I attended an Open Forum with the CEO of Benevolent Dictators Inc. this morning. He is a very powerful and influential man who meets regularly with the heads of other countries to discuss the economic climate in their particular quadrant of the planet. People tremble when they find out he’s in the building. I was ready to be numbed by a recitation of corporate clichés but was pleasantly surprised to find it all very interesting and cliché free.
I love listening to really articulate, intelligent people discuss the thing they’re most passionate about. He gave us his current market theories and it didn’t feel like a professorial lecture. I talk a pretty good game but I’m actually not all that bright so the fact that I “got it” is a testament to the clarity of his message. The best part was his discussion of emerging markets. He spoke of the importance of having “feet on the ground” (meaning “employees”—okay, so he indulged in ONE corporate cliché) in Sub-Sahara Africa, Brazil, China and the Middle East. He said there’s a historic shift of wealth out of the Western world and to these other areas. That would matter to me if I had any wealth that was about to shift.
At one point during the forum, the big video screen behind him flashed the following subtitle:
Lamp 1 is about to ignite.
An IT guy got up in a damn hurry to—I don’t know what—blow on lamp 1 to cool it off, I suppose. I thought that was a fitting metaphor for the state of the U.S. markets.