Warren Buffett sat down for a one-on-one exclusive interview with CNBC's Becky Quick ahead of this year Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting.
The event we're calling Buffettstock '08 here at Warren Buffett Watch begins today in Omaha. More than 30,000 are expected to attend, the largest crowd ever, as it is pretty much every year.
But the early years were much smaller, as Buffett tells Becky:
Buffett: It's a gathering of partners. And, you know, we have a lot of partners, but I like the fact they feel part of the act. And to see it's a real company, real products, real people. And, I get to see real stockholders, so it's, it's, it's a gathering.
Becky: It started out as a very small event. When was the first, when was the first one?
Buffett: Well, if you go way back we used to hold 'em in New Bedford, Mass., where Berkshire Hathaway started. So I would go back there. And, and it was me and somebody taking the minutes... And we would have about anywhere between 8 and 12 people, for the next 10 or so years until about 1981. And my aunt Katie would come and my Uncle Fred. I always packed the audience with people that would be sure to nominate me.
Becky: Eight to 12 people in the lunchroom at National Indemnity. It, it's a, very modest beginnings for what it's turned into, a huge, huge event.
Buffett: Yeah. Just, we held it down there because I had a canteen, they had to buy their own coffee or (laughs) candy or something like that. I was always trying to turn a profit on the meeting. And then, when we merged with Blue Chip Stamps we, we moved to a room at a hotel here where we maybe had 100 people... The sound system didn't work right or anything. But, but it was fun, seeing shareholders and having 'em ask questions. And, I liked it. My partner Charlie Munger liked it. And, we're kind of hams. So, it was a chance to get an audience.
Squawk Box will be showing more of Becky's interview with Buffett throughout the program this morning (Friday), and we'll be posting them here on the blog.
Then, watch for extensive coverage on both CNBC and CNBC.com of Buffettstock '08, including a live blog here on WBW as Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger answer shareholder questions for several hours, starting around 10:30a ET Saturday.
Monday night at 9p ET on CNBC, watch for Becky's one-hour special, The Billionaire Next Door: All Access with an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at what goes into making the big weekend in Omaha.
Current Berkshire price:
See Warren Buffett Watch on CNBC's The Call, most weekday mornings at 11:50a ET
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