1. It’s a good time to catch up with friends. Most of the attendees have full schedules. They’re at the top of their game, whether in the corporate, non-profit, or government worlds. Most of their close friends tend to share the same high-intensity, obsessive personality traits, partly because like attracts like and partly because these traits are prerequisites to climbing up the power ladder and thus moving in the same social circles. So, trying to coordinate schedules to spend personal time with friends is difficult, if not impossible. Davos is the coordinating point.
  2. It’s close to the Peak Event for young professional grinders who want that extra line on their resume and accompanying status boost. Rise and grind, kings. Many are ambivalent about the whole compassion and help the world thing, but will mouth the words if they feel it will increase their chances at belonging in elite social circles.
  3. Companies and individuals have the chance to broadcast their new products and vision to influencers and also quickly rack up dozens of meetings over the course of a few days that would otherwise take years to coordinate. That’s mostly what Davos is. A business forum.
  4. Governments are able to interface with other governments in person. Always valuable.

The value of Davos has very little to do with the "themes" of the conference.  Instead, the value is the ability to efficiently conduct global business. 

Davos is now primarily a huge, high-level business conference, in which senior executives from the world's largest companies take advantage of their physical proximity to meet in person with partners and clients and would-be clients--meetings that can end up being vastly more valuable than the price of admission.

Where else can you take a single plane flight and meet with the CEOs of dozens of global companies that buy tens of millions of dollars worth of your products and services every year? 

And while you're here, of course, you can also meet with senior officials in countries you're doing business in, and regulators, and so on. And you can also speak on a panel, which most of the big corporate sponsors do, and increase your visibility and authority on a topic that is important to your organization. 

And, if you want, you can take a break from meetings and step into a conference session to hear some interesting people say some interesting things about topics everyone agrees are important (if incidental).

So that's why everyone keeps coming to Davos: Because it's great for business. And that's why the World Economic Forum has built such an amazing $185 million-a-year business that is centered around a single business conference.  Because no one else can get so many high-level people to visit one tiny town at the same time year-after-year-after-year.  And global corporations will happily pay through the nose for that.

Add new comment