Spare a thought for billionaires
- 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.
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