During a quick work-time trip to my Facebook account (I was looking for a contact's e-mail address, honestly!) I noticed a friend had signed up for a new application: Each day, the user gets a fresh quote from Warren Buffett. The quote comes with a cartoonish drawing of the billionaire looking sagely, if slightly shambolic. Finally, something on Facebook that isn't a total (if enjoyable) waste of time.
But I couldn't help wondering, would the sage of Omaha go anywhere near Facebook as an investment, after Microsoft Corp. bit off a tiny slice of the startup that valued the company at $15-billion (U.S.)? For a little perspective, Buffett-holding Canadian National Railway Co. has a market cap of around $25-billion.
So, I thought, let's ask Warren. I signed up for the application and got my first Buffett quote.
I'm paraphrasing here, but it was basically this: "If your boat won't stop leaking, get another boat." Wise, but pretty tangential.
Try again Warren: "We enjoy the process more than the proceeds." A healthy way of looking at life, no doubt, but again, a bit off the mark. I can't help thinking that if this Berkshire Hathaway thing doesn't go anywhere, this guy has a great career in the fortune cookie industry.
Again, before the boss notices what I'm up to, I furtively hit the button. And out came this pearl: "Time is the friend of the great company, and the enemy of the mediocre one."
How much time will it take for Microsoft investors to find out whether Facebook is the former or the latter? I have no idea, but in the meantime, I'll have a quote a day from Warren Buffett to help me pass the time.
Maybe this one is the most apt of all: "Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."