Dispatches from Davos — Monday morning

In a series of dispatches, I will be sending my thoughts from Davos on the World Economic Forum throughout the week.

Davos Monday morning

The blood moon rising behind the pre-dawn alps this morning was the perfect start to my time in Davos with the World Economic Forum and the Cyber Futures Dialogue 2019 editions just about to begin.

To me, the blood moon’s periodic stellar glamour with a hint of demonic edge is a great metaphor for these events that are about to unfold here in Davos Switzerland this week, with heads of state and CEOs dominating the attendee roles, and the great risks of the world discussed at every turn.

Delegates are arriving in town today by planes, trains, and automobiles, even the occasional horse drawn sleigh, and while public transportation is highly favoured it is seldom used by limo-favouring executives. After seeing a twelve hundred dollar one way quote for a black car service from Zurich, and no Uber or Lyft drivers interested in the trip, I decided on the train for the last leg of my travel.

Transport options were strained.
Transport options were strained.

The locals here are great, but it’s important to learn their language, and I’m not referring to German but rather proper pronunciation. Unlike how American’s are taught by television, Davos is pronounced “da VOSE” and the World Economic Forum initials are not spelled out but pronounced simply as ‘the wef.”

Once here, I quickly put the stories I’d heard of extreme cold, excessive snow, massive crowds, impossible security, and elitist attitudes to rest. Despite news reports last week of avalanches in the area, the streets are clear, the air is crisp, and the people couldn’t be nicer. I’ve found that the public transportation is the great equaliser, sharing my train car this morning with WEF staffers, Swiss soldiers, pensioners, a tech CEO from Europe, and an advance team for an African head of state. Everyone was helpful, sharing ideas for places to eat, things to do, and of course parties to attend. That said, everyone also was focused on what this one week in Davos means, for everyone.

Dispatches from Davos — Monday afternoon

Cyber attacks were identified as a particular risk to the stability of the world by the WEF Global Risk Report 2019. Read here

The welcome parties begin tonight, but the real work of the week starts Tuesday with the kickoff of the separate WEF and Cyber Future Dialogue events. The WEF theme this year is Globalisation 4.0, building on the concept of the fourth industrial revolution driven by digital technology. The Cyber Futures Dialogue will focus on making these 4.0 changes happen understanding that digital without the connectivity of cyberspace is inconsequential and cyberspace without consideration to the cyber risk and security is not impactful.

For the next few days, Davos is the short-term home to over 3000 people that can make a difference in our word. I’m here not only to participate in the dialogues, but as a chief trust officer and a CFF global leadership delegate, to advocate for action. I’ll let you know how it goes, right here, in my series of dispatches from Davos.

Written by Tom Patterson, chief trust officer, Unisys