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August 6, 2007 » 9:04 pm

Warren Buffett on Evaluation

I read this great quote from Warren Buffett in last week’s Economist:    (MHB)

You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.    (MHC)

It’s from his Berkshire Hathaway chairman’s letter in 2001.    (MHD)

It reminds me of one of my shocking revelations when I worked in the publishing industry. There were a lot of publishers who were, shall we say, less than competent. Or as my former boss used to say, they were “dumber than a bowl of soup.”    (MHE)

How had they achieved their positions of lofty import? They were lucky enough to sell ads when times were good, and they got promoted as a reward. When times were bad, they would point to their sales numbers to show how qualified they were. Of course, those numbers weren’t even an accurate assessment of their sales ability, much less their understanding of the industry or their ability as publishers.    (MHF)

Lest you believe I’m biased towards the editorial side of the business, there were plenty of incompetent editors, too. They didn’t usually have the benefit of irrelevant quantitative metrics to hide behind, though.    (MHG)

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