Warren Buffett and Jay-Z Forbes Interview – Lessons Learned

by Michael P

I recently watched a Forbes interview with Warren Buffet and Jay-Z. While an interview with these two individuals seems like a contrast on the surface, they actually share a similar message. They both grew from humble beginnings, have worked their way to where they are now, have become very successful businessmen and entrepreneurs, and are now giving back to their communities.

This was a very interesting and informative interview, and it’s worth investing the time to watch (or at least listen to – I had it open in another tab and listened to the interview while doing other work). The YouTube video comes in at almost 53 minutes. So if you can’t invest the time to watch or listen right now, then take a few moments to read some of the lessons learned. Hopefully you can take some tips to help you in your business or in your life.

Billionaire Investing Secrets: Warren Buffett Interview with Jay- Z & Forbes:

Lessons Learned from the Warren Buffett and Jay-Z Interview by Forbes

There were many takeaways in this interview, but here are a few of my favorites that can be applicable to just about anyone.

Be True to Yourself

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. At some point it pays dividends to focus on your strengths and leave your weaknesses alone. Warren Buffet refers to this as his Circle of Competence. He sticks with what he knows. This wasn’t specifically mentioned in the interview, but it is a good example: Warren Buffet was famously ridiculed (at the time) for not investing in the tech market during the DOTcom bubble in the 1990s.

By standing on the sidelines, he and his company missed out on millions of dollars in gains. And they also missed out on one of the worst crashes in US stock market history. Instead, he stayed true to his investing principals and invested in what he knew. His gains were smaller than some who got out on top, but he also avoided the extreme losses many people experienced. In the long run, he did his company and his investors the better service by sticking to what he knows best. Warren Buffett doesn’t hit a home run every time out. But his track record speaks for itself. He has been, and continues to be, one of the most successful investors in history.

Jay-Z also mentioned similarities with his success. By sticking to what he knows, and sticking to his roots, he has grown and evolved as an artist. He specifically mentioned avoiding the trends and flavors of the week that tend to fizzle out quickly. By not trying to conform to fads, he has built a fan base that has grown with him. As he grows as an individual, his music and his message changes with him, helping him attract a new fan base.

Invest in Yourself

Warren Buffet began learning about investing at an early age. He began reading investing books at age seven, had read every investing book in his local public library by the age eleven, and he began investing at age 14. He started numerous small businesses to experiment and see what worked. Then he moved across the country to attend Columbia University where he learned from his mentor, Benjamin Graham. He was driven to succeed and never took no for an answer.

Jay-Z mentioned a time when he was still under a recording contract and he bought out his last album from his record label so he could strike out on his own. This was no small decision as he had to spend $5 million to get released from his contract. But by investing in himself, he could control every aspect of his career as he saw best. And that investment in himself has paid dividends many times over.

To Succeed, You Must be Able to Adapt

The music industry has undergone a massive upheaval with the advent of mp3’s, file sharing, the Internet, and iTunes. The old business model doesn’t work, and many music companies have struggled with the transition. Jay-Z, on the other hand, has embraced these changes and has grown his empire accordingly. The music production business was once based primarily on record sales. Jay-Z has taken his business in new directions. Instead of relying only upon album sales, Jay-Z’s production company is involved in all aspects of the music industry, including recording, publishing, production, live events, merchandise, and more. Jaz-Z is also a performer, so he gets a piece of both ends of his performances – once as the artist, and again as the business owner / producer / publishing company.

Give Back

Both Warren Buffet and Jay-Z are well-known for giving back within their communities. Warren Buffet is currently among the biggest philanthropists in the world, pledging to give away nearly all of his substantial fortune. He has already given away several billion dollars and will continue to give away more. Wikipedia has some more information about the specifics of what he has given so far, and has pledged to give.

Jay-Z talked about how he has given back in the community where he grew up. He discussed how important it is to be able to see a tangible effect from his gifts, and that he doesn’t just give to feel good about himself, but to see real change happen. It’s a great message, and one we can all learn from.

Much More in the Interview

These are only a few of the topic I thought were interesting. I encourage you to spend a few moments to learn from these gentlemen. They have a lot of wisdom to share!

Have you seen this interview? What were your takeaways?

Published or updated November 21, 2013.
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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Donny Gamble

This is an awesome interview and really shows you that anyone could do it and it just involves trusting your gut and overcoming failures.


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