Warren Buffett, the head of Berkshire Hathaway and the fourth richest person on Forbes’ list of billionaires with a net worth of $53.5 billion, joined Twitter Thursday. It was a big deal. The Oracle of Omaha, as he is admiringly called in tribute to his investing prowess, agreed to join the social network as part of an interview about “women and work” with Fortune. Within minutes of his first tweet — “Warren is in the House” — he had amassed 32,000 followers (you can follow him at @warrenbuffett, and his follower count is rising fast, though he has yet to follow anyone).
The 82-year-old Buffett, whose company holds its closely watched annual shareholder meeting this weekend, isn’t exactly an early adapter. He still doesn’t have a computer on his office desk. But, when asked if he liked Twitter, he showcased the folksy humor that has endeared him to millions of people inside and outside the business world: “The co-founder came from Nebraska so it can’t be all that bad,” he said.
While it was billed as Buffett’s first social interview, only three questions during the 50-minute long discussion came from Twitter. And they were softballs — one user asked Buffett about his female role models; another asked if Buffett would go with him to Dairy Queen (the billionaire loves DQ sundaes so much, he bought the company).
Former supermodel Christy Turlington asked Buffett via Twitter what was the most important lesson he learned from his mother, to which he replied that he learned most of his life lessons from his father and that he didn’t get along all that well with his mother.
That’s not to say that all the questions coming from the Twitter hashtag #fortunebuffett were softballs. Some were pretty good. And, of course, Buffett’s first tweet prompted a ton of witty and sarcastic retweets. Below is a collection of tweet questions we would have loved to hear Buffett answer, as well as some of the funnier responses to his first tweet.
#FortuneBuffett 1 billion women projected in workforce in 10yrs. VC funding for women business owners minimal. What to do to change this?— Women In STEMM
#FortuneBuffett Mr. Buffet, would you want to participate in the project of filming a movie about the legendary Jesse Livermore? Thanks— Alemosvol
Jesse Livermore was a famous (or infamous depending on your point of view) stock market short-seller in the early 1900s. He was the subject of a book that dubbed him the “World’s Greatest Stock Trader,” which is a title most people now ascribe to Buffett.
Do you agree with @MarissaMayer’s ban on telecommuting, and generous new family leave benefits? Please explain. #FortuneBuffet— Yasamin Beitollahi
25% sexually harassed in the US Military, it seems pointless to expect equality. How can mil come up to corp stats? #fortunebuffett— Jennifer Bester
. @WarrenBuffett- Now that you’re on @twitter would ever invest in social media or tech companies? #FortuneBuffett— Dividend Buddy
#FortuneBuffet Your co name comes from an acquisition in 60s in now economically depressed #NewBedford, would you reinvest there?— Kaisa HollowayCripps
.@FortuneMagazine What’s the best advice for succeeding in a media career? #FortuneBuffett— Time Inc. Careers
The Time Inc. tweet is rather interesting not only because Buffett has grown into one of the largest newspaper publishers in the country through a roll-up of small and middle-market dailies, but also because Time Inc. has gone through several rounds of staff cuts in recent years. The company, which owns Fortune, Time, and Sports Illustrated, among other magazines, is currently in search of a CEO and is about to be spun off from parent company Time Warner. As such, many of Time Inc.’s employees may actually need Buffett’s advice soon.
The best responses to Buffett’s first tweet:
Warren Buffett tweets in the third person.— Stefan Becket
Must be a really big house â€œ@WarrenBuffett: Warren is in the house.â€— Tyler
Actually she’s in the senate. RT @warrenbuffett: Warren is in the house.— Will Storey
Can you spot a brother a cool million? RT @WarrenBuffett Warren is in the house.— Zaid Jilani