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If you are curious about the secret behind the success of an investor as legendary as Warren Buffett, you should consider the simplicity of his company’s headquarters. The Berkshire Hathaway headquarters is a modest abode in the quiet heart of corn country. Buffett’s firm is more profitable than most of his competitors who call spacious office buildings on Wall Street home. Perhaps, the down home approach is actually the better strategy.
Omaha, Nebraska is home to the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters. Omaha is also where Warren Buffett grew up. According to Buffett, the firm’s location is a source of strength because it is far from New York where investors are constantly clamoring about short-term trends. Buffett prefers a sober, long-term perspective, which seems more at home in the middle of the country. In addition to its unique location, Berkshire Hathaway is known for its small and simple office building which is full of motivational sports memorabilia and old family photos.
What Is Berkshire Hathaway?
Berkshire Hathaway is a multinational investment firm headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska in the American Midwest. Before Buffett bought the firm, it was a small textile company located in Rhode Island. Since then, Berkshire Hathaway has transformed into the most successful investment firm in American history, and possibly world history. Buffett deserves most of the credit for this change. He is celebrated as the most visionary investor and business man of his generation.
When Buffet bought the company, it was on the brink of bankruptcy. He later admitted that purchasing it was a bad decision, but he bought it anyway because one of the board members made a joke suggesting Buffett could not afford the company and was not competent enough to run it. Who is laughing now? Buffet first moved from textiles to the insurance industry before deciding to make the company into an investment firm.
Berkshire Hathaway owns many well-known brands like GEICO, Duracell, Dairy Queen, and Fruit of the Loom outright. The company also owns large stakes in other famous brands such as Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, Delta Airlines, NetJets, and American Express. One of the firm’s most notorious investments lead to the rise of Wal-Mart which has become one of the most common retail stores in the United States.
Legendary Share Price
One of Berkshire Hathaway’s most impressive accomplishments is the unprecedented share price the company’s stock has managed to reach since going public. A class A share in Berkshire Hathaway costs roughly $300,000. This is because Buffett has never split the share price into smaller, more manageable, increments. This move ensures that only those who invested in Berkshire Hathaway in the early years and the select few employees with stock options get to enjoy the big money.
Why Are the Berkshire Hathaway Headquarters Unique?
Most big investment firms have a headquarters in New York or another major urban area on the coast. Berkshire Hathaway is headquartered in the middle of America’s largest cornfield in Omaha, Nebraska. Despite its reputation as an agricultural backwater, Omaha is a rapidly growing city with a surprising selection of attractions and big city comforts.
A Culture of Its Own
Omaha serves a dual purpose as the home to the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters. It is the hometown of CEO Warren Buffett, which lets the boss feel at home, and it is far from New York. By staying away from Wall Street, Berkshire Hathaway separates itself from the boom and bust culture of the financial capital. Many believe this is a key reason Berkshire Hathaway has such a strong reputation for finding investments that bring the firm long-term success.
An Important Pilgrimage
Ironically, an invitation to the Berkshire Hathaway board of directors meeting, all the way out in Nebraska, has come to be seen as something of an honor. After all, if Warren Buffett needs to meet with you, you must be doing something right.
The legendary investor has certainly played a major part in cultivating a great reputation for his hometown based on his own success. This anomalous factor has played no small part in the development of Omaha, which is now home to many flourishing business and an increasing number of cultural attractions.
Benefits for Omaha
Critics often cite the minimal number of people employed by Berkshire Hathaway in Omaha as a downside to having the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters in Omaha. The firm makes a lot of money, but it only employs a total of twenty-six workers in the main office, which isn’t a huge help to the city. However, the benefits of the headquarter’s location are more expansive than the number of employees.
First and foremost, Berkshire Hathaway boosts the reputation of Omaha and its business community across the country as Buffett’s name resonates with business leaders everywhere.
As an Example
Perhaps more importantly than the name recognition provided by Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway provides an example for other businesses that want to find a suitable home. It is very affordable from a tax and commercial rental point of view to run a business in Nebraska, and Omaha ranks highly as a livable city for workers and their families.
Information on the Berkshire Hathaway Headquarters
Geography isn’t the only unique aspect of the Berkshire Hathaway headquarters. The building the firm calls home and everything in it is very different than other, similarly successful firms. Like Buffett himself, the headquarters of the company he built prizes a certain folksy modest that reflects his roots and his vision for the company’s future.
The Berkshire Hathaway headquarters is in Kiewit Square in the heart of downtown Omaha. The square is home to lots of other businesses, many of which are highly successful, albeit not as successful as their famous neighbor. The building itself was erected in the early 1960s in the typical modernist style. The exterior is plain and resembles all the surrounding office buildings. If you didn’t know what you were looking for, you would have no sense that a multi-billion dollar investment firm was anywhere in the area.
As we mentioned above, the headquarters in Omaha employs only twenty-six people; therefore, the office space taken up by the firm is fairly minimal. However, in accordance with the firm’s 2019 renewal of the lease, the firm now has additional space into which further employees could be stationed as the firm grows in the coming decades.
By the standards of the 21st century, the interior of Berkshire Hathaway’s home base is decidedly low tech. For example, Warren Buffett’s office doesn’t have a computer: only stationary and a set of encyclopedias. The employees with access to more technology use a desktop computer and a land line to communicate with their colleagues. Cell phones, tablets, and laptops are all noticeably absent from the office, as per Buffett’s request.
A Culture of Success
In a nod to the notoriously successful football culture at the University of Notre Dame, Berkshire Hathaway employees reach above their heads and slap a sign which reads “Invest like a Champion Today” as they enter their office space every day. This is just one example of the many sports-related pieces of encouragement displayed throughout the office. The general vibe of the place exudes the idea of victory in every nook and cranny.
Outside the admittedly heavy-handed Notre Dame reference, the office is full of other rare sports memorabilia Buffett has collected over the years. After a quick walk around, it is obvious that the firm’s CEO loves the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team and the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition to the memorabilia that celebrates Midwestern football teams, there are items that represent the accomplishments of athletes throughout the United States. According to Buffett, his most valuable item is a baseball signed by Joe DiMaggio, his boyhood hero.
Testaments to Buffet’s Widespread Acclaim
Warren Buffett has been a highly successful figure in the finance industry for decades at this point. Over the course of his career, he has received innumerable awards and recognition of all varieties. Other than sports memorabilia, the most common thing in the offices used by Berkshire Hathaway are traces of the long and storied career Buffett has had. This collection includes Time magazine covers with Buffett’s picture on the cover, an honorary degree presented to him by Barack Obama, and a picture of him and Jay-Z enjoying an NFL game.