Friday, January 13, 2012
The Occupy movement supposedly was the reason J.P. Morgan asked the Westin St. Francis for additional security for the conference this week. Badge-checkers were at their usual stations inside the hotel but also were moved outside of the hotel, creating more logjams than usual on the sidewalk along Union Street.
Folks staying at the hotel had to show their room keys, so the security crush significantly cut down “clock tower” meetings in the hotel’s lobby. Coupled with the unusually good January weather, Union Square became the preferred chat-up locale, to the point that the park was overrun by posses of (mostly) men in black suits.
All in all, the mood seemed less dreamy, more serious. Even last year, life sciences companies still in shock from the financial crisis seemed like zombies: “Must focus portfolio … arrrrrgh … Be virtual … ugh.” They walked the talk, but they didn’t really seem to mean it. This year, the companies indeed were focused, their milestones tangible.