But even with that bold handwriting, Hilwa believes, the market does not always evolve the way that companies’ marketing managers anticipate. “Often the users are not the ones who dictate how things go; the vendors have to lead.” He cites the fact that the market wasn’t really demanding a large, flat, touchable phone whose functions are manipulable with their fingers – not until Steve Jobs held one in his hand. So getting the technology out there and letting the market bake it the rest of the way, Hilwa believes, is the right approach for Microsoft.
I’m always telling people to defend their motivation at all costs.
Rearden is one of the few companies utilizing big data ideals to directly benefit the consumer. With an edge on travel patterns, Rearden has a good idea of our behavioral patterns when it comes to planning and experiencing a trip…
“It’s a well known maxim among talented market researchers that memory is unreliable, and people are not consistent at predicting what they will want or how they will behave under a hypothetical set of circumstances. We are what we do, not necessarily what we claim we’ll do.”
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY INC. ACQUISITION CRITERIA
We are eager to hear from principals or their representatives about businesses that meet all of the following criteria:
(1) Large purchases (at least $75 million of pre-tax earnings unless the business will fit into one of our existing units),
(2) Demonstrated consistent earning power (future projections are of no interest to us, nor are “turnaround” situations),
(3) Businesses earning good returns on equity while employing little or no debt,
(4) Management in place (we can’t supply it),
(5) Simple businesses (if there’s lots of technology, we won’t understand it),
(6) An offering price (we don’t want to waste our time or that of the seller by talking, even preliminarily, about a transaction when price is unknown).
The larger the company, the greater will be our interest: We would like to make an acquisition in the $5-20 billion range.
We are not interested, however, in receiving suggestions about purchases we might make in the general stock market.
We will not engage in unfriendly takeovers. We can promise complete confidentiality and a very fast answer – customarily within five minutes – as to whether we’re interested. We prefer to buy for cash, but will consider issuing stock when we receive as much in intrinsic business value as we give. We don’t participate in auctions.
Charlie and I frequently get approached about acquisitions that don’t come close to meeting our tests: We’ve found that if you advertise an interest in buying collies, a lot of people will call hoping to sell you their cocker spaniels. A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: “When the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.”
It’s a lovely feeling, to be helped along in a task like that, by someone expert in something you might know only a little about.
As long as you don’t get yelled at, you can just let yourself be borne along by the experience. It’s similar to one of my most favourite things in life: to listen to a practiced expert explain process, or take me through their work. And of course the real experts don’t think of themselves as experts, or even describe themselves as that. They certainly don’t sit someone like me down and think “I’ve got to teach this fellow something.” I just sit there and smile and nod and try to keep up. People who give like this are absolute jewels. Absolute jewels. And you definitely don’t know who you are. That’s just how it works.
Spock: Doctor, you are a sensualist.
McCoy: you bet your pointy ears I am!
If we don’t have the very best products, uniquely suited to the markets that we serve, then we won’t win,” Whitman said. “We need to be a product company.