Amazon has spoken.
The race is over.
The winner (or some may argue loser) of Amazon’s much ballyhooed HQ2 search is … Seattle.
Stick with me here for a moment folks.
Amid all of the HQ2 fervor and reality-TV-esque energy and intense speculation — GeekWire certainly has spread enough digital ink on this matter to fill a few Kindles — something has not surfaced on the shores of Puget Sound.
What does this mean for the place where Jeff Bezos started his tiny little online bookseller?
It’s apparent to me: Seattle is now second fiddle.
It’s basic human nature. People naturally gravitate to the shiny new toy. And, in this instance, the new toy is located a couple thousand miles away from Seattle.
Actually, make that two new toys — Long Island City, N.Y., and Arlington, Va.
The internal powers will shift at Amazon, teams will relocate and —in a prognostication I may get wrong — Jeff Bezos will spend most of his time in Crystal City and Queens as he establishes Amazon’s next chapter. (Just don’t call this second chapter Day Two!)
Heck, the billionaire with the big laugh already owns a $23 million mansion in D.C. where he can entertain, direct and hobnob with East Coast power brokers and world leaders.
The lights will not be turned off in Seattle — as one infamous billboard near Sea-Tac proclaimed during the Boeing bust in the early 1970s. Seattle’s economic base is more diverse than when Jimmy Carter was president, with Starbucks, Costco, Facebook, Google, Zillow, F5, Oracle and countless others calling the city home.
And it’s not like Amazon is picking up and fully relocating to Oklahoma City — sorry for the bitter reference, Sonics fans!
The last line in Amazon’s HQ2 press release notes 8,000 open positions in Seattle, and more than 45,000 Amazonians in the Seattle area.
Even still, it is going to get a little darker around here.
Many — including an angry cadre of Seattle politicians — will say good riddance. Others like Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan diminished initial reports of the dual HQ2, with a positive spin: “I’d call those branch offices. That would be good news.”
I disagree with those floating theories that the dual HQ2 approach somehow reinforces the importance of Seattle.
Tucked in the mossy-covered and often forgotten Northwest corner of the U.S., Seattle proved to be an ideal location for Amazon during its stealthy rise to prominence.
But this is a new era for Amazon.
It’s a global company. It’s a financial juggernaut. It’s involved in fashion and entertainment and cloud computing and … everything.
In addition to the company maxing out Seattle and needing a new base for engineering talent, it also needs to create a new narrative for the next 100 years. What better place to create that story line than the metro areas of New York City — the financial capital of the planet — and Washington D.C. — the political epicenter.
Love them or hate them, the Amazon ship has sailed, Seattle.
Get used to it: We are now HQ2.