DiscoverWe Study Billionaires - The Investor’s Podcast NetworkTIP573: Berkshire's Beginnings w/ Jacob McDonough
TIP573: Berkshire's Beginnings w/ Jacob McDonough

TIP573: Berkshire's Beginnings w/ Jacob McDonough

Update: 2023-09-011


Clay Finck is joined by Jacob McDonough to discuss Berkshire's 1962 beginnings, Warren Buffett's turnaround, and its rise to a $800B valuation by 2023.

Jacob McDonough is the author of the book Capital Allocation, which covers the financials of Berkshire Hathaway from 1955 through 1985, and he’s the host of the 10-K podcast, where he dives into the annual reports of various companies from decades ago, such as Geico and GM.


00:00 - Intro.

02:02 - Why purchasing Berkshire Hathaway’s stock was one of Buffett’s worst investment decisions.

05:51 - How cheap Berkshire’s stock was when Buffett purchased it.

10:26 - The initial steps Buffett took to turn Berkshire’s business around.

13:12 - Why Buffett’s emphasis on cutting costs was so critical to Berkshire’s early success in the mid-1960s.

17:37 - The pivotal moment in 1967 that changed everything for Berkshire Hathaway.

20:06 - How National Indemnity’s valuation compared to the textile business.

27:27 - How insurance float helped supercharge Berkshire’s growth.

30:46 - The advantages Berkshire gained by getting into the insurance industry.

34:39 - What got Buffett and Munger into purchasing shares in Blue Chip Stamps.

39:40 - Buffett’s unconventional use of debt in expanding operations.

41:49 - What fueled the 1970s expansion phase.

54:05 - What led Geico’s stock to drop 96% in the 1970s.

62:30 - How Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger met.

65:11 - The financials and story of one of Berkshire’s best investments ever - See’s Candy.

72:32 - How Jacob thinks about different return metrics when analyzing a company.

75:26 - Jacob’s biggest takeaways from studying the history of Berkshire Hathaway.

Disclaimer: Slight discrepancies in the timestamps may occur due to podcast platform differences.



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TIP573: Berkshire's Beginnings w/ Jacob McDonough

TIP573: Berkshire's Beginnings w/ Jacob McDonough