My Notes From Davos 2011

Sorry for the long post. Here are my quick, random takeaways from this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. I hope you find this helpful...

1) European leaders felt activist, energetic, and up to the task of cleaning up their economies. David Cameron, prime minister of the UK, came off as decisive and vital. He's got a vision (make Britain more competitive, balance the budget, revive the country's export economy), and he's hell-bent to get there. I found him refreshing after the fuzziness of American politicians. Sarkozy of France and Medvedev of Russia also came off as forceful, opinionated leaders. Sarkozy was defending the euro ("We will never, ever let it fail") and kicking the bankers. Medvedev was soliciting investment in Russia...

2) The media cognoscenti believe the final nail in the coffin of newspapers will be local advertising going online. Believe it or not, that nail may be pounded by AOL...

3) When you meet a former president of the United States, don't make the mistake of calling him by his informal first name...you'll get a dirty look. Remember, it's "Mr. President."

4) Two years ago the negative nabobs of Davos were predicting double dips and potential depression. The elite love to draw straight lines -- they presume that whatever is happening now will happen tomorrow. So almost nobody saw the recovery of the past 18 months.

5) Paranoia about China was seeping out of the walls. Unlike in years past, the Chinese were much in evidence -- lots of press from China and a sprinkling of government ministers and businesspeople. As one Chinese executive said to me: "...1.2 billion consumers means something." More about this in my next post...

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What Should This Year's "Davos Question" Be?

It's that time of year again -- off to Davos to hang around with people who are way more important than me...

But I need your help. I like to ask everyone I meet at WEF one simple question. Think of it as a mini-survey that gets answered by a cross-section of the business, political, artistic, and altruistic leaders of the world. 

Two years ago I asked everyone: "When will the worldwide recession end?" The results were pretty accurate...

What do you think this year's question should be? I'd love to get your ideas. And if I use your question I'll make sure to give you attribution when I post the results back here.

Thanks in advance!!