Amazon HQ 2x2


Last episode of Winners and Losers Today. I will miss it. It broke up my Thursdays.



Sounds good to me. I’m ambivalent as to whether the various incentives will ever be repaid, but I know one thing for sure-- I work in IT, and it will be more difficult for us to hire people if they come here.


Bezos says to NY: NO AMAZON HQ FOR YOU!




Maybe they’ll double the one in Crystal City. More jobs here! More congestion! Weeee!


New Yorkers weren’t too happy about the Amazon invasion. And they got what they wanted.


So to me this reads like they were looking for a reason to scale back anyway and is just using this as the reason. Maybe the 25% decline in stock prices since the initial announcement have something to do with it.


That’s not actually true, polls showed overwhelming support for Amazon coming in, somewhere around 70% in favor. But the head of the LIC council had veto power and it looked like he might use it, and progressives like Alexandria OC were strongly against it.

It’s debatable whether Amazon would have been worth the $3B in incentives the city was giving them-- I tend to think ultimately over a time horizon of >5 years it probably would be, but not guaranteed. What isn’t debatable is that it’s a good thing for existing IT companies in the area, because this was going to make it impossible to hire people.


While somewhat true, being an HQ means that a good portion of those jobs are not actual IT. Their datacenters are, but staffing for IT is actually a lot lighter than you would think at those locations. About the only big hit is any development work they do, and I don’t know where they plan to move dev teams with multiple HQ sites like that. Probably where the pool is big enough but the cost per employee is low enough that they can feasibly support it. We KNOW Amazon isn’t big on paying big money for employees.


They said it was going to be primarily higher-level technical positions in NYC with salaries starting at $150k/yr. So, not so much.

Best summation I’ve read so far, certainly the most clever: “Amazon Shrugged”.


Fair, a better statement would have been “New York politicians weren’t too happy…” Appears to have been some pretty serious opposition at the local level especially.


At the lower level, yeah. Our terrible mayor and worse governor were all for it.


Official Amazon post:

We do not intend to reopen the HQ2 search at this time. We will proceed as planned in Northern Virginia and Nashville, and we will continue to hire and grow across our 17 corporate offices and tech hubs in the U.S. and Canada.


So they’re going to continue to bring new jobs to their offices in NYC and other cities without huge tax breaks. Weird how that works.


This confuses me. Isn’t de Blasio a progressive?


Not in this case. Amazon showed him the money. They got de Blasio and Cuomo to agree, and I would have bet good money they wouldn’t agree the sun rises in the east. They despise each other.


The Times editorial on the deal collapse. They’re not happy about it, though they understand it’s causes:


It was by no means guaranteed that we would actually see those 25k jobs or even ultimately come out ahead on the $3B in incentives we were paying for one of the world’s largest companies led by the world’s richest man to come here.

I think we would have, given a 5+ year time horizon, but these companies have a way of weaseling out of their obligations and the government usually lets them get away with it.

Anyway like I said, this is good for my company and me personally as it would have made it very difficult to hire technical workers. And of course it’s great for anyone currently living in LIC, as their neighborhood isn’t getting gentrified out of existence. So I’m not too upset about it, but if I didn’t work in IT or if my job wasn’t secure, I would be shaking my head too.


You keep saying that and I don’t doubt there’s some truth to it, but the flip side of that coin is that it’s become incrementally harder for you (collectively) to get a new job.