A High-pro­file Event Fur­ther Out from the Pub­lic Eye

Industry Leaders - - Big Events Bigger Gains -

Over the years, the elite event has be­come more and more no­to­ri­ous for its se­crecy. Two years ago, Mi­crosoft stopped re­leas­ing any me­dia from in­side the high-pro­file event. The in­creased covert­ness was in a di­rect re­sponse to re­porters’ at­tempt to par­tic­i­pate in the event. In 2008, The Seat­tle Times went through reg­is­tra­tions of planes on the tar­mac at Boe­ing Field to get hold of the guest list. In 2012, a Wired re­porter crashed the con­fer­ence’s pre-party to eaves­drop on a tense con­ver­sa­tion be­tween Steve Ballmer and Jeff Be­zos. The event “de­liv­ers to par­tic­i­pants a unique ex­pe­ri­ence of dis­cus­sion and in­ter­ac­tion among world­wide busi­ness lead­ers set in an intimate busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment,” the com­pany says. It is de­signed to give busi­ness lead­ers a pri­vate and in­for­mal en­vi­ron­ment to in­ter­act and dis­cuss emerg­ing trends in tech­nol­ogy and their im­pact on busi­ness and the so­ci­ety. Herein, the “at­ten­dees have an op­por­tu­nity to hear lead­ing in­dus­try ex­perts an­a­lyze eco­nomic trends and tech­nol­ogy is­sues. The sum­mit also of­fers a fo­rum in which CEOS can dis­cuss and de­bate

busi­ness chal­lenges and share in­sights or ex­pe­ri­ences with their peers from around the world.”

Mi­crosoft de­scribes three key pur­poses of the event are to:

• En­able an elite group of top-level ex­ec­u­tives to ex­plore is­sues around man­ag­ing global cor­po­ra­tions.

• Drive aware­ness of new tech­nol­ogy mega­trends and their im­pact on busi­ness and so­ci­ety.

• Stim­u­late pri­vate and in­for­mal in­ter­ac­tion among peers as a means of strength­en­ing pro­fes­sional and per­sonal re­la­tion­ships.

Over the years, Mi­crosoft has used the event as a plat­form to show­case some of its new­est tech­nolo­gies to high-pro­file lead­ers of the world. It wouldn’t be a sur­prise to find a Win­dows Phone or the Sur­face Pro in the gift bag. It’s no sur­prise, how the event has played out in re­cent years. In fact, it has be­come the face of the most priv­i­leged con­ver­sa­tion on the planet. Over the last few years, the dis­cus­sions in­cluded the fol­low­ing:

“Find­ing Growth, Deal­ing with Dis­rup­tion: Look­ing be­yond quar­terly earn­ings to find longterm, sus­tain­able paths to high­mar­gin growth in the midst of a volatile ex­ter­nal en­vi­ron­ment.”

“The En­ergy Op­por­tu­nity: No forces are more im­por­tant to the vi­tal­ity of the 21st cen­tury world than en­ergy sup­ply and de­mand.”

“The Fu­ture of Health: New poli­cies, dig­i­tal me­dia, the on­go­ing rev­o­lu­tion in mon­i­tor­ing and man­ag­ing peo­ple’s health.”

“21st Cen­tury Lead­er­ship Strate­gies: Rapid tech in­no­va­tion, ul­tra-pow­ered con­sumers and web-en­abled so­cial dy­nam­ics.”

We keep hear­ing about busi­ness lead­ers of com­pa­nies with mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion soar­ing bil­lions of dol­lars hav­ing se­cre­tive meet­ings. In fact, one might as­sume they’re dis­cussing col­lec­tive fu­ture plans on how to make the world a bet­ter place than it is now. It is the pri­vate na­ture of this event that most likely serves its no­ble pur­pose. At this point, it’s dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the fu­ture, and even more dif­fi­cult to pre­dict the im­pact of the tech­nol­ogy sur­round­ing us. A frank and off the record dis­cus­sions with in­dus­try lead­ers about such top­ics gives busi­ness lead­ers and CEOS the abil­ity to work through some of the best op­tions with­out re­veal­ing their strate­gies, or specifics to com­peti­tors. When you’re re­spon­si­ble for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that em­ploys thou­sands of peo­ple from around the globe and has mil­lions of share­hold­ers re­ly­ing on your ev­ery move, you wouldn’t want a re­porter lurk­ing around your shoul­der, as you try to make sense of new tech­nolo­gies you may need to adopt to be­come a re­silient or­ga­ni­za­tion.the Mi­crosoft CEO Sum­mit does just that, it helps global com­pa­nies bring new tech­nolo­gies to mar­ket quicker in mean­ing­ful ways with clear val­ues for con­sumers.

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