I suppose we shouldn't have been surprised given the theme for Davos this year was the Fourth Industrial Revolution. No sooner had we arrived than we went to the local Church, which had been turned into a Temple of Tech, to hear a series of interviews put on by TechCrunch. TechCrunch Mike's claim to fame was that he was the only person at Davos wearing a leather jacket (Kevin was later to declare his allegiance with "The Jumper").
It was a popular event and very short of space. So much so that in our eagerness to get a front row seat, we almost knocked a chap off the bench. When he rose to take the stage as the first speaker we realised that he was the President of Wikipedia, "Jimmy Wales". He spoke very passionately about the use of Wikipedia in the education of children around the world. Wiki is currently trying to get itself translated into Zulu! He also told us about a socially responsible mobile phone company called The People's Operator. By forsaking advertising fees it charges the same as other providers but donates 25% of fees to a charity of YOUR choice. We should all check that out.
Next up was Arianna Huffington who urged all FinTechers to get more sleep as well as saying the Huff post had relegated Donald Trump to the Entertainment section.
The highlight of this session for us was Ann Cairns (President of International Marketing, Markets for MasterCard).There was a degree of tension in the air when TransferWise founder, Taavet Hinrikus alleged that he was not playing in the same talent pool as the big organisations as they were not looking for staff who had previously worked in "Canary Wharf". Was that nice? More importantly, is that right? Ann responded by telling us about the Fintech businesses they were supporting and those that MasterCard had acquired. She invited Taavet to become one of them. He was having none of that! Gloves off...
This was only the warm up act for the hottest gig in town (well snowy little village anyway). The Innovate Finance FinTech Nightcap. We were delighted to see a number of Innovate Finance members there. We spoke to a few people who will probably be Innovate Finance members by Monday if Janine Hirt has anything to do with it. We chatted to a number of you and heard about the issues that you are finding challenging. You won't be surprised to hear that regulation was top of most people's list. You told us about some key areas where we think we collectively need to seek a change in regulation.
We found a connection with everyone we met at Davos. Maybe it's the combination of the cold and the creativity of attendees that makes everything seem possible at Davos. That's what makes it special.
We are hoping to encourage Lawrence and Al to the make the next step New York.