Cranes dot the neighborhood around Amazon’s South Lake Union campus, with its Doppler and Day 1 towers and Spheres visible at top right. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)
Tap the brakes for a second, North America. Let that sea of red tail lights on the roadways around Seattle serve as a warning from those of us who have lived here for some time — big, giant tech companies in the heart of your city can change things.
As governors and mayors and business leaders across the continent wake up to the news of Amazon’s plan to build a second headquarters outside of Seattle, accommodating up to 50,000 high-paying jobs, they should be careful not to fall all over themselves jumping at the opportunity to be first in line.
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Folks in cities that have been decimated by the long drain of manufacturing jobs and who feel the sting of being left out of the modern tech boom will have a hard time seeing past that 50,000 number and thinking anything negative could come from such a prospect.
And to be certain, a whole lot of good has come to the Seattle region for being lucky enough to be the place where Jeff Bezos had a garage and an idea for selling books online.
Jobs are great. And Amazon has created many thousands of them of all stripes.
And because Amazon is here, and Microsoft before it, many other tech companies large and small have set up shop in Seattle to feed off the talent that was either nurtured in Seattle or moved here to be a part of it.
And for many there is pride in knowing what is being created and to be the home of a company so diverse that it can get a gift to your mother across the country in a day or a bag of groceries on your kitchen counter is less than an hour.
The same company behind the voice-activated AI who will answer your every question also makes TV shows and movies that win Emmys and Oscars. Meanwhile, Bezos is building huge glass spheres in the heart of the city so his employees can work amongst exotic plants at the same time he’s building rockets that could someday send tourists into space.
But Seattle is a tough nut. The stereotypically gloomy …read more