The title says it all, what are the drawbacks to your city winning the Amazon HQ2 bid? For this blog I have done a lot of research about Amazon and HQ2. In fact, I have started it because I want an Amazon developer job. I want to also make a website and YouTube training others on how they can prepare to get an Amazon developer job. What I have found why researching Amazon and the Seattle HQ is that a lot of people do not like Amazon. Not just overall like how people hate on Walmart in small towns but smaller things like how many say the job pays well but can be absolute hell. Forbes Article: Working at Amazon will kill you, but you will love it. Basically, you either stay there forever because you love working that hard, or you are gone after 2 years because your 2 year contract is up. That in itself can be scary but from what others day, yes, it is a very hard place to work for people who have a life. What that means is that the requirement for the bid that you need a strong tech force isn’t for the initial hires but you really need a strong stream of people to hire and replace those that are hired and leave.
Quartz Media goes into the Darker Side of winning the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes. https://qz.com/1175659/the-darker-side-to-winning-the-amazon-amzn-hq2-sweepstakes/
- The Incentive trade-off. Regions are giving away too much. Over bidding to win a big contest means that the city who wins the bid, might end up losing.
- Hurting local startups. I have seen this mentioned elsewhere. In a way it is true, with employees leaving startups to get hired as Amazon moves in. The fact that employees can leave after 2 years, and many do, mean that after a short time you might actually see startups have a better tech pool of people. Not only just tech workers but executives. If Amazon is a crazy hard working place, you will see employees go there, stay 2 years and then leave and stay in the same town and then go make their own startup. This is sure to happen. Startups already end up paying more for talent to start because about 90% of new businesses fail. If Amazon comes to a region the talent tech area is going to improve. People coming and going to Amazon is going to help the local startups scene. Not everyone is going to have a startup that is trying to build the next Amazon.
- The MIMBY approach. Maybe in My BackYard. They say that politicians are not looking at the whole picture. A big player can come in and impact the ecosystem and it is hard to assess the long-term benefits. I believe this is true. However, it is a big risk that might also bring in other major players down the road. People say that it isn’t the losing bids that can drive you out of business, but the winning bids as well. It is true you don’t know how much it will help or hurt an area.
I don’t see anything wrong with having the healthy skepticism that was suggested by the author. For many regions it is a gamble worth taking.