10 December, 2020

E103 – Mike Kleine, U.S. Consul General to Melbourne

This episode features Mike Kleine, the U.S. Consul General to Melbourne. Mike has spent over 20 years of his career working in the Foreign Service; he’s been posted across the globe including in Laos, Vietnam, South Korea, and Kosovo. Mike has a deep-seated interest in entrepreneurship, a fascination with innovation, and a passion for the U.S.-Australia relationship. These passions converged and led to the creation of his podcast series, 37 Degrees Latitude.
In his podcast, Mike meets the Australian founders and entrepreneurs who cut a path between 37˚ N & S (at 37˚S, you’ll find Melbourne, Australia; at 37˚N, you’ll find Silicon Valley!) and found capital, partners, markets and success in the United States. He interviews the likes of Didier Elzinga from Culture Amp, Nick Crocker from Blackbird and Kate Kendall from CloudPeeps. Season 2 of 37 Degrees Latitude will feature conversations with Aussie startup founders currently based in the U.S.
In this chat with Phaedon, Mike starts off talking a bit about what he does in his role as Consul General including promoting trade, investment, and the U.S.-Australia relationship and how he stumbled into the startup ecosystem. He then covers the common themes he’s observed across his conversations on 37 Degrees Latitude, such as the importance of networks, key differences between U.S. and Australian culture, like tall poppy syndrome and self-deprecation, and increasing the odds of serendipity. Mike then shares his tips for Aussie founders looking to expand in the U.S. such as the importance of setting up a U.S. office and the value of the E3 visa.
Quickfire Round Recommendations

  • Book: Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  • Podcast: The Daily, How I Built This, The Tim Ferriss Show
  • News Source: Herald Sun, The Age, AFR, SBS, NPR, New York Times, Washington Post
  • Best Holiday Destination: Tasmania
  • Favorite Founder/CEO: Brian Chesky, Airbnb
  • Productivity Tool: Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Headspace
  • Ted Talk Topic: What Australia Taught Me About the Traditional Owners of My Land

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