I arrived in Davos last night and headed straight into the FT dinner on Collaborative Partnership Models (do we need to work together more to get out of this mess), a CNBC dinner (you are never knowingly underfed here) and then a bloggers nightcap at which Jeff Jarvis (here’s his review of the trust session)and Robert Scoble were entering as I was leaving. And this morning at 7.30am I was presenting a summary of the Trust Barometer with Richard Edelman. This is my first pause for thought since arriving and as a three year veteran of this get-together there are some differences immediately apparent.
Ties. Traditionally no-one wears ties here and in fact in earlier years, the Forum apparently ran a scheme whereby if you turned up at a session in a tie you had it cut off. Not now. Davos 09 is serious business and the people who are here want it to be serious and be seen as being serious (I guess to colleagues and shareholders as much as the world in general). And so ties seem more appropriate than the usual business casual. To be fair, most of the middle aged businessman here actually look much better in formal business attire than they do in chinos and sweaters, but that’s another thing.
There is an earnestness to get down to the main point at hand fast. What needs to be done to get the world economy out of this fix. I was booked in to a session on The New Economic Era only to find it was full when I got to the doors. That would not have been the case last year.
There seems also to be some hesitation in how far people need to look back to learn lessons from what has gone on and how much we should be looking forward. How far should the culprits and the villains of the piece be pilloried and contrition from business (and especially banks) should be shown before we can move on. I sense there is a 50/50 split on that issue and I am glad right now that I am not a banker in this meeting.
More later. On to the CNBC debate.