Jake vs. Warren Buffett Featured

9:23am EDT November 29, 2005

Body by Jake Global Chairman Jake Steinfeld was thrilled to be asked to speak at the Stanford Graduate School of Business Entrepreneur Club. His excitement was short-lived, however, when he learned that Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett was speaking at the same time.

“I got that phone call — would I be interested in making a speech,” recalls Steinfeld. “I said I’d love to.”

As the event neared, event organizers told him how excited everyone was to have him.

But when he landed at the San Francisco airport, something about the men who came to pick him up made him uneasy.

“Fellas, what’s up? If something’s going sideways, just let me know,” Steinfeld said to the pair.

“They said, ‘Jake, do you know who Warren Buffet is?’”

“Yeah, sure I do,” he told them.

“Well, Warren makes these drive-bys at Stanford ... ”

“And he’s going to be there today,” Steinfeld says. “And he’s going to be there when I’m speaking.”

They said, “Yeah.”

I said, “What’s that problem? I’m going to his speech.”

When the car arrived at the campus, Steinfeld’s mood was only slightly eased by the beautiful surroundings.

“We got to the school,” he says. “Inside I was kind of bumming, but you’ve got to keep your game face on. Whoever’s going to be there is going to be there. We’ll have a great time. We parked the car, walked around, walked to where the business was and then walked to this lecture hall that was just teeming with people out the door.”

“‘Mr. Buffet, huh?’” Steinfeld asked.

They said, “No, that’s where you’re speaking.”

Steinfeld was elated.

“It was just dynamite,” he says. “The day was one of those days you just wanted to bottle. The speech went off great. The students were fantastic. The questions were as pure as pure could be. What I mean by that, (the students) were more interested, more fascinated or more concerned not with successes I’ve had in my life but how I was able to overcome failure.

How was I able to overcome a challenge, someone telling you no? You don’t learn that stuff in school. Someone can talk to you about getting punched in the face, but until you experience it, how are you going to react?

“I just thought it was a very intriguing and very interesting afternoon.”