The Key to Success

(1.5 minute read)

Picture this: A young Bill Gates, finally relenting to his parents’ persistence, agrees to join them for lunch where they're hosting Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha”, on July 5, 1991. He had no desire to meet Buffett, saying to his mother, “Look, he just buys and sells pieces of paper. That’s not real value added. I don’t think we’d have much in common.” It turns out that Buffett was looking forward to the meeting no more than Gates was—because to Buffett, computers are like brussels sprouts.

As fate would have it however, the meeting over lunch was the spark for a lifelong friendship. Upon meeting, Warren asked Bill really smart questions about Microsoft that no one had brought up before. “He started asking me some questions about the software business and why a small company like Microsoft could expect to compete with IBM and what were the skillsets and the pricing.”

It was a meeting of the minds for these two corporate soulmates, as captured in HBO’s documentary, Becoming Warren Buffett. So much so, that during this first visit, Bill Gates’ dad asked the two to write down on a piece of paper, the trait they attribute most to their success. Out of all of the words in the English language, they wrote down the exact same word. Can you guess what it was?

We conducted a poll, asking which of the following words Bill and Warren wrote down: Focus, Grit, Creativity, Adaptability, or Education. Click the button below for the answer.