12.4.2023 | Forbes
By Steve Brozak
Charlie Munger, investing Titan and Warren Buffet’s business partner, passed away on November 28th, a month shy of his 100th birthday. Regardless of one’s opinion of Munger the man, there can be no doubt that his life influenced investing and business, quite literally, affecting the entire world. But what if his greatest impact was on the health of the globe?
As vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK), Munger irrevocably changed not only investment strategies, as detailed in a July 20, 1996 speech titled “Practical Thought About Practical Thought.” In it, he outlined Five Simple Notions that Solve Problems which was a ground-breaking soliloquy explaining his investment strategy using the success story of Coca-Cola (KO). However, the speech was much more than an investment primer for it also detailed a trajectory for the soft drink product using the simplest and most fundamental of academic models. (Today, Berkshire Hathaway is the single largest holder of 400 million shares of Coca-Cola stock valued at $22 billion and close to 10% of the company.)
Munger explained one aspect of his approach by stating, “it will be wise to have our beverage look pretty much like wine instead of sugared water. And so, we will artificially color our beverage if it comes out clear. And we will carbonate our water, making our product seem like champagne, or some other expensive beverage, while also making its flavor better and imitation harder to arrange for competing products. And, because we are going to attach so many expensive psychological effects to our flavor, that flavor should be different from any other standard flavor so that we maximize difficulties for competitors and give no accidental same-flavor benefit to any existing product.” (This was true about Coke when it was invented. He didn’t change the color or add carbonation. There is even a clear Coke variant. What color was Coca-Cola originally? (foodly.tn)
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