Dispatches from Davos 2020: Bring on the night, where the real deals get done

Our man in Davos - Tom Patterson, chief trust officer at Unisys - talks diversity and the night when the deals get done at the WEF.

By day Davos is amazing, but as the sun drops below the alps, the air gets decidedly colder, and the slush on the streets turns back to ice, the town is transformed into a party town. Store fronts that went from quaint shops to corporate branding houses, turn down the lights and turn on the music at night. Davos by night is something else. But first, some highlights from the last couple of days along the Promenade.

While only about a quarter of all WEF attendees are women, they are well represented on the panels. The talks from female leadership in industry, governments, finance, and technology was inspiring for all attendees.

On Monday the Caspian house panel on sustainable development goals (SDGs) was all female, and covered important topics across education, health, and climate among the 17 critical UN sectors.

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On Tuesday, at the meeting of the world’s top cyber futurists, female cyber leaders from across the globe came together at the Schatzalp. 1000 feet above Davos, they committed to building cyber capabilities for today and long into the future.

On Wednesday at the Equality Lounge, the group created a place ‘where we all belong’ to advance equality together. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon keynoted a great talk to a largely female audience that focused on empowerment, taking risks, rising to the top, with many of the attendees wearing custom scarves given out to highlight strong female leadership among the attendees this year.

Now to the parties, of all sorts. The cold chill of the outside quickly gave way to a host of parties. Security at the doors switched into greeters, beckoning people into the warmth of heat, colours, food, music and drink. The majority of the food was sustainably farmed and locally sourced, and quite delicious, but that led to many a comment on the same appetisers being served at every party.

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There were book parties, and issue parties. I participated on a panel discussing cyber norms around the world at a bar filled with hundreds of happy (and warm) drinkers. But mostly there were parties just for party’s sake.

The Wall Street Journal party was one of the more lively so far, with a ball room at the Belvédère Hotel packed with people jamming to a DJ. Just upstairs from the dance floor was a much calmer social lounge complete with its own bar and food service. While there wasn’t much networking going on downstairs, the ‘spirit of Davos’ made for quick connections and fast friends.

Thursday and Friday nights are typically the biggest of the party nights, and judging from the invitations floating around, everything from pop stars and presidents to CEOs and crooners will be entertaining the delegates as they celebrate their successful Davos 2020.

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Davos by night is something to behold, and something not to be missed. With dozens of parties to choose from every night, and invitations easy to come by for anyone with a badge, it’s an important component of the Davos experience. While the parties ran late into the night, the panels still started early Thursday morning.

I’m on a New York Stock Exchange panel this morning, so look for that summary dispatch tomorrow, when I recap the full week of Davos 2020!

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World Economic Forum