High points: Berkshire afternoon, pt. 1
· WEB on GOOG and AAPL: Both look very tough to dislodge, excellent companies, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them earning a lot more money 10 years from now. But I couldn’t get to the level of conviction that I would ever buy them. But we wouldn’t have predicted what would happen with AAPL 10 years ago, and we can’t predict the future. And what do we know about computers? Nothing.
· On cigar butts: We feel as if our energies are much better spent elsewhere.
· On railroads and regulation: We like railroads, because we feel like we’ve got economics on our side. We can move 500 tons of products on a gallon of diesel. Those are very compelling economics.
· On the $20b cash reserve, why and can it change? Well, the truth is there’s no magic number, and I’d get very worried if someone came in and said this is the amount we’d like to hold in the event of a 3 sigma event . . . we invariably try to build in a margin of safety that more than accounts for any risk. We’ve got 600,000 shareholders and a lot of my family members invested, and I just don’t want to have to explain to them that we went broke where we could’ve found an opportunity to double our money.