What I Saw After the Revolution


The panel I moderated at the Sino-American CIO Summit included senior executives from the Bank of Shangai, Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, World Wildlife Fund, and Microsoft.

Unless the simultaneous translation was way off and the panelists were in fact mocking my stupid questions rather than responding thoughtfully to the issues raised, I'd say it went rather well.

Our topic was IT strategy in the face of global recession. The Chinese execs were much more upbeat than the two Americans on the panel. Planning for future growth even when things get bad was the dominant theme of the conversation.

A government official spoke about China's desire to increase its presence in the software development business.

The event was well-attended -- it packed a ballroom at the swell Traders Upper East Hotel, and attracted a lot of senior talent -- but economic reality dictated a one-day conference rather than the two-day version held last year.

As always, some of the most interesting conversations took place outside the scheduled programming, and the experience was about much more than what happened on stage.

The awards banquet was an eye-opener for this cultural neophyte. Lights, music, emcees who could have been working a regional version of American Idol, more honorees than a youth soccer league, presenters in traditional garb, lots of food and wine and bonhomie.

I'd go again, if they'd have me.