The Bummer Of Davos…

Is that nearly every session I attended where I got that unmistakable "Shit I have to post on this" feeling was, unfortunately, off the record. Last night Larry and Sergey sat down with Charlie Rose for an intimate chat at a private event. Off the record. Before that I…

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Is that nearly every session I attended where I got that unmistakable “Shit I have to post on this” feeling was, unfortunately, off the record. Last night Larry and Sergey sat down with Charlie Rose for an intimate chat at a private event. Off the record. Before that I spoke to a room full of Media Governors – the folks who run just about every major media company in the world. Off the record. Before that, a gathering of influential editors and journalists from all over the globe. Again, off the record.

You’ll have to trust me that the insights, conversations, and information I gathered will certainly inform the musings I post here. I just can’t be specific to the who, what, and where. Stay tuned…

UPDATE: Lots of comments take me and the WEF to task, and I need to clarify. Most of Davos was in fact on the record, I was noting that the stuff where I found the most insights tended to be off the record. And I am investigating whether some of what I heard was in fact subject to looser “Chatham House” rules where just the speaker cannot be identified. Overall, I do defend the practice of getting leaders together from time to time in an off the record environment, it allows them to share experiences openly and learn from them. I will be posting more thoughts on all of this over the coming week.

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

9 thoughts on “The Bummer Of Davos…”

  1. So … you get to be in the WEF. You get to listen in on some amazing conversations. And you get to … do very little with this knowledge?! For someone who likes to inform people, this must be a very tough predicament.

    How hard might it be to make a random, unknown blog, and then post some more specific musings there, anonymously? And then … well, never link directly to it of course, but knowing what you do about SEO (or finding an expert), make it rank well all by itself …

    One can dream.

  2. Influential editors and journalists from all over the globe … and THEY want to be kept off the record?

    Glad Ernie Pyle’s not around to see this.

  3. Hey John, are you in Davos? Did you see the current DrudgeReport headline about Google’s regretting its decision about going to China? Due to the issue of censorship there, it turned out to be an error in judgment. It blamed their “Do no evil” as appearing hypocritical what with the governnment censorship issues there. The article also describes the Google 767. Sounds like it is spectacular. Have you been aboard it yet?

    I had looked forward to reading your take on what’s up with the movers and shakers at their annual bash in Davos. The problem of being there under their highly suspect censorship rule is that it suppresses information. It breeds distrust. So, what is the worst that can happen? No invitation next year? Don’t be a potted plant.

  4. That’s funny, I thought the idea that an aristocracy could best determine the fate of the world went out with the nineteenth century.

    I think the people at Davos really are brilliant, and they really are influential. But by failing to dare to share their insights with the world at large, they perpetuate a system where the “little people” are kept out of the dialog about the great ideas and problems of our time. It self-reinforces the power, connections, and privilege that this group of mega-wealthy people already have.

    As a journalist, it’s your _job_ to inform people about the big news in the world. Posting about how you have access to insight that we will never hear borders on what I consider to be a journalistic sin.

    Sorry if it seems so harsh, but a post that tells us how cool it is you got to learn all this neat stuff and how much better it will make your blog comes across as a little crass.

  5. How fascinating. Please tell, pleeeeease! I’m on the edge of my seat.

    Actually on second thoughts, don’t. Was it something along the lines of – new media is really new and disruptive, and wow those chinese people are producing a lot of goods, and people who don’t adapt in this new global age will lose out to those who do, and this is the age of people power, and we need to show leadership, trust and…

    Honestly, your idea of what really needs to be written about may not be a great barometer, but pretending that it’s top secret is, I grant you, probably the best way of packaging it.

  6. This post convinced me that I don’t need your feed anymore. And I do not think my company will be hiring you in the future either. We have enough “secrets” in politics, let alone it seeping into journalism. Even that is not as bad as actually writing about “nah nah I know something you don’t know.” Childish and professionally awkward at best.

    Enjoy being part of the annual elite bash called Davos. But not at the expense of the masses.

    Good bye and good luck!

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