Collection: Warren Buffett - #7 | How can you Judge the Usefulness of a Product?



I’m Harriet Morton from Seattle, Washington. I’m wondering, when you are considering an acquisition, how you look at the usefulness of the product? WARREN BUFFETT

In looking at any business? AUDIENCE MEMBER


Yeah. Well, obviously we look at what the market says is the utility. And the market has voted very heavily for Dexter Shoe, just to be an example. I don’t know many how many pairs of shoes they were turning out back in 1958 or thereabouts, but year after year, people have essentially voted for the utility of that product. There are 750 million or so 8-ounce servings of one product or another from the Coca-Cola Company consumed every day around the world. And there are those of us who think the utility is very high. I can’t make it through the day without a few. But there are other people that might rate it differently. But essentially, people are going to get thirsty and if this is the way they take care of their thirst better than — and they prefer that to other forms — then I would rate the utility high of the product. But, I think it’s hard to argue with the market on that. I mean, people — some people may think that, you know, listening to a rock concert is not something of high utility. Other people might think it’s terrific. And so, we would judge that — I don’t think we would come to an independent decision that there was some great utility residing in some product that had been available to the public for a long time, but that the public and not endorsed in any way. Charlie? CHARLIE MUNGER

Well, I think that’s right. But, that’s averaged out. We’re in a bunch of high-utility products. I mean, nurses’ shoes, work shoes, casual shoes. We don’t have a lot of, what, Italian pumps? (Laughter) WARREN BUFFETT

Don’t rule it out, Charlie. We may be here next year defending it. (Laughter) CHARLIE MUNGER

Yeah, right, well. No, I’m just saying, if you judge the existing portfolio as indicating what the future’s likely to be like, why — WARREN BUFFETT

Well, certainly a lot of essentials were sold out of Borsheims yesterday. CHARLIE MUNGER

Yes. (Laughter and applause) WARREN BUFFETT

I hear my family clapping.

Zone 6.


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[YAPSS Takeaway]

You can evaluate the usefulness of a product by looking at the utility of it in the market. However utility varies among people, but generally a great product is used by many, an example will be Google.