As a nervous world watches the political uprising unfold in Egypt this week, one cannot escape the fact that modern communication systems have made it possible for individuals in poor countries to collaborate in ways that would have been impossible only a decade ago. It seems like the first response of autocratic governments when faced with an uprising is to cut off internet and telecommunications services. According to a recent report, Egypt’s mobile phone penetration rate has reached 72 percent. Read this article for more information.
There has been much speculation this week regarding the reasons behind Warren Buffett’s decision to hire Todd Combs to manage a portion of Berkshire Hathaway’s investment portfolio. Although short term stock price movements are meaningless, some observers have attributed Berkshire Hathaway’s stock performance over the past two days to investor discomfort with the selection, although it is equally plausible that investors are simply refocusing on their discomfort with the overall succession issue. More information regarding Mr. Combs will no doubt emerge in due course so spending time speculating on his qualifications and background is a rather pointless exercise. In the meantime, it is more productive to take a look at one of his highest conviction positions: Western Union.