As the great Davos conflab nears its end I can honestly say it’s been a fantastic experience - despite what a group of jaded journalists led me to believe on the train ride from Zurich.
While I've watched some impressive guests including Bill Clinton, Bill Gates and Jacob Zuma, it’s the more offbeat aspects of the week that stick most in my mind.
On entering the airport-style security checkpoint on my first day, I witnessed an engineer attempting to fit a set of TV flood lights into the X-ray scanner at the request of a stern-looking policeman. A CNN colleague later told me she was asked to send four freshly-baked pizzas through the same scanner as she returned on a lunch run.
Not really sure what kind of security risk hot chillies provide.
Once inside the fortified congress center I was ushered down to the basement where CNN's "work area" was located. The musty, green-colored room almost had me running back towards the glamorous ski resort I arrived at.
To make matters worse, the local fire brigade was called on my final day here to help stem the tide of waste water from the nearby toilet seeping into our bunker.
But that’s life in the field.
In between filing stories I decided I would also "tweet" during my time here. Perhaps it was the lack of oxygen in the bunker but I quickly became obsessed with what "celebrities" at Davos were tweeting.
It may be no surprise that Twitter's young co-founder was using his own service. But I was still interested to learn what preoccupied Evan Williams during a debate about the future of social media with fellow Silicon Valley bigwigs. Between questions he tweeted: "About to do my Davos panel in jeans and tennies. @unitedairlines says we might see our luggage tomorrow."
I thought the "geek chic" look was intentional.
In any event you’ll be glad to know Evan was reunited with his luggage the following day.
I also learned the glamorous Queen Rania of Jordan was diligently keeping her followers in the loop about her trip. "Scarf: check. Gloves: check. Warmest coat: check. Secret hand warmers: check. I’m ready for the World Economic Forum at Davos," she tweeted shortly after arriving.
Bill Gates was also a prolific tweeter… And so my obsession went on.
I'm not sure exactly how much rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding was done at Davos this year, but I would certainly endorse its value as a spectacle.
Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – A great deal can unfold in the span of 24 hours in Davos. That certainly was the case on the issue of banking regulation. The annual meeting of the forum opened with a panel of financiers pulling out their crystal balls for 2010/11. One in particular stood out, Bob Diamond, CEO of Barclays, who takes issue on the effort by the Obama administration to separate out or govern proprietary trading by banks who collect deposits. He says it will stifle innovation and the economic recovery.
French President Nicholas Sarkozy was on the other end of the financial spectrum and sounded like he wants to ban market making forces altogether. Again President Obama made it a central issue of his State of the Union address, right along job creation. The news cycle was rounded out when Diamond came on CNN today sounding almost like a statesman when he noted, “creating an environment conducive to economic growth and job creation is critical.”
One needs to read between the lines here. These power players are marking their turf. Diamond did not borrow money from G-7 governments to get bailed out during the crisis – he took investments from Middle East sovereign funds in Qatar and Abu Dhabi instead. As a result, he feels freer to speak his mind about what banking might be faced with after the high profile bonuses being paid out in the shadow of the worst downturn in 60 years.
As one high profile banker said to me before we took the stage on a plenary session, don’t forget these ideas have to become law. The banking sector is already marshalling forces against such a move – as the multi-trillion dollar showdown gets underway.
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