A High-profile Event Further Out from the Public Eye
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.