Enough time has passed that I can issue a couple hot takes thoughts about HQ2:

  • The “HQ2 selection” process was shameful and gross for everyone involved.
  • Most of the economic analyses I’ve read on Twitter that argue Amazon is a net loss for these cities seem woefully misguided: the question isn’t “will Amazon bring more money to these cities?” but “will the city improve?”
  • If the folks in NoVa / Queens had any courage whatsoever, they’d realize that Amazon is going to move to those areas regardless and they’d start the benefit clawback process immediately.
  • It would be disingenuous of me to cast aspersions on transplants flocking to Crystal City or Queens because, well, I was a transplant flocking to Seattle for Amazon in 2013. And I liked it! And I still like it. And any posturing of ugh, those techies are going to ruin the flavor of the city feels very gross. 1
  • I’m neither wise nor smart enough to answer the question Is Amazon good for Seattle? But the position of most non-Amazon tech companies in Seattle is that they’re thankful for Amazon’s presence, if for no other reason that they act as a lightning rod for all criticism of Seattle’s rapid upheaval.
  • Amazon continues to be a company to which folks seem to ascribe malice despite cold rationality being the more fitting personality trait. It’s not Sauron; it’s a paperclip maximizer 2.
  • Get ready for some truly uninspired architectural design.
  1. I’ve seen a lot of people who moved to SF for tech jobs issue such statements and while I haven’t called them out, because I am a coward, it is unclear to me whether or not that’s cognitive dissonance or just they think SF is a special case. 

  2. If you haven’t played this yet, you should. 

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