Interview with Warren Buffett about ukulele

It's well-known that Warren Buffett is a ukulele fan. From Ukulelia, Gary says:

Every so once in a while, a story comes around that is so mind-bogglingly complex, I get stymied on how to blog it. I'm still wrapping my head around this, but here evidently is the dope.

Performance artists Roger Geenawalt and David Barratt recorded and performed all 185 Beatles songs with 185 guest artists...on ukulele, natch.

The performance was then cast as a benefit for Warren Buffett. (Head about to explode. Must. Keep. Blogging.) And they've now just delivered the cash to him in person. (Following is the BEST interview with Warren Buffett evar.)


  1. RE #2:
    buffett is the very definition of authentic cool.

    he’s got tons of cash and fame and yet refuses to sell out and still lives in his modest house in Omaha. the uke only confirms this.

  2. It seems every time I post on BB, I am a complete bummer, but I am starting to accept that I really am a total buzz-kill, online and off…so, to me, defining Buffet by his uke playing is like defining Truman by his penchant for the piano.

    Both were nice old men who were completely emotionally invested in the status quo, without realizing what a debility that investment was/is.

    Truman set the stage for the National Security State, Buffet has set the stage for an expectation that value investing will return all followers to permanent wealth.

    Pro or con, we all have lived through the many iterations of the NSS, now we will spend our futures plowing through an attempt to attain the permanent wealth paradigm, until we can’t. Unfortunately for him, W. Buffet represents that paradigm in the popular media/mind.

    Given demographics, economic reality, and resource depletion, it seems folly to me that good old Warren will remain a hyper-rich folk-hero ten years from now.

    I think he will be kinda hated.*

    *I don’t hate him, I just think he’s a product of his time, which will be gazed at with disbelief.

    On the other hand, maybe I’m just a real downer and can’t see fun without trying to spoil it for everyone.

  3. I know that it’s irrelevant and not a statistically significant sampling, but I have several friendly acquaintances who are at least demi-billionaires and they’re really quite nice.

  4. If I had a nickel for every time Buffett’s last name was incorrectly spelled with one T, I’d be, well, at least a thousandaire.

    1. If I had a nickel for every time Buffett’s last name was incorrectly spelled with one T, I’d be, well, at least a thousandaire.

      You’d be richer than Warren Buffett. Even Google’s suggestions all come with only one T.

  5. It’s one thing to hear journalists praise him for his down-to-earth qualities, but it’s another to see it for yourself. Perhaps there is a magic to the uke. He seems to possess that hilaritas we spoke of earlier.

  6. I don’t care for ukulele music, or the recent burst of posts on the topic, but I’m glad to hear that the money in this video is coming here to Omaha to fund some arts education for a really great group. Buffett’s a champ, and as he keeps succeeding, I hope people will also emulate his all-consuming philanthropy.

  7. Oh, I agree that Buffett seems like a decent man. He’s also a brilliant investor, and he seems to have a kind of personal cool, which is evident in the video. I’m questioning (mostly in jest) whether Boing Boing can associate with billionaires and maintain its anti-establishment edge.

  8. I always get confused by Warren/Jimmy Buffett.Yes I know.But now i can visualize both.In Hawian shirts,playin’ ukes!

  9. #5 –

    Buffett isn’t pushing value investing as the path to riches. He repeatedly states both that:

    1) The growth of the economy in this century is extremely unlikely to match that of the (fantastic for growth) last century.
    2) An average guy/gal invested in an index fund will on average outperform the group of people paying large fees to brokers/funds. Not get rich, just do better on average.

  10. Cripes this is what I get for harassing you about featuring geek-chic girls on ukes. Now I can’t work my brain anymore. But, um, thanks… more uke is good, still. Ow.

  11. @#13
    If Boingboing let articles they found interesting pass by just so they could be fashionable, this site wouldn’t be half as cool as it is. It’s much more interesting to be authentically quirky than to wear whatever clothes are in fashion at the moment.

    That said, all this enthusiastic co-opting of the ukulele is still a little embarrassing. It’s sort of like watching expensive punk clothes sold at Hot Topic, and remembering a time when my friends and I dressed like that (when clothes like that were essentially free from salvation army) to express a disdain for crass consumerism.

    This interest in ukuleles is harmless and cute, but- there was a part of the warren buffett interview where someone mentioned that Obama was from Hawaii, and what that would mean for the ukulele; I couldn’t help musing that there is NOTHING hawaiian about the way the people that have been linked have used the ukulele.

    There’s sort of a prevailing affection for the ukulele because it is small and cute, and that association is sometimes extended to hawaii because that is where the ukulele is from. The recent celebration of the ukulele has been a celebration of how small and cute it is. Boingboing wouldn’t feature a video like or even because they aren’t really what the site is about.

    It’s just weird watching all the signifieds get cut from a signifier, and then completely new ones get grafted on.

  12. more ukulele less steam punk

    though in my opinion America’s “every man for themselves” is past its sell by date

  13. My own personal Buffett story is that he came into Schmitt Music (74th & Dodge in Omaha) one day in the fall of 2000 and completely cleaned them out of ukuleles. I was working their seasonal shift (beginning the school year when all the kids come in for instruments) and though I wasn’t there at the time, my coworkers told me about it.

    I think it took about a month to restock all those ukes.

    I’d argue that Buffett IS outside the mainstream. How many multi-billionaires do you know live in modest old houses in midsized Midwestern cities and drive their own cars? Not only does he live in Omaha, he doesn’t even live in Omaha’s ultra-wealthy neighborhood.

  14. >>Not only does he live in Omaha, he doesn’t even live in Omaha’s ultra-wealthy neighborhood.

    Regency used to be the fanciest neighborhood in Omaha, but even then Buffett’s wasn’t the fanciest house. I walked by it many times, and frankly if you didn’t know you wouldn’t know, if you know what I’m saying.

  15. Warren Buffett bought 17 red, Kilo soprano ukeleles this last week from Dietze Music in Omaha for Girls Inc. He had a big smile on his face and even asked for a discount for a really great cause. I think he got a kick out of haggling a better price out of me and I kept the 18th uke that he tried out. I’ve since learned to play and love the uke thanks to Warren! I also was the tech that tuned and maintained his Dairy Queen uke last fall for the Berkshire Hathaway meeting. It is lovely indeed and plays extremely well. The uke is picking up in popularity with the kids these days and any guitarist can play uke with standard chords in open C tuning. Kudos to Warren, Susan and Barbara Wilhelm for their hard work with Girls inc and for shopping with Dietze Music. For more info on ukelele, please check out this web site!

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