So I woke up this morning and obviously, because I’m an x-ennial hoping there’s been another #libspill overnight, I open Twitter. Only to find that every man and his dog are retweeting Warren Buffett, for some reason. The man’s gone off on a tear of homilies and advice, and obviously my tweeps all want to signal-boost and be associated with such ground-breaking gems of insight as “No job is worth losing your life over” and “Smart people don’t feel the need to impress”.
(Meanwhile, I’m tweeting pure gold like “If I ever fake my own murder, it’ll be purely to hear how I’m described on the cash-in podcast” into the void. Three likes? That deserves way better.)
But this isn’t about social media sour grapes. This is about Warren Buffett, and what the point of him is. I’m not surprised that his business advice is made up of the same things you can hear at any scout-hall seminar you overpaid for on your way up the ladder, surrounded by people in aspirational suits feverishly copying down pyramid-scheme diagrams into their notebooks and double-underlining “Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you’re right”.
(And guess what? It isn’t even him. It’s a fake account.)
The fact remains: Warren Buffett is the most boring rich person in the world. Just mind-numbingly, shoulder-shruggingly meh. There’s a line from a Pulp song that sums him up completely: “What’s the point in being rich / if you can’t think what to do with it / ‘cos you’re so bleeding thick?”
(Don’t worry – his doppelganger’s pinned tweet says “The smartest people I know don’t get easily offended.” Checkmate, WB.)
Anyway, the point is: Wazza’s from-afar acolytes talk with shiny eyes of his lifelong commitment to being humble, even as he amasses a fortune. He still lives in some old cottage, which means he’s not pumping that cashflow back into the architecture, building, interior design and garden-scaping communities. If the roof leaked, would he even get it fixed, or fashion a papier-mache bucket from old dividend statements?
He’s essentially a dragon sitting on a hoard, and we deserve better from the billionaires we look up to and mistakenly think we’re retweeting.
That’s my advice to the Buffetts of the world: if you’re going to dedicate all your mental resources to investment and wealth creation for an entire lifetime, carefully choosing where to sell and where to hodl, at least have the common decency to do something exciting with it. If you’re not building a 12-metre robot with your face to tear out the still-beating hearts of your enemies, you’re doing it wrong.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got rent to pay and a train to catch. The op shop’s open in an hour and I need a long-sleeve shirt for this meeting…