Saturday, 27 September 2008

A busy day at summer Davos

Saturday was a busy day for me at the "Summer Davos" as the World Economic Forum meeting here in Tianjin, China is know. It started with a technology brainstorm and ended with a presentation by the Chinese leader, Premier Wen JiaBao and a Gala Soiree.

The first session that I attended was on "The Next Wave for the Web" and I led one of the group sessions. We "transported" ourselves to 2015 to imagine what life would be like for different characters. My group got an 87 year old Japanese lady, with family in the USA to play with. It was good fun leading a very lively brainstorm discussion about this, particularly when you have visionary folk like the founder of Wikipedia, the CTO of Cisco and the worlds foremost cybersecurity guru in your team.

Then off to a 20 minute interview with CNBC, where I was interviewed by the CEO of a $multibillion USA security company for a new series where the Chief Exec of a large established company interviews the Chief Exec of an emerging leader in the same industry, in this case McAfee and Garlik, to exchange advice and ideas. It was quite different being interviewed by someone who knows your industry inside out vs a normal presenter and I'll be interested to see the finished result. Apparently it will air on CNBC in Europe and Asia and possibly appear in the business clips that they put on flights too.

Next, straight after lunch I Chaired a panel discussion on Cybersecurity, with panelists including the CEO of the world's leading security company, the CEO of management consulting at Accenture, CTO of a large Swiss security company, CEO of a 10,000 strong global customer service company and the legendary security expert Bruce Schneier, currently Chief Security Technology officer of BT. Quite a panel and quite an exchange of views, with questions from an audience that included a Government Minister, Chief Exec of a telecoms company and many others. However it seemed to go okay, so I could breath easy after it was over.

Then off to a one on one discussion in the area set aside for business partner discussions with the VP of a large security company who expressed an interest in learning more about Garlik to see if there were areas for cooperation.

And finally into the big hall for a presentation and Q&A with the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. The Hall was packed with about 1,000 people, chief executives, entrepreneurs, government ministers from all over the world plus a large group of Party members who were sitting up front. I was sitting next to one of China's top TV news presenters who pointed out all the main Chinese and Hong Kong dignitaries and powerplayers to me. Premier Wen was eloquent (or the translator was anyway) and seemed quite relaxed in the Q&A, raising issues himself and commenting on them in much the same way that most Western leaders would.

The day ended for me at a spectacular Gala Soiree in the Exhibition Centre, where I was seated next to the Chairlady of Mozilla and an MIT professor. Over a thousand guests were seated in front of a massive stage with Chinese dancers, singers, acrobats in amazing costumes. For some reason that I don't understand though we were served Australian steak. So I made my apologies and sneaked off early back to the hotel to ordered myself a chicken sandwich and chips and a nice cup of tea. Ahhhh.....

2 comments:

Citizen Dave said...

"Next, straight after lunch I Chaired a panel discussion on Cybersecurity"

Was there any discussion of the Chinese government's blocking of certain web sites, Skype texts, that kind of thing? What did the audience think?

Tom Ilube said...

Hah! I hadn't thought of that. Interestingly no questions or comment on that issue from the panel or the audience. I should have asked but I was too busy juggling the panel and audience to think of insightful questions myself.