The pinnacle for most Berkshire shareholders during the annual meeting is hearing from Warren Buffett himself. Buffett's known for his thriftiness and making a good deal. That's exactly what one local entrepreneur is doing as well this weekend.
Think back to 1995 around the time when ‘E-Bay’ was created -- an online auction site to buy and sell things. Now, nearly 20 years later, a similar but new concept has sprung up, it's called Couchsurfing.org. On it, users can logon to an account like ‘E-Bay,’ and users are rated and can access a user profile but instead of selling or buying things online, they can search for someone's couch to crash on.
Local businessman, Chris Miller says he's used the site for the past two years during the Berkshire weekend and says the site puts a new spin on an old tradition.
Jim Kreikemeier's 6,000 square foot home in the Bemis Park Neighborhood will hold 6 different couples for the weekend, who will rent from him at a price. "It's really nice; you get to meet people from all over the country. It works out really well for us," Kreikemeier said.
But across the city, Miller is going about hosting people a different sort of way, for free. "Rather than having some stay at the Hilton in Downtown Omaha, they can stay at my house, five blocks away from Warren. Here, I can show them all the cool, local spots and that way they can leave with a better impression of Omaha."
The way Miller played host this weekend, Couchsurfing.org,an online community of fellow travelers looking for a free place to stay.
Miller says the idea is not only about lending out your couch for the weekend but also immersing your guests into the local scene. A fellow surfer and Buffett admirer himself, Miller says he thinks even Bufffett would be proud of the idea. "The most expensive part of me traveling is always my hotel costs, well with couch surfing dot org it's zero dollars. I think if warren was in our shoes he would do the same thing and use couch surging dot org for free,” Miller said.
Miller also talked about the safety concerns with using this site. "You have to do your own due diligence and just you have to a lot of build up work to be able to stay with someone and you have to build up your ranking." Miller says he plans on using the site to find somewhere to stay when he flies overseas in the near future.