Here are some of the random thoughts and observations I wrote down that came into my head listening to people:
Technology and the Internet are very important and taken very seriously by everybody, including world leaders in politics and finance. We used to be a side show, but now we are part of the main show. It's scary and humbling to see the effects of what we (the computer and technology industry) have done.
Countries are acting much more like companies. They treat the global finance markets like companies treat venture capitalists, asking for understanding, doing road shows, etc. This is not the image I had in my head. Friedman writes about it in his book, but seeing it for real from real world leaders is sobering.
People running countries care about people. They must because the people now have more information about what's going on.
People have more power than they used to. All people.
The countries seem to have a camaraderie around the common condition of globalization and international finance, much as regular people do around the weather good or bad. They have to help each other, or else they all go down. Globalization is here whether we like it or not, and the good outweighs the bad, but there is bad.
There is a call to doing better management everywhere -- especially in government. Better management (which encouraged the use of technology, as Michael Hammer and others used to call for in their writings about "reengineering") is responsible for productivity gains. As an MBA, I like this call to better management.
We are just learning how to do global organizations -- especially as a reaction to the WTO Seattle problems (no agreement and lots of protests). Figuring out how to do global governance (as opposed to government) is important and takes time. It took years to develop what's needed in a country for things to work well, like an SEC, FTC, and EPA.
Everybody goes out of their way to not put down the demonstrators in Seattle, et al -- but all say there isn't anything better.
All the governments want to position themselves as a "bridge" to be used by the rest of the world to get to other markets.
Even though the average age of people attending the conference seemed to be "well into middle age", almost everybody had bought things using the Internet. They were very open to the Internet.
Spanish is coming on strong, growing as a major language.