Warren Buffett: “If it doesn’t grab them right away… it just doesn’t make any difference”

buffI just want to draw your attention to the item, “Either It Clicks, Or Doesn’t At All“, on the sidebar on the right of this blog.  It’s a quote from that excellent biographical tome, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life (published by Random House in 2008), written by Alice Schroeder , a noted insurance industry analyst and writer who was a managing director at Morgan Stanley.  Buffett was simply characterizing a fact that there are those in the stock exchanges that understand how the exchanges, like those at Wall Street, work and how to make money out of them and there are those who don’t.  This is the quote (p. 253):

“With some, the idea of buying dollar bills for forty cents takes, and with some it doesn’t take. It’s like an inoculation. It’s extraordinary to me. If it doesn’t grab them right away, I find that you can talk to them for years and show them records–and it just doesn’t make any difference. I’ve never seen anyone who became a convert over a ten-year period with this approach. It’s always instant recognition or nothing. Whatever it is, I’ve never understood it.”

Neither do I understand it.  We’ve made overtures in this blog to extend some real opportunities to some folks in Bangui and we haven’t got a single, solitary reaction, nay a sign of even the least bit of inquisitiveness to find out what it is we’re offering.  Examples:

Not a single soul from Bangui reacted to the above overtures, inspite of the fact that we even tried to contact some of the people concerned by email.

In fact, years earlier, I helped the Banguinians, an organization of Bangui folks here in Southern California, collect and refurbish second-hand computers and monitors, loaded them with the proper operating system, application software, and shipped them all along with some educational software to the Banban Elementary School (10 PC systems) and the Bangui National High School in Banban (12 PC systems of which 2 were reportedly DOA).  The follow-up was lacking.  When I visited the place in March 2008, the PC units at the elementary school had been largely cannibalized and inoperational.  Ms. Edith Romano, the high school principal, showed us the PCs locked inside a section of the high school library.  The PCs at the high school appeared to be still functional at the time and were being used by students who signed up to use them.  At the time of our visit, the telephone company was busy laying out the landlines about a kilometer from the school.  Since those PCs are Internet-ready, it is widely expected that some effort would be expended to get the necessary Internet connection for them to really get on the information superhighway, like the rest of the world.  But we haven’t had any follow-up nor heard from the Bangui National High School folks in Banban.

WHY THE APATHY?  WHY DON’T OUR OFFERS GRAB THE INTENDED BENEFICIARIES IN BANGUI RIGHT AWAY?  Frankly, we don’t harbor any ulterior motives for, nor are there any strings attached to, our offers.  The overweening desire is to help or bring about some improvement.

We happen to think that some of the townsfolk in Bangui might be able to take advantage of some or all of our offers.  But if they don’t, we need only one to let us know so and we shall understand.  As simple as that.

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