Warren Buffett Opens 4th Annual Lydian Roundtable and Launches New Payments Industry Portal, PYMNTS.com

Buffett comments on economy, card industry and financial crisis and suggests that “system works” and points to a focus on the customer as the path forward for business


Tuesday, October 20, 2009 12:30 pm EDT


"made it look you were J.P. Morgan or something."

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., opened the 4th annual closed-door Lydian Roundtable on the Payments Industry, a closed-door gathering of senior executives in the payments space, commenting on the resiliency of the American system, yet cautioning that we’re not “100% there just yet” when asked about consumer confidence and consumer spending.

Buffett was interviewed by Cathy Baron Tamraz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company which partnered with Market Platform Dynamics to launch a new online B2B channel dedicated to the payments sector, PYMNTS.com.

When asked about the economy’s prospects, Buffett said that “enormous” progress has been made since a year ago, which is a credit, in his view, to what the government did to in the Fall of 2008 to keep the economy from “going over a cliff.” And although, the economy won’t be back the way it was for a while, Buffett believes that the worst is behind us. He was more cautious when asked about unemployment rates, citing that companies must be convinced that demand is there before hiring and that may take some time.

His comments about the payments industry are based on his experience as an early investor in American Express in 1964. He was attracted to the company because of its positioning and their marketing, which included a green card with a centurion icon, which he described as something akin to looking like “Mr. Integrity.” Buffett said that he was convinced that cardholders preferred pulling out a card that “made it look you were J.P. Morgan or something.” That drove the merchant demand – and acceptance – for the product.

Buffett cited the lessons of his American Express experience in building a success business: give the customer what they want. The American consumer - Buffett says, is king. He goes on to say, “You can push them around for a week or a month maybe, but you either figure out what’s in your customers’ mind and decide you are going to serve them; or you are not going to be in business. They are right, and you are wrong. It’s what made this country, to some extent, what it is. No one who has ever taken good care of a customer has lost.” Buffett suggested that this consumer preference is what “keep people pulling out a card” rather than taking advantage of the other options that have emerged recently to replace magnetic stripe cards.

The interview and transcript can be found at PYMNTS.com, an online media channel that captures user-generated and expert-driven commentary, information, news and analysis on “what’s next” in the payments sector, worldwide. The site provides a platform for industry professionals to share content related to their latest company and product developments, to tap into the collective commentary and analysis from experts, bloggers and industry pundits, and to interact with industry thought leaders and other influentials on topics of critical importance to the future of the sector. PYMNTS.com is a joint venture between Business Wire and Market Platform Dynamics.

For information on the PYMNTS.com editorial calendar for upcoming topics being featured on PYMNTS.com, please contact editorial@PYMNTS.com

You can also subscribe to receive the daily PYMNTS.com newsletter at subscribe@PYMNTS.com

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For information the PYMNTS.com portal contact us info@PYMNTS.com

About Market Platform Dynamics (MPD):

MPD is a management consulting firm that ignites catalyst businesses by leveraging new technologies, business models and pricing strategies. MPD has a wealth of experience within industries that are characterized by complex platform-centered ecosystems, including payments, mobile/telecoms, digital and advertising-supported media, and software-based businesses.

MPD works with both incumbents and new entrants, offering a unique lens into the dynamics that shape the competitive playing field. In addition to traditional consulting-based services, MPD’s Catalyst Ventures provides intellectual and human capital to new firms. MPD’s experts include economists, econometricians, product development specialists, and strategic marketers who apply cutting-edge business theory and statistical methods to the practical problems of building and growing a profitable catalyst business. MPD is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and has offices in London and Hong Kong.

For more information visit www.marketplatforms.com.

About The Lydian Roundtable

The Lydian Roundtable is an annual closed door summit of ~50 senior executives in the payments sector. The Roundtable was established in 2004 by Market Platform Dynamics as a way for those at the heart of decision-making in the space to assemble and discuss the issues that will shape its future. Unusual in its format, everyone invited is a participant in the day-long discussion, with panels and panel moderators focusing the discussion throughout the day. The Roundtable is invitation only and closed to press and media.

This year, the Lydian Roundtable launched PYMNTS.com, the partnership between Business Wire and Market Platform Dynamics to create a dynamic new media channel serving the payments sector. A key feature of PYMNTS.com is the Lydian Payments Journal which is an online journal focused exclusively on the global payments sector.

About Business Wire

Business Wire, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is utilized by tens of thousands of member companies and organizations worldwide to functionally enhance and communicate investor relations and public relations content to target audiences. As a recognized disclosure service in the United States, Canada and a dozen European countries, Business Wire facilitates the simultaneous flow of market-moving press releases from corporations to financial markets and their audiences, including regulatory authorities, media, investors, financial information systems and consumer news services. Business Wire also handles XBRL tagging, document formatting and regulatory filing into EDGAR, SEDAR, FSA and other systems.

Communications professionals turn to Business Wire to optimize and issue press releases, photos and multimedia to news organizations, journalists, trade publications, search engines, and individuals, with full-text posting to web sites, online services and databases. A range of distribution options enables members to target by geography, industry, news theme and audience demographics.

Founded in 1961, Business Wire has dual headquarters in San Francisco and New York, with 30 bureaus in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Paris, Frankfurt, London, Brussels, Tokyo, Toronto and Sydney and reciprocal offices throughout the world. Business Wire's patented NX data platform supports XML, XHTML and XBRL code that enhances news release interactivity, social media sharing and search engine optimization. More information about Business Wire and its services is located on its website at www.BusinessWire.com.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6076817&lang=en


Market Platform Dynamics
Jonathan Summey, Senior Editor, 617-374-1336
EVP, New Media
Market Platform Dynamics
Karen Webster, President, 617-374-1330
Business Wire
Laura Sturaitis, SVP, +1-800-770-WIRE (9473)

Multimedia Files:

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PYMNTS.com -- a new online payments industry portal launches (Graphic: Business Wire)
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