Who Will Get Amazon’s Rose?
It’s “The Bachelor, City Edition.” Plus: WTF? JP Morgan Wins the “Doing Good” Title?!
Amazon yesterday announced it’s looking for a second home, and cities across the continent began preening for the Seattle-based tech oligarch. The Everything Store laid out its requirements: A “North American” metropolitan area with at least one million souls, a quality higher education system, proximity to transportation and an international airport, “a stable and business-friendly environment” — whatever that means — and tax incentives, because, well, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.
Initial bids are due in mid-October, which gives Mayors and Chambers of Commerce across the land a month or so to shine their shoes, slick back their hair, and don their Sunday best. Businessweek, Axios, and the New York Times have already created short lists: The Times favors Atlanta, Raleigh, Nashville, Richmond, Kansas City and Jacksonville. Axios: Denver, Chicago, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Detroit. And Businessweek? Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Brooklyn, Austin, Memphis, LA, and Detroit.
Well, here’s NewCo Shift’s list (and yes, they all host NewCo Festivals), along with a bit of context:
Pittsburgh. The Steel City already boasts a burgeoning high tech economy (thanks to Carnegie Mellon, Google, Uber, and sophisticated healthcare players like UPMC), a focused redevelopment effort led by Mayor Bill Peduto and a formidable list of philanthropic civic leaders, and all the cultural and infrastructural benefits of a major metro area. Plus, the Thrival Festival is pretty awesome (and yes, NewCo is a partner).
Mexico City. Wait WHAT? Yes, Mexico City. We love this hot mess of a city, and while Trump may never admit it, it is in fact in “North America.” The cost of living can’t be beat, nor can the culture and the energy of its inhabitants. The city boasts a thriving entrepreneurial culture, and placing a major headquarters south of the border would be a wonderful way for Amazon’s Jeff Bezos to stick it to his tormentor in chief, who regularly tweets insults about how Amazon is hurting the US economy.
New York. It’s expensive, overcrowded, and far too obvious. But it’s New York, and there’s a reason hundreds of major corporations locate there: That’s where the talent is. And Amazon cannot afford to have anything but the best talent, period.
Toronto: Politically difficult, but practically perfect otherwise, Toronto already feels like Seattle east. It’s close enough to New York and the East Coast to lure talent from there, but far enough away to have its own character. It’s also a burgeoning innovation hub for Canada, hosting the first NewCo Canada festival last year (and again next week).
Miami. Bezos could bank some major PR points by locating in a city likely torn apart by hurricanes. He’d have to build his HQ on stilts, given Miami’s porous bedrock and rising seas, but the city’s proximity to Latin America, strong entrepreneurial culture, and sunny climate are all a major plus. If Amazon is looking South for expansion, Miami makes a lot of sense.
Valley Politics: Deeply Liberal, Except in Business
The Times covers a Stanford researcher’s survey of tech’s political leanings, and finds wealthy tech folk are a liberal bunch who hate government regulation (Quartz has a similar take here). The Times couldn’t help itself, of course, and had to call the Valley “awkward” politically, a moniker that is wearing awfully thin, given that tech’s largest companies are firmly at the top of the heap when it comes to lobbying expenditures. The tech industry is well aware of its own power, and knows that its only a few missteps away from major shifts in regulatory oversight. That’s why the overwhelming sentiment in the Valley is socially liberal, but economically conservative. More on this next week.
Um, Changing the World for Good? Really?
Fortune is back with its third annual list of companies that are “Changing The World,” and its top 10 have some real head scratchers. But none more confounding than its number one pick: JP Morgan Chase, the bank that paid a historic $13 billion settlement to keep its dirty laundry from being aired after the 2008 financial crisis. Well played, Fortune! And why was JP Morgan number one? Last year, Fortune reports, it spent a quarter billion dollars in “community building” around the United States — almost one percent of its $26.5 billion in annual profits. Almost one percent!
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