Warren Buffett is famous for his wit, and will likely go down in history as one of the most quotable and influential investors of all time.
With this week marking his 89th birthday, we thought it was a good time to highlight the 25 best Warren Buffett quotes accumulated through his lengthy and prestigious career.
The Warren Buffett Series
Part 5: Wisdom from the Oracle
Today’s infographic highlights the smartest and most insightful quotes from Buffett on investing, business, and life.
It’s the fifth and final part of the Warren Buffett Series, which we’ve done in partnership with finder.com, a personal finance site that helps people make better decisions – whether they want to find the right credit card or become the next big value investor.
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After sifting through hundreds of quotes from the Oracle of Omaha, we’ve chosen the best 25 of them and sorted them into a few select categories:
Keeping it Simple
Buffett is known for putting his money in “no-brainer” businesses (i.e. Coca-Cola) that are simple to run, with long-term competitive advantages.
|Buffett Quotes on Keeping It Simple|
|#1||“Never invest in a business you cannot understand.”|
|#2||“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars: I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”|
|#3||“I try to buy stock in businesses that are so wonderful that an idiot can run them. Because sooner or later, one will.”|
|#4||“A ham sandwich could run Coca-Cola."|
|#5||“Beware of geeks bearing formulas.”|
|#6||"You don't need to be a rocket scientist. Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with 130 IQ."|
|#7||“Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No.1”|
For Buffett, how someone responds to different situations is far more important than their actual skills or knowledge level. Investors must not care what the crowd thinks, and they must be patient, focused, and decisive to maximize their potential.
|Buffett Quotes on Temperament|
|#8||"The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd."|
|#9||“It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who has been swimming naked.”|
|#10||“Our favorite holding period is forever.”|
|#11||“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”|
|#12||“An investor should act as though he had a lifetime decision card with just twenty punches on it.”|
Buffett’s decision-making is driven by an assessment of value. Is the asset he is buying worth way more than it is currently being priced at by the fickle Mr. Market – if so, he’ll lay down his chips.
|Buffett Quotes on Value|
|#13||"Price is what you pay; value is what you get."|
|#14||"Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful."|
|#15||“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price, than a fair company at a wonderful price.”|
A Midwestern gentleman, Buffett follows a simple and friendly style of business conduct, with deals often bounded by one’s promise or a simple handshake.
|Buffett Quotes on Conduct|
|#16||"You can't make a good deal with a bad person."|
|#17||"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you'll do things differently."|
At 89 years old, Buffett knows a thing or two about business and life. As a result, he’s developed some unique perspectives.
|Buffett Quotes on Perspective|
|#18||“In the business world, the rearview mirror is always clearer than the windshield.”|
|#19||“If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people would be librarians.”|
|#20||“Failing conventionally is the route to go; as a group, lemmings may have a rotten image, but no individual lemming has ever received bad press”|
|#21||"In my view, derivatives are financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that, while now latent, are potentially lethal."|
Life and Success
How did he build such a successful career, and how does one man generate so much wisdom?
|Buffett Quotes on Life and Success|
|#22||“The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”|
|#23||“If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”|
|#24||"I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life."|
|#25||"My life couldn't be happier. In fact, it'd be worse if I had six or eight houses. So, I have everything I need to have, and I don't need any more."|
With $89.5 billion to his name, Warren Buffett is not only known for his self-made wealth and investing acumen, but also his wit and quotability. We hope this selection of the best Warren Buffett quotes helps you think about life and investing differently, and that the legendary investor continues to share his wisdom with the world.
Want more Buffett?
Don’t forget to check out the other parts of our Buffett infographic series:
- Part 1: The Remarkable Early Years of Warren Buffett
- Part 2: Inside Warren Buffett’s Brain
- Part 3: The Warren Buffett Empire in One Giant Chart
- Part 4: Warren Buffett’s Wins & Fails
How Big Tech Makes Their Billions
The big five tech companies generate almost $900 billion in revenues combined, more than the GDP of four of the G20 nations. Here’s how they earn it all.
How Big Tech Makes Their Billions
The world’s largest companies are all in technology, and four out of five of those “Big Tech” companies have grown to trillion-dollar market capitalizations.
Despite their similarities, each of the five technology companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet) have very different cashflow breakdowns and growth trajectories. Some have a diversified mix of applications and cloud services, products, and data accumulation, while others have a more singular focus.
But through growth in almost all segments, Big Tech has eclipsed Big Oil and other major industry groups to comprise the most valuable publicly-traded companies in the world. By continuing to grow, these companies have strengthened the financial position of their billionaire founders and led the tech-heavy NASDAQ to new record highs.
Unfortunately, with growth comes difficulty. Data-use, diversity, and treatment of workers have all become hot-button issues on a global scale, putting Big Tech on the defensive with advertisers and governments alike.
Still, even this hasn’t stopped the tech giants from (almost) all posting massive revenue growth.
Revenues for Big Tech Keep Increasing
Across the board, greater technological adoption is the biggest driver of increased revenues.
Amazon earned the most in total revenue compared with last year’s figures, with leaps in almost all of the company’s operations. Revenue from online sales and third-party seller services increased by almost $30 billion, while Amazon Web Services and Amazon Prime saw increased revenues of $15 billion combined.
The only chunk of the Amazon pie that didn’t increase were physical store sales, which have stagnated after previously being the fastest growing segment.
Big Tech Revenues (2019 vs. 2018)
|Company||Revenue (2018)||Revenue (2019)||Growth (YoY)|
|Apple||$265.6 billion||$260.2 billion||-2.03%|
|Amazon||$232.9 billion||$280.5 billion||20.44%|
|Alphabet||$136.8 billion||$161.9 billion||18.35%|
|Microsoft||$110.4 billion||$125.8 billion||13.95%|
|$55.8 billion||$70.8 billion||26.88%|
|Combined||$801.5 billion||$899.2 billion||12.19%|
Services and ads drove increased revenues for the rest of Big Tech as well. Alphabet’s ad revenue from Google properties and networks increased by $20 billion. Meanwhile, Google Cloud has seen continued adoption and grown into its own $8.9 billion segment.
For Microsoft, growth in cloud computing and services led to stronger revenue in almost all segments. Most interestingly, growth for Azure services outpaced that of Office and Windows to become the company’s largest share of revenue.
And greater adoption of services and ad integration were a big boost for ad-driven Facebook. Largely due to continued increases in average revenue per user, Facebook generated an additional $20 billion in revenue.
Comparing the Tech Giants
The one company that didn’t post massive revenue increases was Apple, though it did see gains in some revenue segments.
iPhone revenue, still the cornerstone of the business, dropped by almost $25 billion. That offset an almost $10 billion increase in revenue from services and about $3 billion from iPad sales.
However, with net income of $55.2 billion, Apple leads Big Tech in both net income and market capitalization.
Big Tech: The Full Picture
|Company||Revenue (2019)||Net Income (2019)||Market Cap (July 2020)|
|Apple||$260.2 billion||$55.2 billion||$1.58 trillion|
|Amazon||$280.5 billion||$11.6 billion||$1.44 trillion|
|Alphabet||$161.9 billion||$34.3 billion||$1.02 trillion|
|Microsoft||$125.8 billion||$39.2 billion||$1.56 trillion|
|$70.8 billion||$18.5 billion||$665.04 billion|
|Combined||$899.2 billion||$158.8 billion||$6.24 trillion|
Bigger Than Countries
They might have different revenue streams and margins, but together the tech giants have grown from Silicon Valley upstarts to global forces.
The tech giants combined for almost $900 billion in revenues in 2019, greater than the GDP of four of the G20 nations. By comparison, Big Tech’s earnings would make it the #18 largest country by GDP, ahead of Saudi Arabia and just behind the Netherlands.
Big Tech earns billions by capitalizing on their platforms and growing user databases. Through increased growth and adoption of software, cloud computing, and ad proliferation, those billions should continue to increase.
As technology use has increased in 2020, and is only forecast to continue growing, how much more will Big Tech be able to earn in the future?
Visualizing the Size of Amazon, the World’s Most Valuable Retailer
Amazon’s valuation has grown by 2,830% over the last decade, and the tech giant is now worth more than the other 9 largest U.S. retailers, combined.
Visualizing the Size of the World’s Most Valuable Retailer
As brick-and-mortar chains teeter in the face of the pandemic, Amazon continues to gain ground.
The retail juggernaut is valued at no less than $1.4 trillion—roughly four times what it was in late 2016 when its market cap hovered around $350 billion. Last year, the Jeff Bezos-led company shipped 2 billion packages around the world.
Today’s infographic shows how Amazon’s market cap alone is bigger than the nine biggest U.S. retailers put together, highlighting the palpable presence of the once modest online bookstore.
The New Normal
COVID-19’s sudden shift has rendered many retail outfits obsolete.
Neiman Marcus, JCPenney, and J.Crew have all filed for bankruptcy as consumer spending has migrated online. This, coupled with heavy debt loads across many retail chains, is only compounding the demise of brick-and-mortar. In fact, one estimate projects that at least 25,000 U.S. stores will fold over the next year.
Still, as safety and supply chain challenges mount—with COVID-19 related costs in the billions—Amazon remains at the top. It surpasses its next closest competitor, Walmart, by $1 trillion in market valuation.
How does Amazon compare to the largest retailers in the U.S.?
|10 Largest Public US Retailers*||Market Value July 1, 2020||Market Value July 1, 2010||Normalized % Change 2010-2020||Retail Revenue|
|The Kroger Co.||$26B||$13B||107%||$118Be|
|Walgreens Boots Alliance||$36B||$26B||38%||$111B|
|The Home Depot||$267B||$47B||466%||$108B|
|Combined value of retailers (without Amazon)||$1,071B|
Source: Deloitte, YCharts
*Largest public US retailers based on their retail revenue as of fiscal years ending through June 30, 2019, e=estimated
With nearly a 39% share of U.S. e-commerce retail sales, Amazon’s market cap has grown 2,830% over the last decade. Its business model, which aggressively pursues market dominance instead of focusing on short-term profits, is one factor behinds the rise.
By the same token, one recent estimate by The Economist pegged Amazon’s retail operating margins at -1% last year. Another analyst has suggested that the company purposefully sells retail goods at a loss.
How Amazon makes up for this operating shortfall is through its cash-generating cloud service, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and through a collection of diversified enterprise-focused services. AWS, with estimated operating margins of 26%, brought in $9.2 billion in profits in 2019—more than half of Amazon’s total.
Amazon’s Basket of Eggs
Unlike many of its retail competitors, Amazon has rapidly diversified its acquisitions since it originated in 1994.
Take the $1.2 billion acquisition of Zoox. Amazon plans to operate self-driving taxi fleets, all of which are designed without steering wheels. It is the company’s third largest since the $13.7 billion acquisition of organic grocer Whole Foods, followed by Zappos.
Accounting for the lion’s share of Amazon-owned physical stores, Whole Foods has 508 stores across the U.S., UK, and Canada. While Amazon doesn’t outline revenues across its physical retail segments—which include Amazon Books stores, Amazon Go stores, and others—physical store sales tipped over $17 billion in 2019.
Meanwhile, Amazon also owns gaming streaming platform Twitch, which it acquired for $970 million in 2017. Currently, Twitch makes up 73% of the streaming market and brought in an estimated $300 million in ad revenues in 2019.
Despite the flood of online orders due to quarantines and social distancing requirements, Amazon’s bottom line has suffered. In the second quarter of 2020 alone, it is expected to rack up $4 billion in pandemic-related costs.
Yet, at the same time, its customer-obsessed business model appears to thrive under current market conditions. As of July 1, its stock price has spiked over 51% year-to-date. On an annualized basis, that’s roughly 100% in returns.
As margins get squeezed and expenses grow, is Amazon’s growth sustainable in the long-term? Or, are the company’s strategic acquisitions and revenue streams providing the catalysts (and cash) for only more short-term success?
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