I flew into Zurich this morning for the World Economic Forum and it was dark grey, rainy and dreary. This is my 10th Davos and I’ve never seen this kind of depressing weather. Usually it is cold, clear or cold and snowy. Today, the temperature was unusually warm. Good thing global warming is a big agenda item at the conference.
We drove for about 1 1/2 hours then hit the mountains. Switzerland is a land of tunnels and as we came out of the last one nearest Davos, we emerged into white. There was a heavy snow falling. As we drove into the tiny village, the streets were deep in snow and all the equipment was out trying to clear paths for cars and people.
I did what nearly everyone does these days—checked into my hotel and launched my laptop (that Dell that survived a night in the hold flying from Bangalore to NYC). It wouldn’t connect to the wireless
network. I called the "help" desk in India. after 18 minutes, she gave up. I tried another person in India (these calls are free in the US but I have to pay full fair in Switzerland), he said the computer needed dexihexi--something that means numerals--for a password. The one the hotel gave me was all letters. I went down, told them and the hotel internet manager came over an hour later and fixed it. He said to just try it and I said don't leave and--it worked!
It looks like the WEF 08 just began as I'm typing this with an enormous 75 basis point interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve. The stock markets around the world crashed last week and on Monday when the US markets were closed. There was real fear of a global financial meltdown that could lead to a worldwide economic downturn. So this is good news, if not late in coming. The Fed rate cut will be topic No. 1 tomorrow as the conference opens. All the talk of "decoupling" of the European economies from the US now seems moot. The stock markets are linked. So too the real economies.
I have a 9AM workshop on innovation and I have to go now to rehearse. When the World Economic Forum was putting together its agenda, innovation was the obvious theme for the year. The Power of Collaborative Innovation is the official theme. The unofficial theme, however will be recession and what to do to stave it off. Is it too late?
More important--will people come to my workshop tomorrow morning? Just kidding.
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