January 31st, 2009
11:50 AM GMT
DAVOS, Switzerland – My grandmother always warned me about "too much of a good thing". I used to think she was being mean not wanting me to gorge myself on cakes, biscuits, and candies. Only tooth cavities later did I realise the wisdom of her words...
Too much of a good thing is dangerous thing. It's the same at Davos. After three days of walking around this congress center, my head is spinning at the sheer number of "world" dignitaries with whom I have rubbed shoulders.
Today's crop included the Secretary General of the U.N., the Head of UNICEF, the presidents of Israel and Mongolia (not at the same time!) a "hello" with the CEO of Coca Cola, a handshake with Bill Gates and an interview with Prince Andrew. Phew.
As the WEF 2009 enters its final days, delegates head home having heard from the horse's mouth about how bad the situation is and the options on the table for putting it right.
Government ministers compared notes on stimulus plans, bankers discussed their lending problems, industrialists bemoaned the lack of markets.
It is fashionable at this point to declare, usually in ringing tones, that Davos is a talking shop of no real value and that I won't come back again. To anyone who says this (with the possible exception of the Turkish prime minister) the only response is "rubbish." There is no single event in the world that gives you as much access to as many important people in a relatively relaxed atmosphere.
Davos succeeds because it is unique. You couldn't invent it, and certainly couldn't replicate it today.
But "get real" Richard.
The key is to remember when it's time to leave. I don't normally mix in these circles and I shall return from whence I came. I have enjoyed hobnobbing with the world elite, but now it's time to go home. Grandma would be proud. I have remembered... too much of a good thing.
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