Berkshire Hathaway has a problem.  No, it isn’t their “Official Home Page” website that looks like it was designed by a third-grader in 1991 — note the ubiquitous link to Geico insurance in the footer; and no, it isn’t the choice of using standard “visited links” color as the active “UN-visited links” color default, either — the Berkshire Hathaway problem is actually one of moral decay in the falsely avuncular personality and faked “Aw, shucks” leadership style of Warren Buffet.

I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska under the shadowy umbrella of Berkshire in Omaha.  I also vaguely remember a report from the mists of time announcing that, since a single share of Berkshire Hathaway stock was selling for something like $64,000.00, Warren was doing all the poor people of the world a favor by issuing “Baby B” b-stock — “Baby Berkshire” — for something like a measly $14,000.00USD a share so everyone could get in on the bargain!

Unfortunately for Warren Buffet, we now live in Bernie Madoff times — and when your self-anointed replacement, David Sokol, goes behind your back and shills his own deal using your reputation as a fire suit against the inevitable blowback — welp, you’ve got yourself a real good problem, old friend.

Fuddy Duddyism only goes so far in the mainstream cult of personality, and Warren Buffet can no long demand that people just “trust him” on anything anymore because Sokol singlehandedly ruined that reputation and opportunity.  Buffet, now 80-years-old, is in a tough place of his own making because he made the worst sort of bet on David Sokol that is now paying him back in backlash and derision — and there is rightly no escape from that public punishment and social scorn.

The moment for Buffet to take back control of Berkshire Hathaway’s most valuable asset — its inherent goodness and morality — was the instant of Sokol’s confession. That moment was lost in a genial, hillbilly-like-we-are-family cover-up that didn’t play well then and will never make any future sense.

In a single instant, Warren Buffet called into question a lifetime of achievement and traded it all in for a never ending miasma at the hands of his so-called successor.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

6 Comments

  1. I was disappointed to learn of the Berkshire trouble. Warren needs to humble himself not make excuses. We do live in a Madoff world and we don’t trust money people by default.

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    1. The initial Buffet reaction was mind-bogglingly stupid and paternalistic. He invited the wrath of sane people by not calling out Sokol straight away and punishing him firing and slamming him with a lawsuit — allowing him to resign suggets complicity.

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  2. I suspected that the design hasn’t every changed and I believe this shows I am right:

    http://replay.web.archive.org/19970530212007/http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/

    That’s the first snapshot of the site from the WayBack Machine — May of 1997.

    Pity about their poor selection of Sokol — they really should have sacked him.

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    1. Oh, I agree Gordon — they haven’t updated their web page from Web Design 101 circa 1991 — but why? Is it because they feel it’s “retro cool?” Or is it more because don’t they believe in creating a first class, interactive, informative website? It’s just odd and out-of-sorts and suggests they are so out of touch with reality for what they purport to be in the marketplace.

      I’m sure they thought they could just sweep Sokol under the rug after he stepped off the front stoop — unfortunately, his kind of stank tends to linger, infect, and kill other hosts in the immediate area.

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  3. […] when it sits down to commune with others in a room.  On May 11, 2011 I wrote an article about Berskhire Hathaway losing its moral value: Fuddy Duddyism only goes so far in the mainstream cult of personality, and Warren Buffet can no […]

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  4. […] media surrounding his billion dollar Berkshire Hathaway babies — especially in the ongoing wake of the David Sokol affair – but buying ink by the barrel to cover the blood of your tracks is certainly morally […]

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