Pursued by journalists and media moguls on just about each and every move that Mr. Buffett makes, Robert is not only a long term shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway [nyse: BRKa/BRKb], he has had the great honor of getting to know Warren Buffett, the man and the remarkable wealth-building strategist.
He is the author of 3 books, has created assorted audio and video programs, and has appeared on many radio and television programs on five continents, including NPR, CNN, CNN International, CNBC, FOX Business, Channel News Asia, Sky Business News, Shanghai Today, CNBC Asia, CNBC Africa and Bloomberg TV. His Buffett CEO book was featured as a special on National Public Television's Nightly Business Report.As the writer of the top-selling books The Warren Buffett CEO: Secrets From the Berkshire Hathaway Managers and 101 Reasons To Own the World's Greatest Investment: Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway [Wiley], Robert has relentlessly followed his passion and found great success in doing so.
He is the author and presenter of Warren Buffett Wealth: Principles and Practical Methods Used by the World’s Greatest Investor [Wiley (book) and Nightingale (audio)]. He is host of the Buffett CEO Talk video series, conversations with the Berkshire Hathaway managers filmed before live studio audiences and broadcast on public television.
Many of his live keynotes, along with his hardcover and paperback books have been translated into assorted foreign languages, including Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese.
Known for his subtle wit and entertaining stories, this author without borders has shared his valuable insights, strategies, philosophies, and anecdotes with enthusiastic audiences throughout the world.
For nearly two decades, Miles has given hundreds of live presentations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania in over 20 countries, over 45 cities and 12 universities.Miles is the founder and host of the original Value Investor Conference held each year immediately preceding the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting. Attendees from all 6 continents enjoy this unique retreat style forum featuring presentations from Warren Buffett CEOs, global investment managers and best-selling authors.
In the fall of 2011, at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Robert Miles created the curriculum and began teaching a graduate Executive MBA course based on his worldwide lectures and titled The Genius of Warren Buffett: The Science of Investing and the Art of Managing. This one of a kind program includes a distinguished speaker series, multiple valuation case studies of actual businesses and stocks purchased by Warren Buffett, and for the final exam, student presentations of businesses they think would best fit into the Berkshire family of businesses.
Miles is an avid tennis player, an adventurist and world traveler. He has visited over 80 countries, with a goal to explore 5 new countries each year. Having circumnavigated the world four times, he enjoys presenting interactive multimedia travelogues, highlighting the people, their culture and local customs. While each of his published books require 2,000 hours of research, writing and editing, his professional and travel presentations take a minimum of 40 hours of preparation for each hour of lecture.
Miles is a graduate of the University of Michigan Business School and resides in Tampa, Florida.
Excerpt: Social Media Communication, Jeremy Lipschultz, Chapter 11 Box 11.2
Back in the olden days of yore (the mid-1990s), tech life was hard. You young’uns think it’s rough when you can’t get Wi-Fi, drop your tablet, lose your cellphone? Piffle!
“Networking” meant the office computers were linked through a mainframe that filled an entire hermetically sealed room. (Heaven forbid you entered without authorization! Why, a speck of dust could take the whole system down!). And connecting to the Internet? We had to dial a hard-wired modem through a telephone line (the signal had to climb uphill both ways! Through the snow!), waiting entire minutes for the call to connect. World Wide Web sites? No graphics! No video! Just words.
The words “social” and “media” were never linked—if they were, it meant a group of people watching atelevision show together (suffering through commercials, no less!). No Facebook, no LinkedIn, no Twitter, no blogs! I know, such deprivation. Ah, but we did have “bulletin boards.”
Not like Pinterest. Bulletin boards, back in the days of yesteryear, allowed people to post messages that could be read by others who intentionally sought them (no pushed content, can you imagine? Of course you can’t). As sites such as AOL (get this: known then as America Online) and Yahoo! emerged, it was on just such a bulletin board that I, unwittingly, became an early adopter of what became social media marketing.
In 1993, AOL hosted The Motley Fool, a new investment newsletter founded by brothers David and Tom Gardner. Owning a 25-employee business events company meant investing my employee’s retirement funds. Believing it as important to know how to invest as what to invest in, I studied strategies. The Motley Fool and its bulletin board caught my eye.
One thing I wanted to know was, who was the most successful investor and would he manage my investments? It may have been The Motley Fool that led me to Roger Lowenstein’s 1995 book, Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist. Already considered “the Oracle of Omaha,” Buffett was then a 65-year-old business magnate raised and living in Omaha, Nebraska. I was then a 38-year-old with a 12-year-old company, who’d been raised and lived near Detroit, Michigan. Though Buffett most certainly was not available to manage my investments, his Midwestern perspective and humor resonated with me, another Midwesterner.
But, I realized, a third alternative was available: investing in Buffett himself. After purchasing Berkshire Hathaway stock, I attended my first “Woodstock for Capitalists” the first Saturday in May of 1996, one of 8,000 shareholders and guests (today that number exceeds 30,000) in Omaha to absorb his sage advice.
The more I learned about and from Buffett, the more enamored I was of his principles. Becoming something of a Buffett geek, I waxed enthusiastic to anyone who would listen. And then I decided to share my enthusiasm more widely, by committing to post “101 Reasons to Own Berkshire Hathaway” on The Motley Fool bulletin board dedicated to Buffett’s company.
Using the screen name SimpleInvestor, the first post, on December 9, 1998, read: “INVEST WITH THE BEST—There is simply no better investment than Berkshire Hathaway, and no better investment manager than Warren Buffett. I have been investing in the stock market for 30 years and I have done just about everything imaginable . . . I have searched high and low throughout this country and abroad. And my search has led me to the single greatest investment that I have ever made . . . I invite you to sit back and read my 101 REASONS TO OWN BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY. Please feel free to debate, agree or even add your own reasons why you own Berkshire. Fortunately there are more than 101 days until the next annual meeting. . . .” The post drew a whopping eleven recommendations.
Although not posted daily, all 101 reasons were finished before the May 1999 shareholders meeting. “Recommendations” increased and messages rolled in from readers around the world, including a European economist who urged me to publish the posts. That sounded like a good idea.
Being naive about publishing, I printed out the posts into a booklet style, then had 500 copies produced between tape-bound covers. The finished “book,” with its manila cover and back, had all the sophistication of a college dissertation.
Not being naive about social courtesies, I wrote Mr. Buffett to inform him of this project. Surprisingly, he wrote me back. Even more surprising, he informed me that as a Motley Fool reader, he’d read all 101 of the reasons. Topping things off, he included a check for 10 copies to give his board of directors.
Reality quickly set in as libraries and bookstores refused to carry the “book.” It was self-published, had no LOC number, no ISBN, no bar code. The best option for promotion seemed to be where it started, on The Motley Fool. Sales were brisk and soon more books were printed. Then I posted a different message: I’d buy shareholders an ice cream cone at the Omaha Dairy Queen the evening before the May 2000 annual meeting, even if they didn’t buy the book.
People showed up in droves. The local and worldwide news media appeared. So did Warren Buffett. When he put an arm around my shoulder, flashbulbs (yes flashbulbs) lit up. The book-signing event caught the eye of a John Wiley & Sons publishing company representative attending the reception.
Before I knew it, I was in New York City, receiving an offer for this book and for my next one. To which I said, “I didn’t know I was going to write another book.” Of course you are, I was told. A check was pushed toward me. A tape-bound copy of “The World’s Greatest Investment: 101 Reasons to Own Berkshire Hathaway” was pushed back in return.
Little did I know this Simple Investor’s decision to share my enthusiasm on a bulletin board would forever alter my career path. Three books later, I travel the world speaking about Buffett’s investment strategies, appear regularly on cable news, host the annual “Value Investor Conference,” and teach an Executive MBA course at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s College of Business Administration. If it hadn’t been for the “newfangled” online communication that ultimately grew into social media, my enthusiasm for Warren Buffett would never have enthused millions, but only bored my friends to tears.
Robert P. Miles is an author, founder and host of the Value Investor Conference (www.valueinvestorconference.com/) and teaches a one-of-a-kind course at the University of Nebraska at Omaha Executive MBA program, titled The Genius of Warren Buffett: The Science of Investing and the Art of Managing.