He and Welch had an odd exchange on the phone:
BUFFETT: Jack, our shoe companies – sales have been a little slow – and I remember very well that you were a star salseperson for Thom McAnn. In fact, many people think your career peaked when you were selling shoes, but, we've got a lot of purple shoes to sell, and as I remember, you've got some ideas about how to do that. Would you explain that to me please?
WELCH: Just up the commission.
BUFFETT: Tell me how you really did it when those women were coming in and you were getting a nickel for black shoes and 25 cents for purple shoes.
WELCH: I was able to have more drive and incentive, and incentives drive all kinds of behavior, Warren, as you know well.
BUFFETT: But, tell me what you told those women!
WELCH: I don't recall.
BUFFETT: Well, I think you told me that if they were in purple shoes, men would look at them from miles away, but if they kept wearing those black shoes, which they were only paying a nickel on, they were going to have real trouble.
WELCH: I didn't remember that, but that could have been true.
BUFFETT: You were well known for that at Thom McAnn, and it was the beginning of a fantastic career, Jack.
WELCH: Warren, I love you.
That was the extent of Warren Buffett's call in. A video of the exchange is on CNBC's website >
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