More than 130 CEOs and corporate leaders from around the world have descended on Microsoft’s campus in Redmond this week for a springtime tradition: Microsoft’s CEO Summit, now in its 17th year.
Attendees at the private event this year include the CEOs of DuPont, LinkedIn, eBay, American Express, Verizon Communications, and many more. And yes, perennial attendee Warren Buffett is there again. Expect a marathon game of bridge at Bill Gates’ house tonight.
The annual CEO Summit is a chance for the execs to connect and discuss big topics. It’s also a chance for Microsoft to expose top corporate execs to its latest technologies and strategies. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is giving his talk today — detailing what the company calls “the most fundamental transformation in Microsoft’s history” as it makes the transition from software maker to “devices and services” company.
Back in the day, reporters were able to watch the CEO Summit keynote via closed circuit in a nearby room, but Microsoft has gradually closed the doors and turned this into a truly private event, issuing only limited information about the event and its attendees.
Here are some of the highlights from the agenda, as released by the company.
Modern Democracy: Capable of Addressing 21st-Century Challenges? At a time when the United States, Europe, and other major economies have struggled to find the political will to address dangerous fiscal challenges, some question whether democracy itself has become part of the problem. Two leading authors will engage on these crucial questions for individuals, societies, and organizations worldwide.
Big and Nimble: Achieving Growth at Scale: Size can be an essential advantage in global business competition, but nothing kills innovation like bureaucracy. Does big need to be bad? This session will focus on big companies that stoke entrepreneurial fires and relentlessly pursue new markets to find growth.
Game Changers: Disruption, Reinvention, and Innovation: The discussion will explore innovative approaches to strategy formulation, methods for tapping into changing consumer sensibilities, and ways to channel the power of emerging technologies to build businesses.
Finance: The Economics of Volatility: With Europe far from settled and other major economies increasingly hard to read, how should companies alter their outlooks and their financial strategies?
Ballmer’s talk: Customer needs and competitive dynamics are changing faster than ever. The companies that are best positioned for long-term growth are the ones most capable of transforming themselves. In this session, Steve Ballmer will discuss the most fundamental transformation in Microsoft’s history, as it shifts from a software manufacturer to a company that delivers devices and services people love and businesses need. You will hear how Microsoft is challenging assumptions about what we do and how we do it, and explore the guiding principles that are applied in propelling the company in a bold new direction.