It’s nearly 6PM Davos time and the heaviest night of parties is about to begin, culminating in the big Google bash at the Kirchner Museum. I’m not a CEO, editor-in-chief, NGO mogul, movie celeb, prime minister or high ranking member of the Bush Administration so I’m not invited to all the parties tonight. But I try and pull my weight. Here are the ones I might attend, if I can stay awake: Infosys, Schwab Foundation’s Social Entreprenuers for 2005, Goldman Sachs, Coca-Cola, Wall Street Journal…Hmm.. There are more but I can’t find the invites. You get the picture.
Fact is, the cocktail parties are just a condensed version of the incredible density of networking and ideation going on in Davos. You sit down and talk to people you could never meet ordinarily and attend sessions to talk about things you would never be able to discuss. Bill Gates gave a remarkable talk about education this morning. Who knew he was actively working with 1500 high schools in the US, trying to reinvent education? That’s a significant percentage of all US high schools.
I went to an amazing session on convergence that had Motorola’s Ed Zander, MTV’s Michael Wolf, AMD’s Hector de J. Ruiz and Silver Lake Technology’s Glenn Hutchins. Here are some tidbits. The communities around MySpace and Facebook are bigger than Google today, according to Hutchins. Zander said Motorola designed and made the Razr for the Oscars originally, as a cool marketing thing. “We had no intention of productizing the Razr…” he said. But the response was so great, they did. Go Ed, but what’s with the word “productizing?” Also—Dolce & Gabana of Sex and the City fame ordered 1000 gold-painted Razrs and sold them out, according to Zander.
Younger audiences want smaller screens—iPods, cells, portable playstations, while older people want bigger screens. Smaller screens mean mobility which means daytime becomes primetime for content producers. Think about that TV and Hollywood folks.
Of course, running into people can prove problematic. I was talking with someone from Harvard over coffee and realized that we were sharing the table with Rem Koolhaas. So I did a Davosian thing and extended my hand and introduced myself. He stared and blinked and we talked about the Pioneering Cities session he was going to attend. Then he jumped up and practically ran away.
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