Spare a thought for billionaires

  • Tim Weber
  • 26 Jan 08, 01:34 AM

At the World Economic Forum one can usually gauge the popularity of a party by checking how many truly rich and famous people crowd the room early on.

I don't mean pre-arranged attendances, like Naomi Campbell's appearance at a party on Wednesday night. Very nice, no doubt, but somewhat fake.

Once again, the Google party on Friday night appears to have won the popularity stakes. Let's not engage in name dropping, but the line-up of top executives in the room was truly impressive. Nearly everybody who was anything (by Davos standards) seemed to be there - with the exception of Bill Gates, but then the Microsoft boss had his own party - running in parallel - to attend to.

At which point, I would ask you to spare a thought for Mr Gates, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and Michael Dell, the boss of Dell Computers.

They, and a few others, are the true corporate stars. They are heroes to the movers and shakers coming to this mountain village during the last week of January.

No, no, I mean it. On Wednesday I felt sorry for Mr Dell, as he tried for 20 minutes to get more than five metres into a room - unable to move for photographers and people trying to shake his hand.

Tonight, the Google boys, Sergey and Larry, were similarly beleaguered at their very own party - ok, I admit it, for a handshake and a few words I joined the crush.

And Bill Gates doesn't fare any better.

Here in Davos, we are all supposed to wear our name badges all the time. They are dangling just above our chests. It's good for security, and helps to spot people you want to talk to. But a few of the famous (but not yet recognisable) participants are trying to dodge this.

I spotted the latest dotcom wunderkind, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, attending the Google party without wearing his badge. The strategy seemed to work, not least because Mr Zuckerberg, at 23, looks as if he's just about to graduate from High School.

And when I saw Larry Page earlier in the day in the Congress Centre, a strategically placed button somewhat obscured the name on his badge.

It may seem naff, but it buys them at least a few hours of normality. Sort of.

Comments   Post your comment

Very good post but look this "Yasuo Fukuda, Prime Minister, Japan and Chair of the forthcoming G8 Hokkaido Toyako Summit told participants in Davos that the G8 summit will focus on setting fair carbon-emission reduction targets for G8 countries. The Prime Minister also presented his Cool Earth Promotion Programme which will establish a new financial mechanism to aid developing countries’ efforts to reduce emissions."

Bloggers like Scoble bring Davos and the people to life with their N95 videos as reported in my blog. Don't let the BBC get left behind! It is great that the geeks who change our everyday life are getting coverage. Why are all the top geeks from the West Coast and not from the Cambridge Cluster or from elsewhere in the UK? How can we changed this? Is this to do with Equity Fingerprints of their companies? Thanks for a "thinking post".

It was a pleasure to touch base with my favourite BBC editor/presenter Nick Gowing at the cocktail organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)on 25th evening. He was as warm and friendly in person as on the TV.We shared a few thoughts about how the Chinese had taken over 80 % of the African textile market and Africa had become an exporter of only raw materials.

  • 4.
  • At 01:39 PM on 28 Jan 2008,
  • Dzingwa Madzima wrote:

And before that, what was Africa exporting to the West?

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