Why Amazon Should Skip Atlanta for HQ2

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Photo by Kyle Sudu

Lately, there has been a lot of hype over where the new Amazon HQ2 will be located. Over 238 cities have submitted bids for consideration. Out of these 238 cities, many are claiming Atlanta to be a top choice, but any Atlanta native can tell you the sad truth- it’s really not that great here.

There is absolutely no talent in Atlanta…

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There is no way the city of Atlanta can provide the talent to build up the Amazon workforce. I mean, 48 percent of the Atlanta population over 25 has at least a bachelor’s degree, but that’s only the third highest percentage for a city of this size. This lack of talent is underlined by the extremely weak presence of top universities in the city; Georgia Tech and Emory University may generate thousands of diverse and qualified engineers and business minds every semester, but it’s not like Amazon needs qualified employees anyway.

…and the tech culture is even worse

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Photo by Stephen Cook

You probably wouldn’t recognize the names on any of the tiny buildings in the Atlanta skyline like Bank of America, Coca-Cola, and AT&T. We’ve got a few more small companies around the block like UPS and Delta and even smaller name brands like Microsoft and Google have their southeast hubs here, but does that really matter? You’d think Atlanta would make up for the lack of large companies by starting some new ones, but other than over 700 startups employing over 250,000 college students including Mailchimp, there isn’t much innovation here.

Speaking of startups, there are no incubators in this city to let our vibrant harmony of technology and art flourish; except for Atlanta Tech Village, Switchyards Downtown Club, Advanced Technology Development Center, and Tech Square Labs that help bring diverse startups, consumers, and investors together.

Doing business here kinda sucks

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Photo by Jennifer Kim

We can talk about anecdotes like how NCR is moving their world headquarters to Atlanta or how the developer in charge of the second phase of technology square received $15 million in tax incentives, but that’s just chump change. Multiple rankings list Georgia as one of the top 5 states to do business, including having the best overall economy and lowest cost of doing business in the country, but how can that possibly benefit one of the largest businesses in America?

Totally no culture here…

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If you like concerts, some people might try and convince you that the Tabernacle is one of the best concert halls in the country or how Atlanta has one of the best performance arts centers in the country, but realistically we’d all rather spend our weekends binge-watching Netflix.

Speaking of Netflix, you’ve probably never heard of a TV show or movie being shot in Atlanta because they’re all pretty obscure ones like The Walking Dead, Stranger Things, or Captain America. And, I’m sure you don’t know any artist from Atlanta like Migos, Usher or Gucci Mane. To top it all off, we have some of the most unrecognized sports teams in the country like the Falcons, Braves, or Atlanta United that broke the MLS attendance record and then broke it again.

…or anything to see…

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Photo by hezab1

If you’ve ever flown to Atlanta, you’d not be surprised to hear it called “the city in a forest” because there’s nothing to do here except look at trees. Some might say Piedmont Park has a breathtaking view of the city, or the Beltline is fabulous for a midday bike ride, but those people have no clue what they’re talking about. Every time I go to these boring places I waste a bunch of hours by petting too many dogs and seeing too much street art. It’s really annoying.

…or eat

People might think that being home to the number one ranked fast food chain and one of the leading breakfast chains might mean that the food culture here is good, but truthfully it’s basic. You might be familiar with some Georgia classics like chicken and waffles, sweet tea, or peach pie but I can tell you they’re not really that delicious at all. To top off all this disgusting food, places like Krog Street Market and Ponce City Market may have good choices for lunch, coffee, and ice cream, but none of them carry the Mulan McNugget Sauce which is the only thing all of us care about.

Atlanta’s airport is one of the worst in the nation…

As the saying goes “It doesn’t matter whether you go to heaven or hell, there is always a connection in Atlanta”. Atlanta only has one major airport serving a measly 100 million passengers every year. It might be ranked as the world’s busiest airport, but I think it’s safe to say Amazon’s business needs don’t require an airport or any transport of cargo, right?

.. and we have no public transportation or major highways…

When you get off your flight, you maybe wondering how you travel through Atlanta. Unfortunately for you, there are too many options for you to choose from and having to pick just makes your life harder. You can hop on the MARTA subway system that departs from inside the airport and takes you to the heart of Atlanta. If public transportation doesn’t fit your vibe, you can rent a car or Uber and travel one of the very few major highways here including I-20, I-85 and I-75 that connect downtown to the metro Atlanta area and the rest of the country.

Well, actually… Atlanta is perfect. Invest in Atlanta for HQ2 we’ll surprise you Amazon.

Written by

Computer Science @ Georgia Tech. ytulsiani.com

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