Unlike most companies, Warren Buffet doesn't care if you buy his stock. The last close of BRK.A is at $99,000 and has an average volume of about 800 - meaning that if you hold that stock, you're almost certainly an institutional investor who's in it for the long run, and who know perfectly well what the company is like. For similar reasons, he doesn't need to project any images of modernity or customer-friendliness, if for no other reason than BRK has no real customers.
Most companies make fancy web pages to appeal to customers and inform them, to project a positive image for investors, or to provide a service. All Berkshire's web page is there for is to distribute some documents, most of which are updated annually or so. Hence no need for something fancy.
While you're there, have a read of the Owner's Manual and one of the annual reports, which are written as if you're friends with Warren Buffet and he's having a casual conversation with you about how business is going. He tells stories, he talks about individuals who have done well this year - but by the end you have a very good idea about how the company is doing, and you've probably learned something about finance (I don't have any shares in the company and I always read them). Also funny is the descriptions of the BRK annual meetings - known as _Woodstock for Capitalists_ - and the associated sales events from all the Berkshire companies.
"Berkshire Hathaway is a massive company which feels like a family firm.
All the usual corporate vanities are absent and not a cent is wasted. Take a
look at the Berkshire Hathaway website here. To call it low key would be to put it
kindly, it looks though it's from about 1994, no-frills. All the financial data
is here but they haven't even got around to even uploading a photo. And
that's all very much Warren Buffets style - why waste money on a designer.
Buffet insists his website does the job."
"I think it's what we are, I mean, it's factual."
"You could put a little picture of something on there perhaps, or."
"I want people to get facts about Berkshire and, you know, I don't
really think it makes any difference what I look like."
"Buffets idiosyncratic style is not just charming, it's a financial asset,
it saves time and money..."
When holding companies take it on as a strategy, it's a flash in the pan. Yum! Brands' (KFC, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's) Kentucky Derby sponsorship is a great example.
I'm not going to Pizza Hut to be Yum!'s patron. I'm going there for pizza and I don't like Domino's.
Likewise, I'm not going to Dairy Queen because I like Berkshire Hathaway.
Berkshire Hathaway has no business building a consumer brand. And yet Berkshire's consumer brand is Warren Buffet.
(What I mean to say is that the word "prohibited" has no meaning. The use of the passive voice does not make something a legal requirement.)
Some of them put language there like "please read these terms and conditions carefully before using this web site...".
How detached from reality can you become? If they find themselves in a lawsuit and want to argue that the other party should have read the T&C. Wouldn't any court throw out that argument immediately because there is now way to expect a normal person to read some terms and conditions linked in a footer of a webpage before reading/using it?
And their design does too...
Alas, I bet the lawyerly interpretation is that each downloaded HTML file is it's own licensed copy and perhaps copyright comes into being at the point of the successful HTTP request.
All of my web browsing is fine with the latency of a page load.
C programs are bloated when you consider the C library and UNIX environment they require.
So two of the things you cite as contributing to bloat have nothing to do with page design, and without the third (the DOM) we'd give up a lot of client-side scripting functionality, which is exactly the functionality I am arguing isn't worth giving up.
you still need to reload to see other people's votes even with today's fancy ajax voting!
Not to mention, some people don't have superfast broadband.
I guess I'm not clear on what you meant in your original post then. Did you mean that If the web consisted of the pages that were around in 1997 we wouldn't have weekly security updates and 600K memory-hog browsers? Or did you mean that if people designed web-pages to be informational and not interactive we wouldn't have those problems? I interpreted your comment as the latter, but I would take issue with both.
In the end my problem with your comment is that it's a lot like saying "If we didn't have email, we wouldn't have spam" or "If cars didn't have windows, it would be harder to break into them." It just seems like silly nostalgia. I suppose I should have articulated this more clearly from the beginning.
"I've said some stupid things and some wrong things, but not that. No one involved in computers would ever say that a certain amount of memory is enough for all time."
Yes, I know it's a misquote.
And 640K is enough for everyone, at least it was enough 30 years ago :)
i should have gotten on the unix bandwagon from the beginning. at the time i just didn't know any better.
Personally, I thought of Norm. You don't know Norm, but he's the guy who sold my family our first 386 with a 40MB hard drive and said it was more than we'd ever use. He also sold me a copy of Sim Earth and said it was the best game ever made. The bastard.
Berkshire Hathaway run a $150BN business with a staff of just twenty, and Buffet often points out having a fancy website is not a priority as long as it is functional.
In many ways their website is analogous to the likes of Google in providing just enough to make it useful and not much more.
It's still a pretty efficient and lightweight operation, but it's not an exact 20-people-to-$150-billion comparison.
<META NAME="GENERATOR" CONTENT="Adobe PageMill 2.0 Win">
According to Wikipedia that dates back to 1997:
At the time one review of Adobe PageMill 2.0 said that it "adds more features than I have fingers and toes… PageMill with its tables, frames, graphics, and support for form interfaces, makes it easy to lay out a page"
Are you on crack?
There is lots of speculation regarding succession, but nobody has been insane/stupid enough to suggest Gates as an option.
Berkshire Hathaway spends a lot --- probably hundreds of thousands annually --- on web design. They just don't use it for the Berkshire Hathaway corporate site.
A single Berkshire B share costs over $3000. Nobody buys them on a whim. There is zero business value spiffing up their web presence.
Here, something a lot of start-ups can learn. True, they need good design more than Berkshire, but it feels like form completely overtook function.
I get the sense that a lot of people commenting here don't really understand how BRK works.
It isn't very polite, but neither is not letting you in.
(That said, I really doubt they care if you buy a shirt or not).
So, it's not that he won't spring for a post-1992 web site because he's cheap. It's because he couldn't care less about the internet. He doesn't even have a computer. In a way I'm shocked that berkshirehathaway.com even exists. I assume they bought it to keep some idiot from hocking Viagra under that name.
To me, the world's richest man completely ignoring something to which many of us here devote our lives is a great reminder of the whole other physical world out there which will always be equally, if not more, as important as tech. Microblogging, blah blah will come and go, but people will always need to build brick walls and paint them.
Just one meeting with Warren Buffet to approve the website redesign would be the equivalent of thousands of dollars (people pay in the hundreds of thousands for lunch with him). Additional disruptions in the already small corporate office would incur additional costs.
I wonder whether anybody actually does this...
Every time I find websites like this, I immediately think its simple and limited, yet efficient. But I do dislike this website. This company/website doesn't align with my idea of a new communication tool. However, the latest "web 2.0" site doesn't give me inspiration either. It is full of a bunch of pretty lights and distracting content.
Some times I wonder if the web needs a paradigm shift. Starting to think we are over engineering it when we should be focusing on specific function.
Anything more than necessary is too much.
I'm sure the site would be fancier if Warren Buffett actually used a computer - but as far as I know he doesn't even have one in his office.
I offered to get him a new one, but he declined because the one he has does everything he needs.
My first reaction was horror, but after having thought about it a while, it makes sense. The guy has been doing this since before I was ever a thought in my parents head, and he is very successful, why change?
Doesn't he have a cell-phone, probably a computer; use a PBX, a computer; drive a car, a computer; ride in an elevator, a computer; ...
What was it you thought BRK did?
Logically, BRK should also link to Coke, American Express, and all the companies it holds share in/owns outright. Not only as advertising, but also to give them some google juice. It would look horrifically crassly commercial, of course.
Buffet does take every opportunity to promote his holdings, though you might argue that they're superior if he invested in them in the first place.
I see what you mean though, that it would seem rude for BRK to make up their own ads for coke. At any rate, Buffett's approach is to not interfere in any of his businesses, so I'm sure that the two ads that are there (GEICO and Borsheims) would have been done in consultation. He could do that with coke etc, too.
I'm not saying he should do it, just that the same logic applies.
The point I'm making, tongue-in-cheek, is to echo Buffett's philosophy that when you buy a share in a company, you should think of it as buying that company, not as buying a share, so that you think of yourself as a business owner, and not a trader in shares.
align = center?
I guess everyone has their pet peeves...
Profits, not mountains of debt. secure jobs, no govt. bailouts, etc. etc. old school.
Buffet will be studied for generations to come.
But Berkshire has tremendously benefited from bail-outs of it's holdings like GE and GS!
GS especially was buying Buffett's credibility more so than they needed a cash infusion in the wake of the financial meltdown.
The GS employees I know are not happy about this...
He's like a very good baseball fielder who moves to where the ball will be. It's not his doing that the govt. is doing all this bailout crap. He just positioned himself under the rain of money.
He got rich BEFORE it, remember that.
BRK haven't been stellar performer lately.
The site isn't for you.
I don't get how such popular websites (Drudge, Craigs) can be so underdeveloped. It almost seems like they don't deserve their amount of success.