A veritable all-star team of world leaders, thinkers, and entrepreneurs will descend on Davos, Switzerland starting on Wednesday, January 20, for three days of discussions and panels at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. This year's theme--the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution--should have particular resonance for business owners.
About 2,500 of the world's best thinkers will explore the profound changes wrought by a networked planet, big data, and technology. Within those broad topics will be talks on many small-business issues. For example, on Wednesday, Joe Schoendorf, partner at venture capital firm Accel Partners, and Mike Stankey, vice chairman of cloud-based human resources company Workday, will discuss what the plethora of private companies valued at $1 billion or more, known as unicorns, are doing to markets and marketplaces.
Founded in Switzerland in 1971, WEF bills itself as a public-private partnership that stresses entrepreneurship in addressing the world's most pressing issues. Business-world luminaries appearing at the group's conference in Davos this year include Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, and Alex Karp, founder of Palantir Technologies. Other experts addressing big ideas include the economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, economist Nouriel Roubini, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, and head of the International Monetary Fund Christine Lagarde.
Here are three more things to watch for in the coming week.
1. Technology and the world
On Wednesday Nadella, Sandberg, and Rwandan president Paul Kagame will discuss how the current technological revolution will transform societies and industries, in a televised and webcast event.
2. The refugee crisis
On Thursday, Hamdi Ulukaya, chief executive of Chobani, an Inc. 5000 company, will lead a discussion on how the public and private sectors can partner to train and hire refugees fleeing political crises such as the Syrian civil war.
3. Politics and TV
Just for fun, actor Kevin Spacey will discuss theatricality in American politics during the current presidential contest, in a webcast event on Friday.