Episode 41: Bill Ashworth - Alibaba
Today we hear from Bill Ashworth. Bill is the Director of State and Local Government Affairs at Alibaba. He has also worked for other tech heavyweights such as Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo.
Bill Ashworth represents Alibaba here in the United States before State & Local Governments. His primary responsibility is to help US businesses grow by helping them export to China.
We spoke to Bill before he caught a train to NYC.
Alibaba is only 20 years old, but it has become one of the largest companies in the world. Frequently named as one of the most admired global companies, it had the largest IPO in history. It has a market cap over $350 Billion! Alibaba does business in 200 countries and is one of the largest retailers in the world. It has more online sales than Amazon, Walmart and eBay combined.
Bill grew up in New Jersey. He has seen Springsteen 14 times. This is required if you grow up in New Jersey. He attended American University and then went to Syracuse for law school.
He got his start working on a campaign - a D.C. City Council race. He also interned on Capitol Hill which turned into a full time job. Another person who got his start with an internship!
We hear about his different jobs and experiences. He had good timing- he got into government relations at the height of the dot-com boom. He's since worked for some massive internet companies.
He is now part of a tight-knit group of state government relations professionals that are based in D.C. They all know each other. They see each other at state capitols around the country, and at legislative conferences in the summer. They also trade notes on which state lobbyists they like best.
We get into the weeds on Bill’s work. He is a smart guy and does a very good job of boiling down complicated issues so we can understand them. Tech policy is not easy to comprehend.
We also talk baseball (prior to the Red Sox winning the World Series). Even though Bill is a Yankees fan, I like him. He's very knowledgeable about the game, but unfortunately we didn't get to speak much on America's pastime.