top of page

Davos 2023: Your Guide To Oblivion

Hey,, did you get to go to Davos this year? If not, don't worry, you weren't missing much. Here are all of the things you didn't miss. This is a special article for everyone who is mildly interested in the goings on at Davos and its annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. To be honest, I’m a total philistine and I don’t belong there but somehow I keep getting invited back.

Photo by Dimitar Belchev

Prole And Proud

When anyone arrives in Davos (and it's either by train or helicopter) you need to make the right choice of station. Davos Dorf is where the big bores gather at the WEF Annual Meeting and the rest of us get off at Davos Platz because that’s where the real party is at.

The promenade at Davos is home to all the houses—houses are shops and stores and offices that have been commandeered for their street front doorways to be transformed into business, networking and meeting places or houses that are representative of the brands and countries that hire them. Some highlights this year included Accenture, L’Officiel, House of Indonesia, and my personal fave CV Labs Blockchain Hub where they seem to employ the best staff in the world.

A Game Of Panoply

In previous years we’ve experienced everything on the promenade from the House of Psychedelics, the Russian War Crimes House and Polkadot. This year seemed a little less bullish from the perspective of war (which you know, is still on the border of Europe) and crypto and way more flagrantly extravagant in the houses of tech and entertainment. This annual meeting is ALWAYS, yes, ALWAYS indicative as to the trends of the year.

All of the usual economic incentivised national houses were on the main promenade from India to Malaysia, and from Greece and Poland. But I did not realise that Manchester United was a country until yesterday. I also didn’t realise that the big word of the year would be Youthwashing until I saw an open forum and a glut of Millennials and Gen Zs talking BS on their Youtubes and Tik Toks. Youthwashing. You’re welcome.

The Great Desert

Walking through the main promenade of the street going past the famous piano bar at the Hotel Europa where I managed to find then ditch a rooftop party last year, I was really struck by the fact that the energy and vibe of 2022’s event was pretty much gone. It was replaced by corporate tech and enterprise software houses and “parties”, which is for anyone's money, the driest subsection of human life. If you’ve ever watched a David Attenborough documentary set in the Gobi or Sahara deserts you’ve seen those parasitic worms that seek any droplets of moisture that they can find and then ingest it for absolutely no benefit at all. Well say hello to SAP, Qualcomm and I want to say AWS but if I say AWS three times it might summon some kind of sandworm, Dune-style, to end my newsletters forever.

The Female Quotient Equality Lounge was also drier than a nun convention in a tumble dryer. Whereas last year there was a can-do/will-do energy and vibe from the speakers and curators, especially Decentraland. This year it was ridiculously over-corporate and sponsored. It was not my glass of Aperol Spritz at all.

The Winner Of Davos Is...

Vaporware. Plain and simple, there is a whole world of crappy shillers in this town for one week only. Like folks who knock at my door wanting to give me the world of their God, I am always on hand with sacred quotes and scripture to destroy all their theories. I was happy to do the same in and around Davos again this year. Here are some takeaways from a bunch of merchants that you don’t ever have to speak to because I packed them off for you.

The Web Thing

Them: “We’re building the next-gen app for people who want to track their b2b acquisitions through paid and organic.”

Me: “Is it a website?”

Them: “Yes.”

Me: “Is it a website and progressive web app?”

Them: “Yes.”

Me: “The game industry invented this about 15 years ago. White label what they are doing and stop asking me for money.”

The Alien Thing

Them: “Oh I love your hair. Do you believe in aliens?”

Me: “Do I look like that guy from Alien Astronauts?”

Them: “No.”

Me: “Ok what are you selling?”

Them: “I’ve created the world’s first NFT and metaverse communication tool for aliens who wish to communicate with their own and us on this planet.”

Me: “Like an Alien Tinder? Ok, I’m listening, show me the NFT and metaverse platform.”

Them: “Oh the page doesn’t seem to be loading.” (Nervous laughter) “But—”

Me: “The Aliens have chosen your fate. Now, GTFO.”

The Real Winner Of Davos Is...

I said I don’t belong in Davos. It really is a crazy cacophony of people trying to do good through doing crap and vice-versa. But the diamond in the rough is without question the World Innovation Economics event because this is where for one day only you can take a look at what is coming. Forget the fact that Meta wouldn’t let you into their party (“I don't want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members”) and that you can’t just walk into Polkadot like you could last year (data capture is a bitch). World Innovation Economics is a place for start-ups, existing business and financiers, fintech, healthtech, the metaverse, crypto, and very real critics and friends of your products and services. I literally cannot praise these folks enough. Every year they come with a brilliant vision of the challenges that start-ups and existing innovative businesses face and they provide us the delegate with use cases, systems and ideas—against a backdrop of idealists and solutions-without-problem merchants. It’s a super mix that identifies exactly what the success ratios are in building business. Yeah, ok, it’s a bit loose, sometimes a little rough around the edges but inside that room for one day in Davos there is an absolute stellar microcosm of the future. It's always way more exciting than anything that happens at the WEF Meeting. I tried to avoid going there this year because well, I’m maybe too much of a handful for those people. But this year, I was really excited to get involved in it and see all of the incredible speakers.

Mister, Get. Me. Outta Here!

Have you thought about attending Davos? You probably never have - but you should! It’s amazing. Please, whilst you are reading this, book your plane/train and automobile tickets for next year—get your names down at World Innovation Economics, pitch your idea, meet your people and find your tribe. In one day you will have heard every kind of story, pitch, you will have networked til you drop and partied harder than the party hard guy.


bottom of page