Well, it’s official. The Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes is finally over and the winner(s) are New York City, Washington, DC, and Amazon itself of course (in reverse order). I offer my congratulations to both cities—this is a BIG win for both. Kudos to Amazon too—it couldn’t have chosen two better locations. And finally, I suppose some tip of the cap is in order to Jeff Bezos—the new King of Queens.
I’m not going to rehash all of the details or offer up my own punditry on the whole thing. I will say that I was surprised to see that D.C. (or rather, Arlington, Virginia) only had to cough up a half a billion in incentives, which when compared to the Foxconn fiasco in Wisconsin, is chump change (New York paid $1.5 billion). I’m against these giveaways in general and I’m especially against them here—Amazon is one of the wealthiest companies in the history of civilization and doesn’t need to take money out of public coffers. But these figures tell me this was never about incentives—the whole shabang is about talent. Full stop.
More to the point, I want to re-up this post from last year to the cities that didn’t win: The Amazon Bounce Back. In it, I argued that the cities that ultimately wouldn’t win, should take the momentum—and the resources willing to be deployed—and plow them right back into the entrepreneurs and workers already in those places. It’s the only sensible thing to do. In fact, think of the message it sends if they don’t. As I mentioned in this two Tweets, which were part of a Tweetstorm that motivated the post to begin with:
Steve Case sent out a similar sentiment earlier today
I agree with that. And I stand by my earlier statements. As the pundits argue for days, and weeks, and months over how bad of a deal this was, I hope there are dozens of mayors and economic development authorities all across the country that are instead looking themselves in the mirror and concluding that if Amazon was worth the money, so are their own citizens. I’m wishing you all the best of luck. Stick with it—It’s all going to be worth it in the end.