Joi Ito's Web

Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

People have been pinging me about this, so I guess I should post something about it. I'm not going to Davos this year. I wasn't invited this year. Not sure exactly why... But I'm in pretty good company... Anyway, I posted some thoughts on the Forum over on Omidyar Network which I'll post here as well.

Joi Ito
This may sound like sour grapes, but I didn't get invited to Davos this year, but after going for 4 years, I was also planning on possibly not going. It's great fun meeting old friends, but I'm finding many of the smaller conferences more interesting these days. A number of people I know are going to the World Social Forum this year instead. Having said that, I'm sure something will happen this year that makes me wish that I was there. Please say hi to everyone for me.
Joi, thanks for your insight. I'd be curious about your thoughts in terms of collective: has the WEF been a mechanism that enables actors to work more intelligently and in partnership across sectors? this is something i've been longing to understand better; there is a sense among participants at places like the World Social Forum that the WEF is exclusionary and serves only the interests of the multinationals. What seems most vital about the forum is the capacity to pool intelligence and coordinate action in a way that reduces global risk. is this happening?
Joi Ito
I think that a lot of the good things that happen at the forum on not intentional and not visible. It's bridge building across sectors. Although the forum has tried to be more and more inclusive, I think it has shifted away from its humble, somewhat academic roots to a conference where there is more participation by powerful people. Also, there is the official program, then there are special groups (like the Media Leaders group I spoke to last year) and then there are secret meetings. In many ways, it is more of a meeting place than a "movement" with something concrete to accomplish such as the WTO or G8, although I've never been to either.

I would disagree that it "only serves the interests of the multinationals" but it does have sponsors that allow it to exist and they obviously get special treatment and access. Having said that, the social entrepreneurs, for instance, include many legitimate social entrepreneurs who are doing a lot of great things that the forum enables in many ways.

So net-net, I would say the forum is a good thing, but I think your mileage may vary.

Finally, I would add... looking at the various lists of people who get invited and un-invited... the process, from my perspective, is close to random, athough there are clear biases. If you've never been invited, don't worry about it. Many many important and interesting people have never been invited. If you get invited and you've never been, give it a go, especially if you don't have to pay. If you go for a few years and get tired of it, you're not the only one.



Will be following up via email - but consider this an invitation to MeshForum ( May 1-3rd 2005 here in Chicago. MeshForum is focused on Networks - from social to technical to biological. We're expecting a mix of academics, business leaders, and public sector/non-profit professionals. With a maximum capacity of 300, we're certainly small. :)


Following a link to the WEF livestream:

Hello there

Im swiss and i have to say that i dont like the WEF! It costs million of swiss francs to secure some "VIPs", which go to Davos to have a bit fun, to talk how they can get even more money and to do some networking.
And normal people aren't able to join this Forum, they even can't get to davos, cause its secured like a Prison.

It really sucks.


Luke the Duke!!!


Now that you won´t be there, what blogs would give a journalist and potentially readers in Chile, a real perspective of whats going on there, from the most open meetings, to the secret meetings??

Thanks, Tomás Dinges

Diario Siete
Santiago, Chile

Thanks Shannon. That sounds interesting.

Luke: I remember talking to some students in Zurich after a Davos meeting and getting a very strong dose of the same sentiment. One of my Swiss friends lent me their flat just 2 blocks from the congress center. When he came to give me the key and let me in, the police had blocked all of the roads and we couldn't get to his house. When we asked them for a way around the roadblocks to reach his house, they said: "that information is security related and secret." Finally, we screamed and shouted and finally the commanding officer came and drove in our car to his place. I can imagine that this is annoying to people who live there and can't even walk across the street.

Tomas, here are a few blogs:

Official WEF Blog



Big doings at Davos that perhaps next year you will mediate. "Listen to rest of the world, Blair urges the U.S."

Also take a look at they are video blogging Davos.


Or even more specifically, here is the link to live and/or archived video coverage of the world economic forum:

Looks like they will have most of the forum, at least the "open" portions. In very good and fairly comprehensive video (real or windows media format with a modem and broadband streams).


It sucks so much... They decide things like "we should help africa more". but nothing happens! this is just for the media.
WEF is a meeting for important persons or persons who think they are important, but in fact, the meeting is only good to make some money. And Swiss pays the cost!
I really agree with all the people who go on the street against WEF.

Joi: Thats it! The "Guests" are more important than Swiss People in their own country.

sorry you weren't invited, but they had to make room for Bono and Angelina Jolie.

Jane: *LOL*!

At least you made it for 4 years, Joi :)

I've always been intriqued by Davos for some reason, the closest I've been is through livefeeds from a Bloomberg terminal.

But now, after the interesting discussion at Omidyar Network, in particular the comment Danny Hillis, I'm not that interested anymore.

Comment From: Isaack

Jane: *LOL*!

At least you made it for 4 years, Joi :)

I've always been intriqued by Davos for some reason, the closest I've been is through livefeeds from a Bloomberg terminal.

But now, after the interesting discussion at Omidyar Network, in particular the comment Danny Hillis, I'm not that interested anymore.

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February 1, 2005 12:09 PM

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