met Howard Buffett and Mario Gabelli. I believe Bill Gates stays there. As a first-timer, you probably won’t get invited to A-list parties. Many of these people hold hundreds of millions of dollars in Berkshire Hathaway stock and have been coming for years. They know many people at the Annual Meeting and have a routine. – Holmes Osborne, CFA Osborne Global Investors
The Shareholder Meeting
Arrive Early – If you are looking for a seat up close, be prepared to arrive early. Lines start forming as soon as 5 am and some devoted attendees arrive even earlier than that.
Insider Tip: If you are saving seats for a group, grab an Omaha World Herald on your way in the door and wear a few extra layers so you can spread out. They will let you save as many seats as you can secure until 8:00 am. – Kathryn Leste, Event Manager of The Value Investor Conference
Paper Toss – If you have someone saving your seat or aren’t as concerned with securing seats towards the front, venture over to the exhibit hall where Buffett pays tribute to his roots as a paper boy in the annual paper toss. This is a fan favorite and draws quite the crowd. Bill Gates typically serves as Buffett’s challenger giving you the opportunity to see two titans of industry up close and in person.
Kicking Off The Meeting – Before the kickoff of the meeting, attendees are entertained with an exclusive video made only for the viewing of in person participants. Buffett asks directly that individuals not record the video. This short film typically includes hilarious spoofs, celebrity appearances, and tributes to historical moments of Berkshire Hathaway’s history. Although the video changes from year to year, Buffett is consistent in making sure coverage of the Salomon mishap in include, as a humble reminder.
The Meeting – Sit back and take in what can only be described as fantastic commentary from two of the brightest minds in investing. Throughout the meeting, Buffett will have his Cherry Coke, and Munger will munch on Peanut Brittle as casual as if they were in your living room. Together they go through commenting on Berkshire Hathaway performance, economic concerns and general thoughts around business.
Questions – After Buffett and Munger cover general Berkshire Hathaway commentary, the floor is open to questions. Buffett loves the challenge and encourages the audience to throw their best questions at him and Munger. If you are interested in asking the duo something you can submit your questions to one of the three journalists below or be a lucky selected winner on the morning of the shareholder meeting.
Intermission – Early afternoon the meeting will break for intermission. You can order box lunches in advance and eat in the arena or walk to one of the nearby restaurants.
Insider Tip: Grab a quick lunch and use the remainder of the time walking the floor of the convention center. Even if you don’t have a saved seat you can access the floor and run into notable industry leaders like John Bogle and Mohnish Pabrai.
Move Up In The Afternoon – The afternoon session is less crowded and offers a great opportunity for you to “upgrade” your seating. Move up to take advantage of being closer to the stage, especially if you didn’t make the early wake up call to previously secure a prime seat.
After The Meeting
The meeting typically concludes after 4pm, but that doesn’t mean the fun is over.
Attend The Picnic – The Nebraska Furniture Mart hosts the annual picnic allowing attendees to choose from various food vendors and enjoy more interacting with other attendees. It’s a fun event and at $5 per a meal, a great value that even Buffett’s thriftiness could justify.
Spectate / Participate In The Race – Sunday morning the annual Brooks 5K kicks off. Get out and work off those calories from all the See’s Candy and Dairy Queen you’ve consumed over the weekend. The race makes its way through downtown Omaha, and although Buffett and Munger don’t participate, they often do spectate.
The annual Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Meeting is an event like no other. What other shareholder meeting draws north of 40,000 attendees to hear discussions on what could otherwise be read in an annual report. Take advantage of the opportunity and attend. You’ll make friends, learn new things, and see up close two of the greatest value investors ever.
This article has been republished with permission from Value Walk.