Warren Buffett, left, and Guy Spier, far right.
Every year, billionaire investor Warren Buffett partners with the GLIDE Foundation to auction off a “power lunch” with the Oracle of Omaha.
In 2007, Guy Spier, the author of “The Education of a Value Investor” and a manager of Aquamarine Capital, combined forces with Mohnish Pabrai, a managing partner of Pabrai Investments, to win the auction with a bid of $650,000.
While one might guess Spier bought the exorbitantly priced lunch date to gain first-class investing insight, it wasn’t Buffett’s investment knowledge he was after.
In an interview with Opalesque TV, Spier explained that the lunch afforded him the opportunity to fully internalize and absorb Buffett’s outlook on life because of the passionate face-to-face interaction.
Spier said that he learned two essential lessons over the steak lunch with Buffett:
- Create lasting social circles
- Work and live in the right environment.
In episode 14 of “The Investors Podcast,” Spier said that before he attended the lunch with Buffett, he undervalued the people surrounding him. After their meeting, Spiel began differentiating between takers and givers. He said:
“As I distanced myself from some of these takers, I started noticing some of the givers that were around that I just wasn’t paying attention to. There were quiet wallflowers in the corner that I should have been paying attention to, because they’re actually wonderful people who weren’t trying to insinuate themselves in any way.”
Spier said he also learned how to think with an “inner” scorecard rather than an “outer” one from Buffett. An outer scorecard is used when you compare your accomplishments to everyone else’s accomplishments, whereas an inner scorecard is all about judging yourself and seeking self-improvement.
The lessons that Spier learned from Buffett ended up piggybacking off of each other, because a year after the lunch, he left Wall Street for Zurich, Switzerland. Spier wrote in an article for MarketWatch last year:
“The lunch made me realize that I had previously undervalued the power of making sure that I am around people who are better than me, and around whom I can improve.
“Understanding that concept went right to the core of my own doubts, and after that lunch, I was determined to listen more carefully to my inner scorecard. It was this distinction that made me realize that I needed to leave New York and helped me decide to move to Zurich.”
Last year, the power lunch with Buffett fetched $2.1 million, and this year, Chinese gamer Zhu Ye paid $2.3 million for the honor.