I don't remember the exact day I first met most of my friends, but with Warren Buffett I do. It was 25 years ago: July 5, 1991.
I think the date stands out in my mind so clearly because it marked the beginning of a new and unexpected friendship for Melinda and me — one that has changed our lives for the better in every imaginable way.
Warren has helped us do two things that are impossible to overdo in one lifetime: learn more and laugh more.
Over the last quarter-century of our friendship, we've done a lot of both. Melinda and I often find ourselves recounting some gem of wisdom Warren shared with us, or, chuckling when we recall something funny he said or did.
To mark the anniversary of our friendship, I thought I would share some of my favorite memories of our time together. Warren and I also created a virtual reality film together at this year's Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder's Meeting, which you can watch on my blog.
An Awkward Start: At first glance, Warren and I may seem like a mismatch. I'm a technology nerd. He's an investor who doesn't use email. In fact, I never expected to be friends with him.
In 1991, when my mother called me to come out to our vacation home on Hood Canal to meet a group of friends, including Warren, I didn't want to go. I told her I was too busy at work. Warren would be interesting, my mother insisted. But I wasn't convinced. "Look, he just buys and sells pieces of paper. That's not real value added. I don't think we'd have much in common," I told her. Eventually, she persuaded me to go. I agreed to stay for no more than two hours before getting back to work at Microsoft.
Then I met Warren. He started asking me some questions about the software business and why a small company like Microsoft could expect to compete with IBM and what were the skill sets and the pricing. These were amazingly good questions that nobody had ever asked. We were suddenly lost in conversation and hours and hours slipped by. He didn't come across as a big shot investor. He had this modest way of talking about what he does. He was funny, but what impressed me most was how clearly he thought about the world. It was a deep friendship from our very first conversation.