May 2017
Wed, 31 May 2017

Former US Ambassador to Australia Runs for Lt. Governor of California

Article by Lindsey Helfman
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jeff bleichFormer US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich, launched his campaign for Lieutenant Governor of California at an event in Oakland last night. During his four years as Ambassador to Australia, Bleich fostered the growth in trade and investment between the US and Australia, established new alliance agreements, led joint US-Australia efforts in Afghanistan, and promoted human rights efforts regionally. Over in The Golden State of California, Bleich has been recognised as one of the Daily Journal’s Top 100 attorneys, as well as a California Lawyer Attorney of the Year.

But his accomplishments go beyond politics and the court room. Bleich has been an active leader in innovation, as noted by his leading role at AmCham’s 2015 Innovation Mission. Each year, our goal with these Missions is to build and sustain a dynamic business ecosystem through encouraging growth, both in partnerships and innovation between Australia and the US. Building a strong, reliable relationship will provide countless benefits to both countries’ future endeavours.

Bleich understands this need for developing relationships, and has recognised the increased pace and speed of innovation over the past two decades. “The technology is driving itself. Breakthroughs that once took decades to develop can now be developed in a matter of months.”

Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up with the newest devices, latest instalments, and popular trends flooding the market; it can be quite daunting. Just as we seem to finally get the hang of the most recent model, the newest edition is soon to be released. Bleich’s acknowledgement of a fast-paced, shifting market is a key asset to the future success of California’s economy. With Silicon Valley being one of the major hubs of innovation, the technological revolution is unavoidable in the state of California, and will only continue under Bleich’s leadership.

But this exponential innovation comes at a price. The ways in which technology disrupts our way of life are now inevitable. As Bleich said in his address to many distinguished leaders of Australian Universities this past March, “If you work in a small hotel or motel, you see Airbnb as an existential threat. If you work in manufacturing, 3D printing and robotics are direct threats to your job. If you are a book-keeper, artificial intelligence is an immediate threat to your job.” Basically, if you’re not concerned about the threat that this new age of technological innovation can bring to your profession, then you’re being unrealistic.

One can only shield themselves behind disc players and flip phones for so long. The age of the iPod and iPhone are overpowering, and soon, obsolete. Eventually, the newest trend will make itself known, and the iPhone will be a thing of the past, replaced with something sleeker, faster, and more functional. Bleich knows that now is the time to embrace the era that is wireless, tech savvy, and, most importantly, the future.

Lindsey Helfman is currently interning at AmCham in Sydney. 

Want to join AmCham’s delegation for the 2017 Innovation Mission in Boston and Silicon Valley? Click here to find out more!

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