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Those Davos nights
Piano bars. Drinking. Bobsledding. Karaoke... The World Economic Forum may be ‘committed to improving the state of the world’, but for many, next week’s meeting in Switzerland will mark a priceless networking opportunity, reports Trends.
January 23, 2010 12:04 by Liz Peek
That is one ambition voiced by David Rubenstein, a Davos regular and CEO of private equity giant Carlyle Group, who says “you can meet people in one place that it would take six months to a year to see. You come in contact with a real cross section of the world’s population.”
Rubenstein takes pains to set up a series of meetings ahead of time, in order to maximize his time at Davos. However, most regulars say that some of the best encounters are by chance. One of Hormats’ favorite memories is racing behind a building several years ago to avoid protesters during one especially rowdy session, and bumping into cardiac surgeon Mehmet Oz, who was also hiding out; the two remain good friends.
Real estate magnate Barry Gosin, a Davos devotee and CEO of Newmark Knight Frank, had a similar experience when he found himself singing karaoke one evening with Yo-Yo Ma. Not a night you would soon forget.
Hormats is a veteran, having been to the Forum some 15 times as both a speaker and a member of the audience. He says that WEF founder Klaus Schwab has shown an uncanny knack for scoping out vital issues before they emerge, such as the impact on Europe of the reunification of Germany or how to bring emerging countries into the global economy.
Gosin is also high on the sessions provided by the Forum, which he says give him a broader perspective. “My business tends to be myopic,” he says. “I am interested in meeting smart people and getting a macro picture of the world.” He also claims that the Forum has been helpful as a source of practical information. “In 2004-2005 there was a lot of talk about a real estate bubble,” says Gosin. “That insight, and a session where I heard [eternally pessimistic economist] Nouriel Roubini, are probably why I haven’t bought a piece of property in five years.”