I thought everyone would enjoy a little bit of a travel update! Fresh back from Vancouver, I’m headed to the Middle East shortly for the Young Global Leaders Dead Sea Summit. Earlier this year I was nominated as a YGL (press release here) alongside some pretty impressive individuals from all sectors, geographies and walks of life. Humbling to say the least. Having been to Davos and some of the other WEF events, I think I have a pretty good idea of what to expect"“ but am looking forward to this opportunity to meet new people, have stimulating conversations and see another part of the world, big time.
So, what do you do in Amman, Jordan? Float on my back in the salty Dead Sea? Not so sure. I’ll be making a day trip to Petra but otherwise my plate is pretty full with the pre-arranged sessions and activities. Anything bloggable and on the record I’ll be sure to share. Neighbored by Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Israel, I’m naturally looking into a visit to some of the surrounding countries if time (and security) permit. What should I do?
One of the best panels at Davos was The Future of Mobile Technology, a casual discussion with a star studded lineup of panelists. SK Telecom CEO Kim Shin-Bae, Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Sony CEO (and funnest guy ever) Sir Howard Stringer, NBC’s Jeff Zucker, and China Mobile CEO Wang Jianzhou.
A couple of interesting (and some mind blowing) things:
- China Mobile adds 6 million subscribers a month to its base of 317 Million. An audience member asked if they had plans to expand outside China, and Mr Wang essentially answered, why — there’s a long way to go in China. SMS is bread and butter to them, on New Years day users sent more than 5 billion text messages.
- SK Telecom also owns a record label, advertising agency, and several other Korean assets. They’re incredibly integrated.
- Google’s Eric Schmidt is always interesting to hear — he’s calm and calculated. He discussed Google’s Android a bit, and thinks advertising on mobile will reach a tipping point over the next few years.
- Hilarious and fun-loving Sony CEO and Chairman Sir Howard Stringer (I had dinner with him the night before) joked when someone asked him about the new Sony OLED screens, that “making a profit on consumer electronics is one of our goals.” They’re suffering a tough time across many of their businesses.
- It was very surprising to hear no discussion of health concerns around mobile devices, and when I asked FCC Chairman Kevin Martin about it — he misunderstood my question thinking I was asking about using mobile technology FOR health benefits. Funny.
I did my best to make it to the Al Gore and Bono session at 7:45 AM, but when word leaked out that it was packed to the brim, I stayed in my Swiss bungalow for some much needed recuperation from a long day yesterday. Right after the session, the U2 front man, and do-gooder popped by the YouTube booth to answer the Davos question (see his response here). The best part is Robert Scoble in the background staring in awe as he live streams at the same time, and Bono starting with a “hello, my name is Bono and I am a rock star, sort of…” I’ll spare the name dropping, but this is one incredible group of attendees.
I’ve snuck into the JP Morgan Chase lounge for some snacks, quiet internet time, email checking, twittering, blogging and the like with pal and green crusader (and trouble maker) David de Rothschild from Adventure Ecology. If you don’t know what he’s up to, check it out.
I sat in on an interesting panel called the Sustainable Consumer with a bunch of people, most notably Richard Edelman (interesting to see his top google hit is his apology for a fake Pro Walmart blog his company launched) , and Jeffrey Swartz (CEO of Timberland). Incredibly interesting to hear the passion of folks like this who want to put sustainability at the forefront of communication. One thing that came out of the panel for me was the importance of developing ‘standards’ for what eco, green, sustainable and so on, really actually mean. What does saving 1 Kilowatt of energy look like? How about 2 tons of carbon. There’s a long way to go though on all levels. Back to the sessions, follow me on Twitter.
After several hours of planes, trains, and automobiles I arrived late last night into the snowed in Ã¼ber famous town of Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum. Boy is it gorgeous and hectic here. The air is cold, security is tight, bullet proof Mercedes are plentiful, and the opening parties so far, quite good. I’m kicking off my day today bright and early with a CNBC debate entitled “Who’s in Charge?” moderated by Maria Baritromo with panelists like Ibrahim Dabdoub, the CEO of the National Bank of Kuwait, Nandan M Nilekani from Infosys, and the famed (and apparently very nice) George Soros, who just walked past me as I write this!
I’ll be doing my best to live blog throughout the day, but in the mean time feel free to follow me on Twitter. Note to self, Swiss outlets are not European outlets. Must find charger asap!