Davos: It’s just crazy

2012-02-03 07:14

There were times where you can be in a room with five presidents, some central bank governors, a contagion of ministers and business leaders of multi-billion dollar organisations. That is Davos.

I had never thought myself to be quite so susceptible to star gazing, but there were moments where I was truly dumbfounded to silence. Sitting up straight, looking normal and uttering the appropriate word here and there was as much as I could do at times. Perhaps I will do better next time.

The platform and opportunity presented at Davos is quite extraordinary. After all the big shots, there is actually a hive of extraordinarily well-informed people, experts in the various sometimes strange industries.

One of the most interesting sessions was about Games and the new engagement economy consisting of the 1 billion gamers around the world. The effort put in by gamers in the world today is astonishing. Say it took about 100 million hours to produce the whole of Wikipedia. Players of games like Angry Birds put in that time in just 3 weeks, of in the game Call of Duty, that is achieved in just 7 days. So imagine if games are the most effective way to capture wide scale human participation and effort?

And it is proving so. The game Ground Crew is the real life version of Farmville and after playing it, a community garden that had only 4 volunteers before, suddenly had 400 people volunteering. In research on HIV/AIDS there was a focus on how proteins are formed when people have the virus and researchers have been on this for some 10 years.

Then came the game Fold It is about the formation of protein molecules and the problem/algorithm that has troubled researchers was solved my gamers, who were not scientists, in just 10 days.

While the week is just exhausting, it’s with great anxiety that I prepare to say goodbye to Davos.

Not sure how real life works out after this. Breakfast with the President of Ethiopia; lunch next to Trevor Manual, Alec Hogg, Zanele Mbeki and Maria Ramos; breakfast with Muhtar Kent CEO of Coca-Cola and Yuri Milner the tech investor behind Facebook, Twitter, Zynga and a string of others; a panel with Muhammed Yunus and Klaus Schwab; meeting and befriending some amazing people …pretty hard to top.

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