Surviving in Davos

Second day here, I’m now an expert. First day was pretty rough; the distances between meetings are more than one first thinks, and the meetings are not ‘on a grid’. Think about a model where one is always just on the verge of being late, OR, worse, is late. But once one gets the hang of it…the format clearly works. In most any timeslot there are tradeoffs and in the next sessions someone asks if you caught some other session…the “grass must have been greener” is an easy emotion to come to. “You missed the Gates talk?!” The ‘mood’ of the conference is not really obvious. The sessions are very disparate, and divided among policy makers, educators, governments, NGOs, and of course industry leaders. The economic uncertainty has not dominated the conference as much as I thought it might. In fact, the live TV show from here today had the financial gurus pretty sanquine.

The place does not lack for star power. The very first dinner I attended was an eye-opener. Some of the quotes were “I believe he is the only Nobel prize winner in the room” and my personal favorite “When I was the President of Harvard”. Others were more modest; “I run the Finnish fund, we put 15% of the country’s GDP into this every year, and the fund is currently larger than our GDP”…followed by some big number with a B behind it. Other observations “I run John Hopkins University and I’m a personal friend of Andy’s” (I didn’t ask which Andy). Bono walks past with Michael Dell after the photoshoot, and the Duke of York (pictured below) is the gentleman in the background during my YouTube video. I told Mr. Amelio (CEO of Lenovo) that I really liked his new notebook, and wanted one…thin and light, with a solid state drive and a very quick (Intel, of course) processor I’m personal friends with John Swainson, CEO of CA, and it was great just seeing him and catching up, as we always threaten to get together and then don’t.


Weather is stunning. Environment is killer beautiful. Sleep is for the plane ride home, I fear, as I’m certainly not getting any here. Was in a meeting with the queen of Jordon and I now understand why she has a fan club, her work with children is nothing short of inspirational, and her command of the room was obvious. A couple of the sessions were kind of disappointing, and without disparaging any individuals, even in this rarified of environments any number of people answer the question that they wanted to have been asked. Blackberry is the communication vehicle as the conference center hotspot doesn’t extend to the hotel.

Oh, and I got a call that my son really didn’t lock the front door and it was blown open from a windstorm; a neighbor called and asked if he could go over and close the house. It was, I find out, only open all day Monday. I do wonder what is still there. The upside of international travel is the plethora of experience, the downside is one is completely powerless to change the environment that one is not in.

One Response to Surviving in Davos

  1. LadyGreen says:

    Interesting observation: “The ‘mood’ of the conference is not really obvious. The sessions are very disparate, and divided among policy makers, educators, governments, NGOs, and of course industry leaders.”
    This is my first time following Davos and as an online observer I too had the same impression. Perhaps it should be expected from a conference about solving world hunger, so to speak. Personally I find that the most worthwhile conferences, those that truly inspire me to action, have a very palpable ‘mood’ — almost a personality.
    I do wonder what concrete results or actions come from something this grand. I guess getting all these hot shots together can’t hurt…