Final Thoughts from Davos

Friday was a strong day, with the opening two breakfast meetings being about the upcoming Copenhagen Climate Change meeting in December, and then about how ICT can help. I pushed that we should be establishing a common website for posting proof statements, and that we just need to be cognizant that NO ONE trusts industry right now. So even with the best of proofs, we’ll need clear systemic analysis or it will be very tough. Example, let’s say Microsoft sets up a video conferencing center. A million air miles are saved. Prove it! In fact, what is happening today is that many NGOs are criticizing Microsoft’s ‘excessive’ data center power usage which is increased by video conferencing.

There is a strong sense that companies have not engaged and our voices are mute…save Jeff Immelt from GE who is driving the US Climate Action Partnership. The other sense from the morning meetings is that no one can really work through the politics that the developed countries put the CO2 in the air and the developing economies are saying…”Don’t tell me to diminish my growth because you were careless with yours”. This will not solve easy.

Just a normal afternoon session sitting next to Al Gore and debating the best approach to dealing with power generation in Africa…ho hum. He is very deliberate with his words and had a great way of pushing by asking questions.

Met another Young Global Leader pushing his company (two years old) . Geez, these guys are impressive. His idea was to use your cell phone to take pictures of what you eat, then have the computer do all of the work to determine food groups and calories. It knows your health profile, and sends you (and if you release the data) your doctor daily/weekly/monthly summaries.

At the end of the meeting, a gentleman handed me his card and said that he was a major player in delivering health care in Bulgaria. He said he would very much like to meet with Intel and would be eager to help us establish ourselves in the Eastern European market. A Davos moment; could not have been planned, might even help us…who knows?

Dinner was listening to Jim Rogers (Duke Energy), Al Gore (again), and Gordon Brown (PM, England). Then a debate at the table with the Energy Minister of Denmark, the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Sir David King who runs Oxford University’s college on the environment, and the largest energy producer in Switzerland.

My Chief of Staff FORCED me to go to the Google party, where I met the CEO of Facebook, chatted with Larry Page and his CFO (Page was just back from being pitched to purchase a $40M ticket to the space station), Shai Agassi, Gore (again…), the first woman to reach the South Pole, and the technical advisor to the Prime Minister of Japan. Kind of like watching TV at home, but different.

Saturday was a quick hour on how to best communicate to young Africans on the dangers and proper actions to prevent AIDS (anonymous SMS messaging best so far, ~2000 questions a month), and someone is working on timing special encouragement to those at risk within 30 minutes of bars closing.

Intel Chairman Craig Barrett hosted an education forum where the audience was especially appreciative of his many years of leadership. It was nice for those of us from Intel to witness, and also sad for us to think about life at Intel after Craig.

My last meeting was lunch with the PM of Japan. While leaving, I told Carlos Ghosn that I had great respect for how he has turned Nissan into a powerhouse with product, brand, culture, and intellect. He still didn’t offer me a new Infinity.

All in all, a very productive, if sobering, five days of meetings and exchanges of ideas. Hope to be back next year.