Monday, October 17, 2005

Technology - Warren Buffett and Bill Gates: The $91 Billion Conversation - FORTUNE - Page

Technology - Warren Buffett and Bill Gates: The $91 Billion Conversation - FORTUNE - Page: "BILLIONAIRE BUDDIES
The $91 Billion Conversation
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates answer questions, first for 2,000 Nebraska students, then for FORTUNE. The billionaire buddies on the economy, philanthropy, and investment strategy—an exclusive report.
By Daniel Roth

It's the Friday before the University of Nebraska's Big 12 Conference opener in football-mad Lincoln, but the Cornhuskers game isn't the only hot ticket in town. On a beautiful late September afternoon, some 2,000 students are lined up outside the school's Lied Center auditorium, an hour before the doors open. Andrew Schoemacher, a lanky 19-year-old chemical-engineering sophomore, doesn't even have a ticket but hopes he can scrounge one to get inside. How could he miss seeing this show? After all, he says, 'It's Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.'

Gates and Buffett—friends who just happen to be the two richest men in the world, worth $51 billion and $40 billion, respectively—are coming together for a free-ranging question-and-answer session. They have done this kind of talk before—once. The two met up in Gates' hometown of Seattle in 1998 with students at the University of Washington. Back then both men were on the verge of turbulent times: Microsoft about to face off against the government in its epic antitrust trial, and Buffett weeks away from buying reinsurer General Re, now the thorn in his company Berkshire Hathaway's side, thanks to its involvement with the troubled AIG. Fortune, the only magazine invited to attend their first chat, found the interaction 'something pretty darn close to wisdom' and put the talk on the cover (see The Bill & Warren Show. So when the billionaires decided to meet again, we went along for an inside peek at the event—and more important, some private time with the two men to pose our own questions."

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