TheBridge profile: Martin Rauchbauer
Name: Martin Rauchbauer
Current city: San Francisco, CA
Current job: Co-Director of Open Austria
Past job: Director Deutsches Haus at NYU
Q. Favorite spot for a coffee meeting? Illly Café on New Montgomery Street in San Francisco: Good coffee. Ideal location. Nice staff.
Q. Describe how a skill you learned in a previous job helped you in your current job. As diplomats, we are trained to be generalists. We might not be experts in technology, but we are good at getting the big picture. In Silicon Valley, this helps us analyze the impact of new technologies on our societies, as well as on the international system. In tech diplomacy, the same set of skills are necessary as in traditional diplomacy. The only difference is that our interlocutors are - well techies.
Q. Job advice in three words? Never stop learning.
Q. How are you (or your company, org, nonprofit) currently bridging the gap between politics and tech / innovation and regulation? Open Austria was established a few years ago to bridge the ecosystem in my country with Silicon Valley. In Silicon Valley we have experienced first hand how policy is often lagging behind tech and tech is ignoring policy. At Open Austria we try to bring a European perspective on regulation to Silicon Valley but also a global perspective to Europe. The European Union often acts as an international standard-setter in tech regulation, as GDPR has shown. At Open Austria we strongly believe in smart regulation that enables innovation.
Q. What can innovators learn from policymakers? Patience with all relevant stakeholders.
Q. What can policymakers learn from innovators? Impatience with the status quo.
Q. Favorite book/podcast/long-form article you recommend? I can't say I enjoyed reading Amy Webb's "The Big Nine,” but I think it is a necessary book. She looks at what AI will do to us during the next 50 years. The "pragmatic" scenario is all doom and gloom. The "optimistic" scenario is what we should all be rooting for. Please only read the "pessimistic" scenario if you have some strong alcoholic drinks nearby....
Q. Looking back, what advice would you give yourself at the beginning of your career? Whatever you are now obsessed with won't matter much in 20 years.
Q. Most underrated virtue in an employee? Sense of humor
Q. If you had to live in another city, which would it be? Vienna
Q. Startup to watch? Mostly AI - Synthetic data startup from Vienna
Q. Morning routine? Coffee and newspapers
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