Warren Buffett Story [Part 9] The High School Entrepreneur

In the previous article, we saw that 12-year-old Warren Buffett made a profit on his first stock investment, how he was also proficient in horse racing and other industries, and used newspaper delivery and magazine sales to earn a salary that an average adult could earn at the age of 13.

Let’s move forward to his life as a high school student.

Woodrow Wilson High School 

In February 1945, Buffett enrolled in Woodrow Wilson High School, where he met Don Danley, an eloquent and numerically gifted student. Don Danley became a close friend. Danley bought an old pinball machine at that time, and they both enjoyed playing for hours. 

He was inspired and had an idea that if the machine was placed in a barbershop, they would be very popular among customers. So they began to find a barbershop owner, and agreed to share the income of the pinball 50-50. 

Young Buffett achieved great success in the barber shop business, but he remained humble and did not allow his triumph to affect him. He remained calm and focused on finding better locations for the next shop to avoid potential issues with criminals, gangs, or extortion. He selected a location in the middle of nowhere for the next barber shop to operate more smoothly.

By sharing the benefits with the barbershop, their business continued to expand. Danley concentrated on buying used pachinko machines and fixing them before placing them in other barbershops, while Buffett managed the accounts.

Each time the barbershop made a new request, Warren Buffett would put on a serious face and answer, "I'll talk to Mr. Wilson," where Wilson was a pseudonym for the young entrepreneurs, Buffett and Danley. The more machines they placed meant an increase in their company's weekly revenue which reached $50.

According to Danley, Buffett was highly regarded and he believed that while Buffett may not excel at hands-on tasks like turning screws, he was exceptionally skilled in mental arithmetic.

This is where Warren Buffett shines and this trait is reflected in his future investments. The key to his investment success is his "philosophy of simplicity." His investment decisions are based on making easy to understand and avoiding irrelevant complexities. 

He has the ability to identify the direct route to the mountain peak, unlike others who have to navigate through obstacles and detours before finding the path. He has a knack for analyzing the fundamental aspects of a problem and identifying the underlying solution, which he consistently applies.

Throughout his investment career, he has always gone out and found good bargains, bought stocks in good companies that were priced well below their true value, and always held them for the long term, waiting until the price doubled. At the same time, he has an amazing memory and calculation ability, and he does not even need to borrow computers and stock investment calculation tools to achieve this goal. 

From that time on, he was the odd man out in the entire American investment community because he gave people the impression that he was completely different from the atmosphere of Wall Street, rather than that he seemed out of place. He did not appear to be a super-rich man, but rather a man who was far away from New York City, staying in his hometown of Obama, with only a few simple things in his room, all kinds of report-related information, and a telephone. 

At that time, he did not have a professional research team around him, nor did he have the tedious data analysis provided by other institutions. He just read a lot of corporate financial reports and judged from them that those were really cheap and good, and then everyone bought them and held them for a long time!

Warren Buffett was an entrepreneur during his high school years, and the experience he gained during that time helped to establish a strong foundation for his future investment analysis skills. His high school friend, Danley, also played a role in his success by cooperating with him during that time. Today, Buffett's investment decisions continue to have a significant impact on his life and the lives of many others.

The conclusion of Buffett's high school story will be featured in the next article and continue to showcase how his life was growing up.

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Further Reading