The Amazon Backlash

NY State Senator Michael Gianaris is leading the efforts to stop Amazon from opening up a large presence in the borough of Queens in NYC.

I get that this makes for good politics at some level. Standing up for the taxpayer and expressing outrage at a massive tax giveaway to the one of the wealthiest companies in the world, run by one of the wealthiest people in the world, makes for great stump speeches.

But there is one problem with all of that. The voters and taxpayers in Queens, particularly the minority voters and taxpayers, approve of Amazon’s move to Queens by very large margins.

The very people that Gianaris and others like Ocasio-Cortez represent and are “standing up for” want Amazon in Queens by large margins.

What the voters and citizens of Queens seem to understand is that this is a once in a decade type opportunity to change the face of a borough and a city.

As historian Kenneth Jackson explained in this excellent NY Times Op-Ed piece yesterday, history shows that the economic fortunes of cities change quickly with once dominant industries moving on and new ones arriving. This is a fantastic opportunity for NYC to cement its role as a leading tech sector and one that should not be missed. There is no guarantee that the NYC of tomorrow will be as vital as the NYC of today. We have to work to make it so and this effort to recruit Amazon to NYC is exactly the kind of work which will make it so.

My friend Kathy Wylde also penned an important argument in favor of Amazon in yesterday’s Daily News. Kathy explains that Queens has been planning for this sort of thing in Long Island City for over a decade and many of the issues that the rabble rousers are raising have been considered, planned for, and are already being worked on.

In my view, politicians like Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez are being irresponsible and reckless in their opposition to Amazon while playing politics with something that is without question good for NYC, good for Queens, and good for their voters. Their voters know it and so should they.


Comments (Archived):

  1. William Mougayar

    Politicians are good at rethorically debating issues, just to look like they are doing their job. To those opposing the deal, are they offering better alternatives?

    1. Peter G

      Many of the people speaking out about this issue have indeed articulated that the alternative is for no city to offer millions or billions of dollars to an extremely wealthy corporation that is already known for avoiding paying taxes. If Amazon needs to open a second headquarters, they will, and they don’t need a government-funded incentive to do so.

      1. fredwilson

        This is a government program available to all companies. Staying that the largest companies should not participate in a program that is available to other companies feels very discriminatory to me

        1. Peter G

          I’m referring to the $3B incentive package that Amazon negotiated and is still being considered for approval by the state. Doesn’t seem like these incentives are something any company can benefit from. Or are all local businesses in Long Island City, from bodegas and garages on up, already getting equivalent tax breaks?

      2. JamesHRH

        That is what they said in Detroit when the auto manufacturers moved 30 miles north to Wayne County.Need I say more?

      3. William Mougayar

        But Amazon won’t unless there is government support. Other cities were going to take that away and gladly would.

      4. Captainda

        This is an emotional argument that makes very little logical sense. What does it matter that they are wealthy if they provide a huge ROI on your relatively low risk investment? If a billionaire gives you $100 for every $1 you invest with them, would you refuse just because they happen to be a billionaire?

  2. Mario Cantin

    They are wasting an opportunity.

    1. curtissumpter

      Who is they?And where is Google in this conversation? They’re bringing in 10,000 jobs. Why isn’t this a part of this conversation.

  3. WA

    Exactly. All the stump rhetoric. Appealing to system one thinking of the voting masses. So tired of decoding bad heuristics from all sides. So wrong.

  4. Greg Kieser

    Yeah, but Amazon will inevitably (and does) put many other small businesses out of biz. So, the decision to give them an additional unfair advantage goes far beyond Queens in my opinion.

    1. sachmo

      The mom and pop business are going to die off if they don’t adapt to internet sales anyway. Amazon just happens to be the company killing off most of them. In the next 50 years you are going to see a resurgence of small retailers, but they will be internet based.

  5. curtissumpter

    ‘It’s very nice to quote polls. But if you look at the question: The Siena College poll asked: “Do you approve or disapprove of the recently announced deal between Amazon and New York, which grants up to $3 billion in state and city incentives to Amazon in return for Amazon locating its corporate offices in Queens, where it is projected to generate 25,000 jobs?” It sounds like a push poll.If you included the likelihood that a large number of these people would be priced out of their homes I wonder what the poll would look like then. I think polls should be honest about the benefits and the drawbacks.

    1. Peter G

      Agree this poll was worded in a misleading way, also since very few of the generated jobs will go to residents of the area. If it had been worded more honestly, e.g. “projected that up to 25,000 people will move here to work”, it would probably receive a different response.

      1. curtissumpter

        These days it’s like “Who can you trust?” Sienna is a institution of higher learning. Ph.D.’s were involved. They had to know the wording of this poll was wrong.My bigger question is “What is the endgame for New York?” Are they looking for a city with extreme wealth, extreme poverty, and a smaller and smaller weaker and weaker middle class?My question for New York is when is enough enough. Every mayor and politician says “If we don’t bring in this major project (that may really hurt everyday people) the city will go into inevitable decline.” But when has this actually happened? Bloomberg said the same thing about the Jets Stadium and surprise surprise, the city is doing just fine.Better than fine. It’s crushing it.

  6. Paolo

    Some opportunities are good, some are not.Amazon is planning to put warehouses, not headquarters or other high value structureWhen a new Walmart is opened, 2y later real estate is depressed by double figure percentages and average income is also depressed.Creating jobs for people doing the armwork in the midsts of robotic infrastructure, increasing the traffic of trucks and vans and more consequences may profit some but not necessarily all.I have not seen a comprehensive evaluation of the consequences of the implantation of Amazon in Queens. It’s a void argument unless corroborated by a complex and complete set of facts. In the end it might be great or it might be tragic or anywhere in between. Surely it will be a multitude of different things for each one in Queens.As Amazon is a large and superprofitable company there are other considerations as well.On one side I have admiration for a startup of which I’m a customer since Y1 and for many things they have achieved and all those they are in the process of building.On the other, this very, very profitable company could do a better job at treating it’s workers. I don’t have a first hand knowledge there, but there are regularly complaints of all sorts bubbling up. Some might just be good excuses to extort some benefit from a rich company, but it would be statistically very probable a significant number are due to real situation of a stingy company being ungenerous with its workers.Finally, tax optimization is a global sport. I only blame politicians for allowing and in many cases fostering tax dodging by corporations. Though some games are played with such elaborate complexity that the squeezing of the last penny out of taxation is insulting for the resident population who fills the pot with their own taxed salaries.I’m not with you on this one. It’s not a pro/con simplistic and divisive argument. It’s a very complex question that needs a deep understanding of multitude of facts belonging to several disciplines. I don’t think your blog has enough space to dwell on this.

    1. JamesHRH

      You can separate major cities by the number of world class industries in their tax base.You are taking a pass on the most dynamic software enabled company on the planet.That is a mistake & it’s not a complex issue.

  7. wca4a

    Why the incentives though? Google has gladly and quietly cemented its place on the west side of downtown Manhattan and will continue to grow its footprint without billions in taxpayer assistance.

    1. fredwilson

      Because they are part of a program that is available to any company that locates in an economic development area. That is what people are not focused on. This is part of a standing government program!!

      1. OldManGoldenwords

        We need to revisit all these outdated govt handout program. If AMZN is setting up office in Mississippi Delta where people hardly have any banks there then may be yes. But, they want office within driving distance of Times Square and close to jeff bezo’s million dollar mansion. In life there is premium price all good things. All these billionaires hire million dollar consultants spinning how this deal is win-win for alll and going to Davos in private jet lecturing world about climate change and how they run small philanthropy while campaigning for big tax breaks. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s and Bernie sanders have got a lot of public support because they are calling out all billionaire’s bluff. This is not a win-win economy. Its winner take all economy. We need to eliminate all tax loop holes and tax where big money is. After paying taxes they can do all philanthropy they want.

  8. Jeff J

    Complete agreement.Tax subsidies to companies with near monopolies are unpleasant. But this is an opportunity to further diversify the tax base for NYC and cement NYC as a major tech sector of the country. Gentrification and increasing rental and property values will follow, this will have wide ranging impacts to Queens and the entire city. This is not a once in a decade opportunity, it’s a once in a generation opportunity. This political stumping against corporate greed is quite lovely theater. But NYC can use the jobs and infrastructure investments to spearhead the next 25 years of growth and development.

    1. curtissumpter

      But where is your solution for the statement: Gentrification and increasing rental and property values will follow, this will have wide ranging impacts to Queens and the entire city.This seems to be the crux of the issue.Amazon is going to be fine regardless. But what about the people who live there? Who rent there? Who’s kids go to school there? Who have neighbors and community there? What about the elderly? Should they also just up and move for Amazon and landlords?This begs the real question I think that society is demanding we answer.Does capitalism exist to serve people or do people exist to serve capitalism?

      1. fredwilson

        Look at the Queens plan for LIC. This has been a decade of planning on the making

      2. JamesHRH

        Look, the very first time I brought a private investor into a SW company, we had a drink with a very humanistic finance friend of his.I watched – I had no opinion – as the twoof them argued over the micro version of this question ( ‘Does talent drive capital or does capital drive talent?’ ).The answer is simple in the micro: it depends who has the most social power of replacement. Replacement power = control.The question is a fallacy in the macro. The options that are not capitalism require people to be permanently controlled by the government.Have you ever wondered why Putin & Xi do not exercise the complete and total control of a Chavez or Maduro?

      3. Captainda

        With change (i.e. “gentrification”) someone will always get displaced in the short term to the benefit of others. Does that mean a place should never evolve or change and remain static forever? Technology itself is a form of gentrification in that it displaces some people in the short term but provides huge benefits to many people in the long term. Should we now stop all development of new technologies if it displaces a some group people in some way?

  9. falicon

    My 1st appartment in NY was in LIC about ten minutes from the spot they are talking about…my last startup (small succ. exit) started in an office 3 minutes from that spot (the area was already getting a lot better, but there was still a lot of room for improvement).Point is, I deeply know the location and it would only improve with the addition of Amazon…and that’s not even mentioning all the supporting benefits and business that it will prop up in the greater NYC area.Anyone against the addition just doesn’t know the area or what NYC itself is all about…

    1. curtissumpter

      I worked there for five years. I ate there, socialized there, and patronized businesses there regularly. I’m a life long New Yorker who has traveled extensively through other parts of the country.And I am against the addition. I disagree with you sir.

      1. falicon

        Ok, but why?The specific spot is mostly empty or abandoned buildings/factories and very few people go all the way to that corner of the area.Citi is the one large building in the area and they have dropped the number of people in that location year after year (and plan to continue that).The tax breaks and such are large, but that’s the cost of this deal (someone, somewhere was going to pay it – maybe more)…unfort. that’s the power of a large business like Amazon. The challenge of the local gov. is to make it work by taking proper advantage of winning the deal.Personally I wanted them to pick Newark (who could use the boost even more)…but I still think it’s a big win for LIC and the greater NYC area.

        1. curtissumpter

          It depends who you are in LIC. If you’re a normal person, a worker, an elderly citizen, it’s a disaster. If you’re a real estate owner, a developer, a member of the investor class it’s amazing.It’s just like Brexit. It simply depends on where you stand. I stand with citizens. Investors have done amazing well in the last 20 years and I’m not even considering the new tax cuts or CapGains or CapEx breaks (the list goes on and on). It’s time to rebalance the playing field.There are many places Amazon can go that will be happy to have them. The entire Midwest would love Amazon. There are plenty of world class universities out there that create amazing engineers. Max Levchin is from UI-Champange. They have a world class engineering program. Go there. They need it. We don’t. We really really really don’t.

          1. falicon

            It’s an interesting stance. I don’t think the citizens I know in the area feel the same way…but I can’t argue that at least some do (maybe even the majority?)Out of curiosity, why don’t you live or work there anymore yourself?

          2. JamesHRH

            Great question.

          3. curtissumpter

            I work in Manhattan (new job) and have lived here for a decade.

          4. JamesHRH

            So, you lived for a job. 😉

          5. jeff

            This is just the “don’t love it when anyone speaks for ‘everyone in the midwest’ police” weighing in. Otherwise, great debate, carry on!

          6. JamesHRH

            Well put.

    2. Salt Shaker

      It’s not about knowing the area (LIC) back when, it’s about assessing the area when there’s a radical infusion of jobs and people, and having the financial capital to support housing (currently reasonably affordable, as you know), infrastructure and transportation. Who’s gonna fund, particularly when NYC is already in serious financial dire straits? (Look no further than downtown Seattle as a case study in unmanaged growth wrt Amazon. It’s a mess.) There are too many loose ends and unknowns. High risk poker.Amazon will continue to add staff to NYC organically, w/ out crazy concessions and a lot of unknowns.

    3. TeddyBeingTeddy

      Good for Bezos. Doesn’t need to deal with that kind of political environment in NYC. Everyone wants to a nice place where they and their children fit in and feel welcomed. Doesn’t sound like he was getting that in NY.

    4. Richard

      And they are going to miss out on a championship baseball dynasty and one of the best pitching staffs seen in quite some time. LGM!

  10. jason wright…“Do you approve or disapprove of the recently announced deal between Amazon and New York, which grants up to $3 billion in state and city incentives to Amazon in return for Amazon locating its corporate offices in Queens, where it is projected to generate 25,000 jobs?””The Siena poll queried 778 registered voters from Feb. 4 to 7 and has a 4.3 percentage-point margin of error.”Only 778 voters were polled. $3 billion is a lot of money transferring from public to private control. That’s approximately $4 million per voter questioned. Polls can be framed to produce whatever result is desired. Who commissioned the poll (journalists and lobbyists!)? How about a plebiscite to settle it?I’ve read that NYC was always Amazon’s favoured destination, and that the competitive bidding process was a sham designed to arm twist NYC. Bezos is a bit of a hustler.All questions are rhetorical.

  11. JamesHRH

    The death of democracy isn’t cynicism and narcissism, democracy has suffered from that since its creation.The death of democracy is the complete domination of public discourse by image based echo chamber loops from Star politicians.Of all things, the refusal of VA Gov Northam to step down over his non-controversy may be a turning point in holding back the wave of publicnarcissism.Here’s hoping the Amazon Deal goes the same way.

  12. Joe Marchese

    A serious discussion about the incentives communities provide in the name of economic development is worth having. And gentrification of neighborhoods deserves to have multiple perspectives heard and considered before concluding that it’s all good or all bad. But when dynamic organizations want to make our city their home — even their second home — it is a compelling message that what we have is great and on a pathway to becoming even better.

    1. curtissumpter

      This is a very balanced comment.

    2. fredwilson


    3. JamesHRH

      There is almost no negative that outweighs the benefits that will stem from Amazon being based in LIC.You can have the discussion, but the math always comes out to ‘give that Man his money.’It’s like a proven Best in league QB in the NFL or goalie in the NHL – you almost can’t overpay.

      1. curtissumpter

        Who are the beneficiaries? That’s what everyone is asking.If you’re a subscriber to the idea that “Hey! A rising tide lifts all ships.” Then yeah, Amazon is an amazing idea. But if you think that’s a bunch of malarkey (and I’m being very nice with that statement) which is totally borne out by ALL of the data. (ALL OF IT) then Amazon may not be such a great idea. You keep saying there are no negatives. There are a ton of them. Not for Amazon, not for investors, but for regular people, for the community, Amazon is a terrible idea. For the people moving from Missouri or Indiana coming to get 150K jobs or for other people (real estate investors, etc.) Aamzon is great.

        1. JamesHRH

          Cities run on their tax base. Ask Detroit.Mayor Turner would do it in flash here if the citizens hadn’t nearly bankrupted the city by giving firefighters a 10% pay increase the city can not afford ( after liberal successive high spend administrations ).Cash flow matters, even in government.

          1. curtissumpter

            This is a fantastic comment.But first, New York is not Detroit. Let’s get that clear right away. This is a scare tactic and basically beneath this blog. Let’s stick to logic and facts please.Because it’s the government which loves to spend money on contractors, private corporations, wealthy donors who bankroll campaigns, and municipal workers/unions who vote they have an incentive to keep spending.But for workers who work in the private sector, who are not union members and who are not wealthy enough to contribute large sums the solution is not to bring in more large companies that will displace workers. The solution is to spend smarter and spend less. The high speed rail in California is a prime example. It’s a spending boodoggle meant to appease contractors.DeBlasio has spent all of the city surplus left him. The solution is not to displace workers and citizens by bringing in Amazon to refill the trough. The solution is to spend smarter.

          2. JamesHRH

            Do you know what Detroit was in 1955? Silicon Valley in 1995.Do you know how Wayne County became the single wealthiest county government in America? Their Chief Executive lured the big 3 manufacturers out of Detroit.Do you know how he did it? Tax incentives.Can you name me the other major industry the Motor City has to fall back on while liberal, corrupt, narcissistic, pandering Democratic Mayors told the Big 3 they would not match Wayne County’s ‘bribes’?Exactly.New York is New York because it is the current financial capital of the world.It’s is no longer the literary or media capital of the world.When Shanghai surpasses it in financial circles…….

          3. curtissumpter

            New York has reinvented itself time and time again.This is not about New York’s inability to reinvent itself or to move into the future.This is about a city being liveable. You know what the difference between New York and Austin or Detroit or even to some extent Silicon Valley is?New York is a bunch of islands and peninsulas. There is a set amount of space here. The city has been growing faster than most cities generally. New York has grown from 7.9 MM people to 8.6 MM in 10 years. Los Angeles: 3.7 to 4MM. Chicago has gone from 2.8MM to 2.7MM.New York’s NEW GROWTH is 25% of Chicago’s size. Think about that. But New York is set in size. It can’t and shouldn’t try to accomodate everyone.I’ve of the belief system that countries, states, and cities are there to serve their citizens. NYC should not displace it’s own citizens to serve the ‘greater good’ (whatever the heck that is). NYC should serve it’s own citizens and it’s citizens aren’t well served by this.The government exists to serve it’s citizens, not it’s tax base. New York has Google, Facebook, a ton of startups as evidenced by the continuing growth of WeWork, MeetUp, etc. etc. etc. Not to mention a thriving marketing sector, media sector, arts sector, finance sector, etc. etc. etc. We don’t need Amazon. And maybe we shouldn’t have it.Maybe the city just isn’t big enough.

          4. JamesHRH

            I agree with you that government should serve its citizens. What I do not understand is your lack of agreement with me ( & Fred ) that a government must build its tax base to serve its citizens. If it does not, you have the Thatcher problem ( you run out of other people’s money to spend ).That is why I am strongly in Fred’s camp that you should prioritize growth and sort out the issues later.Your approach boils down to:1) NYC is special2) NYC is growing3) NYC is constrained.You might be right.But what if you are wrong?

          5. curtissumpter

            Governments should build their tax base. Tax bases allow for healthcare, smaller class sizes, better infrastructure (bridges, subways, physical assets, i.e. Internet access).I love this stuff (provided it stay within budget) and I love (LOVE!) New York.But as a nation and as a city we have prioritized growth. We’ve prioritized it so much that growth now trumps (no pun intended) people. I live on the Upper East Side. We had a great restaurant there called Parlour. Great place. The other day I was at one of their sister restaurants talking to another patron. We were like “What happened to Parlour?” It’s empty. Vacant. Has been for years. The owner prioritized growth. The result is that the site is fallow because he wanted a bigger payoff.The people suffered. That suffering is nothing compared to the displacement the people of the Midwest experienced due to trade deals all in the name of growth. Growth for who?Growth must be balanced with the needs of humanity. Growth for growth’s sake is crazy.Look. I want you to win. I want Fred to win (and he is … big time). But I also want regular people to win. I don’t want auto mechanics and home health aids to have to leave the city because Amazon needs space. Microsoft committed to building affordable housing. Amazon could’ve done the same thing. It wasn’t even close to impossible. It’s time to find a balance. That’s all I’m saying.

          6. JamesHRH

            2 questions:Are you under 35? ( curious, not specious)?Would you rather live in Shanghai or Paris?

          7. curtissumpter

            Under. Shanghai.

          8. JamesHRH

            Do you think Shanghai would pay off AMZN to get 25,000 jobs?

          9. curtissumpter

            I don’t care what Shanghai would do. I’m an American. I’m a New Yorker. In that order. I care what we would do.I don’t care about the incentives. I think that’s where you have me confused. We could’ve given Amazon the 3BB in tax breaks. That didn’t bother me. It wouldn’t have bothered me.What bothered me was the gentrification and the displacement that was inevitable.Amazon could’ve just paid for affordable housing for these people and build a couple of charters around the projects and silenced the opposition. But they didn’t. They wanted their tax breaks, their gentrification, and to hell with the people who lived there.Good riddance.

          10. JamesHRH

            You are right, things shoodn’t change.

          11. curtissumpter

            Nope. Things should change. But they should change with the collective good in mind.People often like to present change in a binary form. “Everything has to go this way or there will be nothing.” That’s not true at all. You can strike a balance. This was not balanced. This was all one sided.

          12. JamesHRH

            I have seen estimates that say the sate and city just lost $19B in future tax revenue.Many very astute observers of economics here say the list of spin on benefits is almost endless.$19B is a lot of ‘Collective good’ lost. I am sure Newark & NJ will enjoy spreading it around.

          13. curtissumpter

            I don’t know where you’re getting your analysis. 19BB over what period of time? Can you post an article? Because I read it was 30BB and then it was 27BB after the break. It was 700 employees in the beginning but it was going to grow to 25K. There’s a huge delta between what was supposed to be and what is.And please let’s not act like these deals aren’t ridden with failure. There is a very long history of very very bad corporate giveaways.And you still fail to address the primary point. It wasn’t about taxes.It was about people’s homes. Or are you ignoring them because they don’t matter to you.

          14. JamesHRH

            I will agree that these deals are hard to pin down and not always successful.You seem to define Collective Good as ‘people who have homes in LIC’. I define it as NYC & the state of NY.That seems to be the divide.Stop saying shit like ‘that comment is beneath this blog’ & ‘ you don’t care about these people’.The first is arrogant AF. The second is outright BS – you don’t know them or care about them either. Neither of us has lived there in the last decade!AMZN is absolutely throwing its weight around. That is one of the benefits of being an incredibly customer focused growth machine.I would prefer it if you just said ‘ I hate that really economically powerful people get treated differently. ‘People who play team sports get it. The best player gets a little slack but should not get tons of slack. That’s unfair and bad for the team culture.We are probably just disagreeing on the slack AMZN was getting and the benefits it would produce.

          15. curtissumpter

            First of all comments insinuate that “New York is going to become Detroit if you don’t take AMZN” are beneath this blog.Second, I go to that area at least twice a week. I’m much more familiar with it than I’m sure you are. My girlfriend works there so thanks for your uninformed opinion.Third, I don’t care that rich people get treated differently. I get that that happens.Let me say again for the twenty-seventh time: There are people there! They will be displaced! There’s an entire article about the rapid gentrification that was happening there!…This article outlines it very carefully. I care about NY State but I care more about my city. It’s where I live. It’s where I grew up. I know New Yorkers. I am concerned for these people. I don’t care about the difference in benefits. I care about that these people were going to lose their homes. Like people in West Harlem, or East Harlem, or in Williamsburg, or in Clinton Hill or in Bed-Stuy or in … do I have to keep going???

          16. JamesHRH

            Nope, you don’t.And I made no such insinuation. I made the most obvious reference to what can happen when you ignore your tax base.I drove the I94 in December 2013. The road was not plowed and the lights were off on the section that was inside the City of Detroit limits. On either end, road plowed and lit.Detroit is just the best reminder that a city serves its citizens from its tax base.

          17. curtissumpter

            New York has a tax base. We have an annual budget of 93BB/yr. If AMZN added 1BB/yr it’d be 94BB, a very small increase.We don’t need to destroy an entire neighborhood that’s moving upscale quite nicely all on its own.We don’t need massive displacement in order to secure our tax base. We’re fine.There were other ways to do this. They chose not to do it that way. Now they’re gone.I wouldn’t recommend this approach to other cities but we are uniquely suited to do so.…And we did. And it’s a good thing. Maybe now when large entities want to come here they’ll go through the public process and actually make a plan to say: how do we make sure extreme displacement isn’t visited on a small group of people in the name of ‘progress’. Maybe they’ll actually take humanity, local humanity, into consideration.

  13. Till Richter

    In Berlin, Germany, we kind of had a similar public debate polarising a lot. Google tried to open a subsidy in Kreuzberg, a district well known for its multi-cultural, alternative, not as trashy anymore, lifestyle. Thing is, Kreuzberg changed a lot – for people always lived here not inherently to the better – and that is frightening people living here (e.g. gentrification, expensive living). The solution seemed to be, that Google committed to finance social entrepreneurship on spot (e.g. paying rent for organisations like betterplace or karuna which are now neighbors) and other social and public projects.

  14. JoeK

    Fred, your opening line creates the misleading impression that Gianaris and co do not want Amazon in NYC, when their objection is to the tax breaks.Blog post suggestion – the $2B Wilson challenge.Assuming that NYC and NYS decided to pony up the $2B and offered it to you to invest in NYC based startups, over a 10 year period, do you think you could bring as much value as Amazon will?

    1. curtissumpter

      That is a brilliant point.

      1. kidmercury

        definitely. comment of the day goes to @bfromkansas:disqus , everyone else better luck next time

        1. fredwilson


          1. JoeK

            Fred, I’m not suggesting the government turning into a VC. I’m genuinely curious about whether you think $2B in the hands of a NYC based VC fund, like yourself, could deliver as much value as Amazon will bring.

          2. fredwilson

            No. Not a chance. 25,000 high tech jobs in Queens at a time when we are educating every public school child in NYC how to code seems like exactly the combination of things to open opportunities to the rest of NYC. That is why I don’t get why progressives don’t see this as opportunity for their constituents and their children. I am so upset that we don’t understand basic economics in NYC politics

          3. kidmercury

            your ROI calculations are seriously misguided. some janitor in queens doesn’t give AF about any of that stuff when rent prices go up and cheap food gets replaced by expensive food. any ROI calculation that ignores this is essentially saying the janitor’s concerns are not applicable. if this were an organization besides a public government i think that viewpoint could have merit.

          4. falicon

            Amazon will be big player in the area but not big enough to be the primary driver of price…that’s NYC as a whole. Prices are going up like crazy no matter what…you want to deal via new jobs and opps or try to deal with same old same old?

          5. kidmercury

            first the geography in quesiton is not all of NYC but just LIC. and yes, as this article suggests, the price increase can be attributed primarily to amazon.regarding the “this is what happens when you bring in new jobs argument”:1. to a certain extent this is true, but how fair is it for hte city to give all these tax breaks to amazon to bring about this reality? and who pays for the tax breaks?2. government needs to understand this effect and take measures to counter it. examples include: stimulus to the lower end (not amazon); education programs to help train local workers for opportunities in increasingly knowledge economies; social programs that help connect cognitive and non-cognitive social classes so that organic connections and opportunities can naturally be made.we the city doing none of that. instead, we see a bribe for amazon, and the rich and highly educated tech elite by and large acting like it’s the greatest thing in the world.

          6. falicon

            The reason the prices were what they were in LIC is because there was nothing really there (the biggest draw was the quick commute to the city — and b/c of that it still prices most people out).Putting anything of reasonable value into the area was going to spike the prices into line with what the other parts of the NYC area are (primarily Brooklyn and Manhattan).The other option was let it continue to drain of all activity and business…prices stay flat b/c there is no interest…and then eventually, b/c there is also no upside the people age out or move out (to chase opp)…and so it goes down anyway.There is nothing perfect about the system…it’s just the way it currently works. You can swim with the current and use that to your advantage, or you can fight the current and try to make it up stream…in this case, I believe flowing with the stream is the wiser short term play (with solid long term outcomes).

          7. kidmercury

            the “hey nothing you can do, it’s all good attitude” works great for you and i and most of this audience that will very much profit from something like this when it happens to our locale. alas, we are not the entire population, and i doubt a simple shrug does anything but earn us distrust and dislike from those on the other side of the divide.

          8. falicon

            I don’t think I was saying just shrug it off…I was trying to say there are battles to fight and there are battles to concede. In this case, I believe the *smart* play was to concede and try to figure out a way to benefit from the clearly broken system.Instead – the battle cry was loud and heard widely…so the deal falls through…but let’s see if the *actual* battle occurs or if, more likely, nothing about the system gets fixed AND nobody gets any benefits from this now “non action”.But I hear you about the other side of the divide. There are no easy, no-effort, no-pain, ways for us all to move the economy and society forward…we won’t all like it and we won’t all make it. Sadly.

          9. JamesHRH

            The other side does not exist.Amazon not coming. Now, all Gothamites on the same side.The outside.

          10. kidmercury

            those with non-cognitive tasks who are not property owners are “the other side.” and they clearly won today. they won the battle, but more importantly, they are setting the stage for better representation in future battles, which hopefully will result in mutual victory.

          11. JamesHRH

            Are you suggesting that people who work with their hands have a right to live in certain locations?

          12. kidmercury

            no. i am suggesting incentives that tax the poor more are regressive, and that in the long-term, they benefit no one. perhaps implicit in this suggestion is that non-information workers have the same representative rights from their respective government that knowledge workers do.

          13. JamesHRH

            I think leadership is about building the pie.Putting groups against each other is death.Leaders have to be able to look everyone in the eye and say ‘This is the right decision for the future of all of us. ‘American society has a Narcissism Crisis. Everybody is only about themselves.

          14. kidmercury

            telling people that rich people (amazon) get to have tax breaks is better for society is economically and morally bankrupt, especially in a society already teetering on economic in point, you can give the tax breaks to the poor and create stimulus this way — they have more money to spend, which in turn boosts demand and investment capital, which in turn creates jobs…..bribing rich companies is not the only way to create jobs, and is probalby not the best way. but it is perhaps hte most glamorous.

          15. JamesHRH

            You are describing Europe.I am a balanced centrist .Amazon has the hammer. New Yorkers are being naive, given current realities, to walk them.

          16. kidmercury

            No I’m not describing Europe. I’m asking for a society with proportional tax rates. The Amazon defenders are asking for trickle down economics, which is more bluntly referred to as fascism or corporatism.

          17. sigmaalgebra

            The floors will still need cleaning. The janitors will still get at least minimum wage. I hope the janitors do well — maybe they will.

          18. JamesHRH

            Think I will go w Freddy on ROI calculations Kid.

          19. kidmercury

            no worries, we’re all wrong sometimes. 🙂

          20. JamesHRH

            You’re the best Kid.But I am, actually, never wrong 😉

          21. sigmaalgebra

            You REALLY believe that those NYC kids will actually have good careers in computing? I’m reticent.E.g., early in my career around DC, at one time I sent a few resumes and in two weeks went on seven interviews and got five solid offers, each at annual salary about 5 times what a new, high end Camaro cost. When I left an AI project at IBM/s Watson lab in Yorktown Heights, I sent 1000+ resume copies and got back only zip, zilch, and zero. I was 100% absolutely, positively unemployable for ANYTHING in computing and with that resume for ANYTHING at all, not even as a janitor, a job I WOULD have taken.Now the situation in computing is much worse — the strong determination is to turn computing into gig work for HxB immigrants from India and China. No US citizen need apply.Computing for US citizens is DEAD, gone, kaput, deliberately killed off. One reason US computing was killed off for US citizens was how well US citizens could do in computing in the early years of my career. Some enormously powerful forces deliberately did economic engineering to kill off my career. Maybe there still has been some opportunities for US citizens near DC due to the need for high end security clearances which need US citizenship and, really, native born.In computing, I can still be an entrepreneur, do a startup, and there I have some huge advantages, not just because I’m darned good in computing but also because of my math. But there’s NO WAY I’ll ever be hired as an employee in computing. And you believe that those poor kids in NYC will have good careers in computing? IMHO they’d be MUCH better off in the trades.

          22. Think_Deeper

            If these kids learn how to code well and can qualify for a job programming then location does not matter. Being able to work remotely is one of the perks of being a good programmer.

          23. markslater

            nail. head. this is insane that they are letting AMZN leave IMHO

          24. fredwilson

            Plus the government gets a guarnaguar ROI on this of something like 10x when you look at the incremental tax revenues. VC might generate 3X if it is invested well

          25. JoeK

            But that is only if you ignore the incremental tax revenues that VC investments generate. The median tenure at Amazon is around 1 year. And half those jobs are not tech jobs. So a fair comparison is something closer to 10,000 tech jobs over 10 years, with the employees paying city/state taxes but the companies themselves returning zero (as Amazon barely pays any taxes themselves).YC’s top 100 companies have created 28000 jobs. I am not yet convinced that Amazon’s number is so incredibly high that other forms of investment do not bring comparable value.

          26. Mac

            In the early 90’s. from top to bottom, and around the state, many of us were basically vilified for wanting to give BMW a ‘first of it’s kind’ tax break to build a US manufacturing facility in South Carolina. The resulting influx of peripheral businesses, into that region, has created the largest boom in the history our state. With textile jobs quickly being shipped overseas, the state stepped up to provide more tech training and employment opportunities to support this decision.The Greenville/Spartanburg corridor is now one of the fastest growing areas in the South. Along with Michelin, tech companies and remote college campuses are rapidly moving in to meet demand. It’s been a boom for the state in many respects; not just tax revenues.

          27. Kirsten Lambertsen

            Was there a housing shortage in Greenville/Spartanburg before BMW came along?

          28. Mac

            Good question. If there was, I never heard. Based solely on personal observations, and having grown up in that area of the state, known as the Piedmont, the growth in new house and apartment construction amazes me every time I return.Interestingly, the region reminded the BMW employees, who made the move to South Carolina, of their homeland. I would suspect that that provided some motivation.

          29. sigmaalgebra

            WOW! I long thought that SC got totally ripped off by the US State Department helping Pukistan get going in textiles. Good to hear that BMW, etc. is making progress.

          30. Mac

            I’m not sure of the impact Pakistan had. My co-founder at the time was also the President of the South Carolina Textile Manufacturers Association. He used to complain about the Caribbean Basin Textile Access Program (807) where US textile were sent offshore where the sewing and assembly was cheaper. That, combined with the effects of imports from China and Mexico, saw huge drops in the workforce for both textile and apparel companies. Not sure what impact Pakistan specifically had back then.He labored hard to get the BMW deal through. Also, as a member of the State Development Board, he saw this as a Win-Win for the state. He was right. BMW has made huge strides in the boom we’ve experienced in that region of SC. Thanks for the thumbs up.

          31. JamesHRH

            Game, set & match.

      2. fredwilson

        No it is an idiotic point as I explained in my reply above

        1. JamesHRH

          See, think of comments as a public service!!

          1. fredwilson

            They can be. For sure. Helped a young man deal with his struggles in college. That got my attention

          2. Mac


        2. curtissumpter

          The point is not about the government turning into a VC. I think everybody knows that’s not going to happen. The point is about resource allocation. Can those resources be allocated in a way that doesn’t damage the existing community? Can other companies be created that do well and do good or is the only option massive displacement, skyrocketing real estate values, and as Seattle said constantly (a city that actually has real experience with Amazon) a prosperity bomb? Or is the City of Seattle missing the point as well?

    2. fredwilson

      I prefer programs like this that are available to every company without exception to the very bad idea of turning government into a VC

      1. JamesHRH

        Track record has your back here.

      2. Think_Deeper

        Governments are practically VC, they just invest categories most VC’s do not, i.e. Sports Teams (Stadium). These investments in stadiums are speculative, not vital and are not used by most of the residents. For instance majority of people living NYC probably don’t care for baseball yet we have two baseball stadiums.

        1. markslater

          they are really shit VCs – they do horrible diligence, allow all sorts of skews in to their investment decisions, Allow their investment $ to get in the wrong hands, base quality of teams on quantity of donations, have completely poor outcomes mostly and us poor LPs are non the wiser.

    3. JamesHRH

      I’ll answer for you: No.Having worked in an incomplete tech startup community, I can tell you that the huge talent attracting ‘anchor tenant’ company is 80% of the success requirements for a community to become world class.Dell – Austin becomes tech hub.MS – Seattle becomes tech hub.HP – Valley becomes tech hub.There is way more talent in Houston than Austin. The tech scene here is amateur hour. Incubators / community shared spaces led by someone who built a nice photography busienss. 1 VC of note.The energy scene? World class.The medical / cancer research scene? Thanks to MD Anderson alone, world class.Worth every dime.

      1. Elia Freedman

        We are dealing with this exact same issue in Portland.

        1. JamesHRH

          Uber is founded by Garrett Camp. He founded StumbleUpon as a grad student at the University of Calgary, his hometownHe became a billionaire while living in SFO. Why?A magnet company like Amazon will make NYC a tech hub, which, despite what is currently happening, is not the case now.Portland will never get there until it has a home grown megaCo.

          1. markslater

            totally agree – cant believe they let this one get away.Here in boston one of our bigger problems is our talent drain – we are the number 1 education city in the world and would benefit massively from having them as an anchor tennant to match up with our pool. There is talk her now that the city is going to make a move…..iMHO its very short cited of the politicians to allow AMZN to back out.Look at seattle. The AMZN is a thriving 15 block city that has totally changed the landscape.I’m gonna hazard a guess and say that AMZN alum have gone on to build many many successful startups in seattle and likely employee north of 50K people in aggregate.urban airship, redfin,, are all alum founded – and there are untold others startups that have benefited from and employ alum in seattle.AMZN locating in any city would have a series of network effects on the area for years to come. Lost completely on the politicians.

      2. Rob K

        Having been a VC in Austin in the late 90s and early 00’s, I can tell you that Dell’s growth had little to do with Austin’s success. Dell didn’t really attract software people, and hardly any of the tech successes of that time (which led to the current success of Austin) were spin outs from Dell.

        1. JamesHRH

          I don’t know Austin well. Just picked it.Spin outs aren’t the idea. Motherships or research or operations attracting top talent who then step out into a community with funding experience is the key.

    4. Kirsten Lambertsen

      I think it’s possible the tax breaks would have been acceptable if the deal would have included protection for unions, requirements to hire *local*, rent-stabilization, and other balancing features that would help ensure that the deal is indeed a ‘win-win.’ And I think it’s still possible that everyone could be happier if the city and state revisit and address these types of issues.

      1. Gayatri Sarkar

        Excellent comment

        1. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Thanks :o)

      2. Dan T

        that would have required politicians with critical thinking brains . .

      3. JamesHRH

        This is one of those ideas that sounds great but doesn’t work. Guarantees reduce performance. AMZN would never do it & shiuldn’t.

    5. Captainda

      I think what you are not understanding is that it is not a $2B giveaway or even a $2B up front investment. There is no $2B sitting around that the government is going to “pony up” to them. For the most part, Amazon has to FIRST meet certain performance objectives (jobs, tax revenue, etc) and then they will get incentives/tax breaks/grants/credits back. It is nothing like a VC-style investment which is typically much riskier and comparing it to one is silly.

      1. JoeK

        People on this forum generally understand what they are talking about, difference of opinion or not, please assume that next time. I did not say that New York had written Amazon a single check. But now that you bring it up, every time a 150k developer opts to move from Acme software in NYC to Amazon in NYC, over the next decade, NY would effectively write Amazon an annual check for at least $4800. Heck, if it not money, why not offer them $100B in tax credits for 5 years?

        1. Captainda

          My point is this is not the same as VC’s (or NY) taking 2B and investing it in start-ups which the analogy you provided. In that case, they could lose their entire investment. It’s not even close to that. In fact, most of it is tax breaks AFTER they have generated tax revenue to the government. Most VC’s would kill to have this deal.

    6. tolstoy77

      That’s absolutely incorrect. I’m a stringent and vocal supporter of both Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez. Both have not only mentioned the tax breaks but also brought up points that these 25k jobs that Amazon would have brought would have been on avg $150k each. That means income stratification at a level never before seen in LIC. This will cause havoc to all the families who will eventually get pushed out of their housing due to sky rocketing rent. Take a look at SF. We must at all costs avoid this.

  15. kidmercury

    fred, i know you are not going to be convinced, but neither is the other side that is focused on the negatives that amazon will bring — and they absolutely, 100% without question, will bring substantial negatives like homelessness. the optics of rich tech urbanites with fancy degrees supporting amazon and refusing to acknowledge any downside are not going to be especially favorable.a fantastic book for bridging the gap in this conversation is…the basic idea is that as amazon comes in it will increasingly segregate the cognitive class (knowledge workers) from the non-cognitive class, not only by pricing the non-cogs out but also by isolating them so that they lack the opportunity to enter the cognitive class. social constructs should focus on bridging this gap rather than giving amazon all the tax breaks.for anyone reading i’m not trying to offend anyone with these terms, if the term non-cognitive is offensive pick another, we are all humans and deserve equal rights, blah blah blah, we do need words to describe the situation clearly though so pick what you want

    1. fredwilson

      That only happens in a vacuum. But we are investing in the future of our kids in the NYC public school system with CS4All .These kids, largely black and Hispanic, many on free lunch programs, stand to benefit from these jobs coming to NYC. It would be criminal not to give them that opportunity!!!!

      1. kidmercury

        your work with cs4all is great. i don’t think anyone can seriously dispute the intent. the issue is that government dollars are going to amazon, and amazon’s impact will, 100% without question barring substantial policy change, exacerbate income inequality and price people out of homes. relying on charity to solve this problem is poor. government should maintain the social contract and balance of society and thus it should think about this before bribing amazon.

        1. Emil Sotirov

          Kid… on this issue, you’re smarter than most on this thread… including Fred. People don’t get the difference between economics and politics. Politics is another layer of concerns, motivations, and reasoning. Economic reductionism (starting with Marx and embraced by market fundamentalists) is either bad thinking or purposefully pushed to the “masses” as explain-all, justify-all brainwashing. Fred’s case is bad thinking.

      2. sigmaalgebra

        Information technology is so unstable it is not a good candidate for a career.IMHO the girls would be much better off in health care, e.g., nursing, medical technology, or K-12 teaching, The boys would be better off in the trades, truck driving, finish carpentry, plumbing, as an electrician, especially if they can have a good union.Currently there is deep and profound bitterness from the Koch brothers, etc. about information technology workers being able to get paid well enough to buy a house and support a family and, thus, are pushing HARD, as has been the case for many years now, to flood the US with computer programmers from India and China and turning computing careers into migrant labor doing short term gigs. A lot of workers in the trades do a lot better now. A unionized worker for an electric utility does much better.

      3. Richard

        Criminal? That’s a little off the reservation wouldn’t you say? These kids can do what generation after generation have done before them, get a resume together, write a cover letter, send it to a company in need to coders and MOVE.

      4. Rob K

        Did you expect that most of the 25K jobs would be filled by blacks and hispanics? That is well outside Amazon’s current hiring demographic.

  16. Pointsandfigures

    Chicago, Illinois would welcome Amazon with open arms. I’ll even buy Bezos some local pro team sports jerseys with the #2 on them.The one problem with the corporate sweepstakes (and Amazon isn’t the only one going on) is the tax giveaways. If Amazon gets them, shouldn’t Goldman get them even though Goldman is already there?

    1. JamesHRH

      No, b/c GS would have to threaten to move out. They have sunk costs.

  17. toddgeist

    I think we are at the beginning of what will stand in for the Labor movement that started in the last major industrial revolution. People are rightly or wrongly beginning to question the need for the richest guy in the world to get more tax breaks.I understand that there are good arguments and even the data that shows the positive economic impact a deal like this could bring. But all across the globe people are deciding that rich are getting richer by exploiting them, selling them, or automating away their jobs. Once that becomes the dominant story, deals like this die.I am reminded of two quotes.The PitchForks are Coming for us Plutocrats – Nick Hanauer…the Hamptons are not a defensible position. The Hamptons are on a low-lying beach. Eventually the people will come for you.” – Mark Blyth on the Brexit vote and TrumpismOk so these quotes are perhaps a little more violent than necessary. But they make the point. The people are reaching the conclusion that the system is rigged in favor of Jeff Bezos’s of the world and has been for decades.I think the days of the general populace believing in the story that rich guys getting tax breaks is good for everyone are over.

    1. JamesHRH

      The system is rigged in favour of people who value money over other things.‘The people’ are just some liberal sore losers. Academia is the worst, because they think that being ‘academics/smart’ should provide them with the most $.Um, nope.Love the Hamptons quote – has to be true to be truly funny.Arte Moreno is a billboard billionaire. Who the fuck wants to sell people billboard space? It turns out, people who want money more than anything else. Arte being Mexican/American, Vietnam vet didn’t seem to be an issue in the super rigged system we have.

  18. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Preface: I don’t have a dog in this fight.The argument against the Amazon deal seems to be about the impact it will have on housing costs, more than anything else. Maybe the alumni of CS4All will be able to afford the neighborhood, but their parents won’t be able to any more.So, it would be interesting to understand why those concerns are in your view irresponsible, especially given the history of tragic gentrification in NYC.

    1. Dennis Mykytyn

      “tragic gentrification”? Are you kidding? How long have you been in NYC? Tragic was the City in the 70s and early 80s.I first moved to the East Village in 1981. Dozens of building in Alphabet City were abandoned by landlords unable to collect enough rent to pay the taxes. Drug dealers took them over and built reinforced bunkers to sell drugs out of, as even the cops didn’t dare go east of Avenue A unless in force. My landlord used to sweep the crack vials off my building’s sidewalk on St Marks Place every morning (he used bleach to clean up the blood from the knifings and shootings). The murder rate was 10x what it is now.The reduction in crime and economic growth in a city benefits all. Rent stabilization has kept rents affordable for many. Stagnation of neighborhoods is not a good thing.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        Hey Dennis. Nice to meet you. I feel honored that I’m one of the only people you chose to engage with here today.I moved to NYC in 1989. I too lived in the East Village. I worked in Hell’s Kitchen and stepped over junkies and heroine needles every day. Now that we’re done comparing our bonafides, something that’s great and important to do the first time you meet someone on the Internet…Maybe “gentrification” wasn’t quite accurate. How about just out and out destruction of neighborhoods by our old friend, Robert Moses? Ever heard of him? I’m attaching a photo of pre-MSG Penn Station for reference. The other picture is of the Bronx before the expressway. Finally, Pike and Henry streets before the Projects went in.Why would you infer that I was advocating for stagnation of neighborhoods? There is something in between, no? Perhaps there’s something that doesn’t displace the very people who make the city a culturally rich, charming and somewhat magical experience? That something could have still involved Amazon, btw. https://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.chttps://uploads.disquscdn.c

    2. Richard

      We figure out how to disincentivize housing price inflation and multihome ownership and we solve 95% of all problems of middle income Americans.Is “dog in the fight” still culturally acceptable.

      1. Kirsten Lambertsen

        It wouldn’t be acceptable to my cousin whom I love like a sister. So, yeah. Time for me to rethink using that term. Plenty of other options available. I appreciate you pointing it out!

      2. Michael Elling

        It’s called equilibrism. Can be applied broadly to all networked ecosystems; which incidentally not only applies to all socio-economic and political institutions and frameworks (human inventions) but everything in the cosmos. It’s a system of incentives and disincentives that better clears marginal supply and marginal demand. I’m testing it in a gigabit access network in the S. Bronx, but believe equilibrism can be extended to all networks.

  19. Kirsten Lambertsen

    You left out Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who has raised concerns about the plan, and who happens to be running for president.

    1. Kirsten Lambertsen

      And who has a seriously good name, if I do say so myself.

    2. sigmaalgebra

      She’s also losing weight. If she lets her hair grow and fixes it up, does well with makeup and clothes, and SMILES, she will be unusually pretty for her age.> who has raised concernsYup, that she has done on whatever, but I wish she’d do that about the costs and dangers of the open southern border.Since I’m for Trump, I hope she gets the nomination!!!

      1. johnmccarthy

        what a sexist remark

        1. JamesHRH

          Siggy just sees it as stating facts.No empathy for the context free?;-)

        2. sigmaalgebra

          Gee, maybe it would be better if I’d said she was as ugly as mole rat, had her hair in place with goo from very dirty motor oil, was dumb enough to want to build a railroad from California to Hawaii, and had teeth that would let her eat corn off a cob on the other side of Trump’s wall? I’m trying to stay up to date. That would’ve been better?My experience is that US human females starting from before able to walk are thrilled to look pretty, commonly work very hard at it all their lives, and take great pride in their accomplishments and complements!For Senator Gillibrand, since I’m in NYS and she is one of my Senators, at times I’ve noticed on her Senate Web page some photographs of her that have her just drop dead gorgeous, for her age or any age. Uh, I’m partial to, say, the North Sea!I’m sure she worked at it. Since by my eyeballs — I have an excellent, 200 THz, 200K core, autonomous visual peripheral processor for human females able to do quite accurate evaluations 500 yards away, based on multivariate polynomials instead of neural nets, on any moonless night, pitch black, heavy fog, in less than 2 ns — she’s been losing weight, I conclude she’s trying to look her best!Time out to adjust the right tweeter moved by vibrations from an excellent performance of Wagner’s “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey”!!! Ah, in the actual performances, those Rhinemaidens really help the stage look good!Clearly our FLOTUS is doing well looking good! Donald picked VERY WELL, indeed.I usually don’t pay attention to woman’s fashions, you understand, but what she wore with the visitors from Columbia, PINK, as in pretty in, with fur around the wrists, made her a dream. At times I bought pretty clothes for my wife. When I was 14 I used some grass mowing money to buy a pretty sweater for my GF, just 12, still the prettiest human female I’ve ever seen, in person or otherwise, but her mother, after long consideration, made the girl decline the gift! Dressed like our FLOTUS was in pink, that girl would have been irresistible for lots of extra hugs and kisses time!!Gee, I have to thank you! I’d assumed that “sexist” was an insult. But since you applied that to my complement for Gillibrand, I stand corrected. Pleasantly so — I’ll try to be as sexist as possible!!!! Great day!! I’m sexist!!! Thanks!!!For Melania, she visited some Marines, smiled, and shook some hands! I suspect the next day the Marine recruiting offices were flooded with big, strong, super healthy, astoundingly good athlete US MALES!! Ah, I’m no athlete!But for POTUS in 2020, I suspect I’ll be voting for Donald and not Gillibrand or even totally world class, way off the tops of the charts, unbelievable, sweet and gorgeous, pretty in pink, FANTASTIC with children Melania!!!!!But my remark was sexist? Good; thanks for correcting me!

        3. Kirsten Lambertsen

          Glad I can’t see it 😉 Can highly recommend it.

  20. Tom Labus

    Let’s hope NYC has reassured AMZN that they will be a most welcome addition to the NYC landscape. Seeing them move on at this point would be economically insane.and a huge loss for NYC..

  21. Carlos N Velez/Lacerta Bio

    In my view, politicians like Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez are being irresponsible and reckless in their opposition to Amazon while playing politics with something that is without question good for NYC, good for Queens, and good for their voters. Their voters know it and so should they.Interesting that you should say this. AOC is doing the same thing with the pharmaceutical industry. She’s participating in Congressional hearings questioning academics about the pharma industry, yet it’s clear she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. I’m all for Congressional investigations and inquiries, but politicians need to understand the facts before forming and espousing an opinion.They’re essentially running for re-election, not representing their voter’s interests.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > politicians need to understand the facts before forming and espousing an opinion.If only that were true!!!

  22. ccn

    What i find interesting is that Fred (a liberal) is giving his opinion and disagreement against Gianaris and others like Ocasio-Cortez (far-left liberals) and the comment section for the most part is debating along facts and viewpoints. I dont think this would be the case if Fred was a conservative, “sorry Fred” and liberals. Why cant we have the same type of discussions across all differing viewpoints? A healthy debate never hurt anyone.

    1. fredwilson

      it took Nixon to go to China. it will take a liberal to knock some sense into liberals

      1. JamesHRH

        An all time comment.Back with your A game!

        1. Mac

          LOL!! I wonder if Fred will be OK if we quote him on that in future posts.

    2. JamesHRH

      You are wrong there.There is a Mad Men scene where Pete Campbell rips a melting Don Draper with ‘ You know the deal, from they first meeting until the sign the contract, everything is perfect here!!!!!! ‘I think it is after the classic Hershey’s meltdown.

  23. JH

    Surprised nobody has mentioned that NYC got played like a fiddle by Bezos. There was never a decision. LIC was the winner all along, but the pretense of an open bid maximized the incentives Amazon was offered. It was an unethical approach IMO.What’s going on now is political theater.

    1. johnmccarthy

      And Amazon has now walked out before the 1st act started. Way to go!

  24. Lawrence Brass

    Is it a HQ building or a warehouse?Move it near JFK! Integrate it with the JFK airport renovation project. Will Amazon have its own jet cargo fleet as Fedex in the future?Still Queens. They can even invite AOC to the inauguration.Bezos will miss the amazing views over the city, though. Happy Valentines for those who celebrate.

  25. Tom Labus

    Being reported now amzn has moved on from nyc. What a waste

    1. fredwilson


      1. markslater

        absolutely insane on so many levels. Selfishly, i hope boston now steps up big-time and goes after a piece of this – its the perfect anchor tennant to combat our brain drain…..But seriously – NYC? wtf????? if stories are true….AOC just went from interesting to watch to….dangerously ignorant.

        1. Rob K

          Boston area unemployment is 2.3%. What brain drain?

    2. sachmo

      And this is how you snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  26. Ian Fellows

    I’m Californian, so I don’t know much about the NY plan, but Fred seems very dismissive in the comments here (to the point of calling people idiots). From what I read, it is 1.7B from the state and 1.3B from the city (https://www.democratandchro…. And the 1.3B doesn’t seem to be “open to anybody.”Philosophically I don’t generally support corporate welfare. It’s not desirable for us to prop up large profitable companies. Sure, it could be a boon to NYC but absent tax giveaways they may have decided to locate there anyway.It is in some ways analogous to prisoner’s dilemma. Each city/state would be better off if no-one provided relocation tax giveaways, but if one locale defects then they stand to gain significant economic benefit.

    1. fredwilson

      the people i am calling idiots are not in the comments. they are the people who pushed Amazon away from NYC. i am so pissed off right now

      1. Ian Fellows

        It certainly seemed like you called @bfromkansas:disqus (or at least his comment) idiotic. I know that would sting if I were on the receiving end.

        1. JamesHRH

          Add some layers to your epidermis.It makes life more fun!!!

      2. JoeK

        The President of the United States rants about Amazon on a weekly basis and Jeff Bezos has made it clear that he could not care less. Are we supposed to believe that despite the backing of the Governor and Mayor, a few state politicians had the clout to nix a deal that the majority of polled citizens supported? Bezos just fleeced NY big time, you should be upset with him.

      3. JamesHRH

        You never called anyone an idiot.You called a point of argument idiotic.People have their feels on today.

    2. JamesHRH

      Have you ever wondered why the Prisoner’s dilemma is so compelling?

      1. Ian Fellows

        Probably because it is the simplest application of game theory that yields a counter-intuitive strategy. One that leaves the players demonstrably worst off than they could have been. It’s also interesting because the application of repeated games changes the strategy to favor cooperation. But probably most importantly it gives insight into real world problems that require decision making among multiple competing interests.

        1. JamesHRH

          All excellent answers.I think it is the simplest description ever of the nature of human nature.

  27. sigmaalgebra

    Sounds good, especially that the people in Queens like the Amazon plans.But:(1) Is Amazon really going to do something significantly good for Queens, or are they really just hoping to make money in a real estate deal, e.g., mostly lease out the space for years?(2) Would the Amazon activity really be technical and, thus, help Queens become more technical or just old, low tech, back office style paper pushing?E.g., Jeff and Amazon have plenty of ability to buy nearly anything, e.g., Whole Foods, start their own package delivery system competing with FedEx, etc. But what the heck is Amazon going to do with Whole Foods? How the heck does Bezos believe that he can do significantly better for Amazon with his own version of FedEx when FedEx has lots more operating experience, huge capex in place, and much better economies of scale? Are the pre-tax earnings of FedEx really THAT big?I have next to no information on any of the Queens deal and have no dog in this fight, e.g., don’t care one way or the other about the NYS give away to Amazon, but just wonder if in fact the deal would be anywhere nearly as good for Queens as the people there hope or even good for them at all. That is, net. if I were in Queens, I’d “Measure twice and saw once.”.Also we should worry that not enough people in Queens know what is good for Queens and themselves: I.e., since AOC was mentioned, we have to notice that the AOC congressional district HAD a long time serving and, thus, no doubt quite powerful and influential, considered for Speaker, Congressman but now instead has a bad joke for a representative that is embarrassing even the Democrats and EVEN Pelosi and maybe is being told to f’get about any important committee assignments and, basically, to shut up, find a quiet corner, sit there, and pass her two years. Queens HAD lots of power and influence — going from a candidate for Speaker to AOC is a HUGE slide down an icy mountain.I have no sympathy for AOC and had my say inhttp://themusingsofthebigre…– heck I like Trump and, thus, have to like AOC as someone who stands to get Trump and the Republicans maybe 5 million more votes in 2020 — but I can have some sympathy for the people of Queens. As JLM has covered well, not a lot of people in Queens voted, and AOC’s margin was thin in all of number of votes, percent of votes cast, and especially fraction of registered voters. Still, Queens lost out big league.

  28. johnmccarthy

    Well, that was a major missed opportunity.

  29. Lawrence Brass

    Welcome to the bar. Grab a chair. Everything is for sale. 🙂

    1. mplsvbhvr

      Except LIC apparently >_<

  30. curtissumpter

    @fredwilson:disqus You had to know this decision was coming down the pike. You obviously feel very strongly emotionally (and logically) about this?Why would you post this today? Why would you subject yourself to this kind of emotional abuse? I thought this was a logical argument. But I should’ve known. You used the word ‘idiot’ alot which I’ve never heard you use before.Sorry Fred. I know it won’t bring Amazon back but sorry for the disappointment.

    1. JamesHRH

      Fred has bottom up great feel. It’s a coincidence that happens to him all the time.

  31. Gayatri Sarkar

    Amazon already have Bezos affair and National Enquirer drama to deal with. It has a bigger impact with Mueller investigations. There is already too much backlash from public which they can’t afford right now under this tense political climate about to come. They have a bigger FISH to FRY.

  32. Richard

    Fred, I’m not surprised. I’m old enough to remember when AOC was a freshman congress person who tried to pass all types of irresponsible and reckless legislation.

  33. sachmo

    Strange… my earlier comments are being marked as spam.

  34. Entrepreneur

    This is what you get with low information voters and populist politicians with no experience and thus are not qualified for their role. The people of Queens did the right thing and the region in general are the ones who lose w Amazon moving on. They did an outstanding job of luring Amazon. All for nothing. What a shame.

  35. Collin

    I’m glad this happened. Someone needed to stand up to these corporate shakedowns that do not ever work out for taxpayers. The only people who benefit are the owners of the mega companies. Look at Foxconn in Wisconsin. Look at virtually every “economic development” agreement.If Amazon wants to be in NYC, they’re more than welcome. They can pay their tax bill like the rest of us.

    1. JamesHRH

      Well, you got your wish.Folks in Nashville going to be smiling.

      1. Richard

        Folks in Nashville are always smiling

  36. Salt Shaker

    The two biggest areas of growth for AMZN are AWS and their advertising biz. NYC is the capital of the ad biz (wrt managed dollars), while the city’s tech talent pool is quite robust (albeit more expensive). The notion AMZN was only going to fund their high growth lines of businesses in NYC w/ concessions is ludicrous. They may not add 25K jobs, but investment in the city will be substantive by necessity alone. Why do you think NYC was chosen in the first place? They can’t afford not to be here.

    1. sigmaalgebra

      > NYC is the capital of the ad biz (wrt managed dollars)So for the companies with ad networks for the ads for the Web site of my startup, I’ll be working with people in NYC? Gee, I was guessing CA or some such. Okay. If I have to meet them one on one, easier to drive into NYC than fly to CA.

      1. Salt Shaker

        Didn’t mean to be that literal, obv. ads are bought and sold from anywhere, but more ad dollars planned, bought and sold out of nyc. Also, once the Green New Deal plan is approved, you won’t be able to fly to CA 🙂

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Thanks!Yup, as I wrote Fred, once again AVC helps my startup!Yup, for my startup there’s stuff (A) I know and (B) I don’t, and for (B) AVC does!

  37. Dennis Mykytyn

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the general NY high tax climate contributed to the decision also, at the transferred employee level.Amazon was starting to tell some employees they would be transferred. Seattle, 0% income tax, NYC, 13%. I suspect there was pushback on moving to NYC, for many reasons, but state/city taxes were likely not viewed favorably by employees used to paying zero.

  38. sigmaalgebra

    ForAs historian Kenneth Jackson explained in this excellent NY Times Op-Ed piece yesterday, history shows that the economic fortunes of cities change quickly with once dominant industries moving on and new ones arriving.Nice: When my wife was in her Ph.D. program, famous mathematical sociologist James Coleman suggested that she write a short paper on this, really just as a paper for a course, and get her data just by collecting some phone books and seeing how fast companies entered and left the phone books. She wrote the paper.At the time I was busy with my career, paying for all that, so didn’t get involved. But one likely still could do some such study and get some nice applied math, business, and mathematical sociology results via stochastic arrival processes, first off, the powerful but relatively easy to work with Poisson process.IIRC some such math has been applied in ecology projects, e.g., as fish enter and leave a lake, from migration, birth/death, etc. So, in Queens have instead of fish, companies.For a second step, use the slightly more capable compound Poisson processes where the sizes of the companies vary, that is, are not assumed to be all of the same size. It would be a little like package loads at a FedEx city — a Poisson process for the arrivals of the packages and an empirical distribution for the weights of the packages, something I did once.Then with those results might be able to do some local macro economic projections, maybe generate corresponding stochastic process sample paths, e.g., if only by a resampling plan as in the work of Stanford guys P. Diaconis and B. Efron, and, thus, get some confidence intervals.So might have a Markov process. Then could use some of the limit theorems of Markov processes to see where things are headed.For more, for interventions, use some of the well established applied math of controlled Markov processes.But, I’d assume that the NYT did all that already? Right?

  39. jason wright

    218 comments. Perhaps you should also consider only allowing comments on specific days of the week (e.g.Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays). Gives you the chance to work your way through them, and to recover your mind.

  40. marko calvo-cruz

    Pretty surprised by this take tbh. Ocasio might be the first politician to be willing to take on big tech, which is more important for our country’s continued status as an innovator than relying on a small handful of companies who kill companies in the wombI guess what I’m trying to say is that Amazon is only a bandaid to our problem, which is, in part, caused by Amazon

    1. marko calvo-cruz

      It’s not healthy for any society for their government to be beholden to a single company’s every whim. I think AOC intuitively gets this

  41. marko calvo-cruz

    Surveys are a questionable source of evidence for support. You can manufacture them however you like, and even then talk is cheapAre people protesting politicians like AOC and Gianaris the way they protested Amazon?

  42. Munir Elahï Jawed

    Hi Fred. Do you think there are important parallels to draw between Twitter setting up shop in the Tenderloin years ago and the prospect of Amazon in Queens? Do you think Twitter’s relocation to Market Street has been an overall benefit for the immediate locale (and theecosystem at large), or has its move fallen short of expectations on part of local community members and the city of SF? Reading your post reminded me immediately of my time living right next to Twitter HQ on 9th and Market in SF from 2014-15. I’m sure there are at least some lessons to glean from the Twitter/Tenderloin move, despite very obvious differences with Amazon in terms of company size, job creation, tax implications, inter alia.

  43. tolstoy77

    When did Fred Wilson start subscribing to Trump Economics ? Sad day. Politicians like Gianaris and Ocasio-Cortez are heroes who prevented the gentrification of LIC.

  44. Quantella Owens

    I am really late to this party, but I do have one question Re: Amazon/NYC?Y’all did know that it was a one-time $3B for a forever bump in taxes etcetera, correct?Because even though I’m just a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks, it looks like a hella no-brainer. After all was said and done Amazon would have been on the hook for whatever upgrades they made/needed until they sold up…..So would someone please tell me what I’m missing….and please don’t start with the housing stuff.

  45. fredwilson

    The “handouts” are available to every company and only get paid if Amazon delivers the jobs and the tax revenues. This is all part of a standard program. Your arguments sound like the same ones these idiots are making. They are uninformed and wrong

  46. Eliot

    The deal doesn’t exist in a vacuum; NYC has other urgent issues to deal with, and $3 billion (or whatever it ends up truly being) can go a long way toward addressing them (housing, for instance). If the handouts were in some way tied to the other urgent issues in a direct way, then maybe it would be a strategic move.You seem to be parroting this odd yet common idea that NYC is paying Amazon $3 billion in cash out of their coffers. These are tax incentives. If there’s no Amazon revenue, there’s no $3billion.

  47. sigmaalgebra

    Ah, a little off topic, maybe easier to swallow than all this anger today!I happened to see a DiGiorno pizza for one, frozen, to be heated in a microwave, and thought that maybe I could try some such myself, DIY style, and get something better on convenience, time, flavor, nutrition, and cost.So, I started and now have something okay, basically success. The star of the show is the dough and crust. So, I’m at the first grade level in making something like bread dough.Since you are a grand expert on bread dough, maybe you can direct me to the second grade?I put 700 ml of 90 F water in a 5 quart stainless steel bowl and add 1 T of active dry yeast — “fast rising” intended for bread machines or the more common stuff seem to work the same. I mix in the yeast then add 1 1/2 T table salt and then right away hoping the salt doesn’t hurt the yeast about 2/3 rds of 1 kg of flour, mix with a big kitchen spoon, add the other 1/3rd of the flour, mix, dump on a floured pastry board, use about 1/4 C flour to make the outside less sticky, knead by hand for 8 minutes, add back to the bowl, cover with a towel and dinner plate, let rise to about the full 5 quarts, put back on the pastry board, stretch to a rope, divide in 8 equal pieces, and place each in a covered bowl.For the kneading, I think of the outside surface of the dough and try never to add to it and never to touch the inside of the dough. So, the part next to the board has flour; I press the dough and then fold it in half and repeat for the 8 minutes.. So the outside surface is still the outside surface but stretched a little. So, I touch only the outside surface. My hands don’t get very sticky.For a pizza, I take one of the bowls, form the dough to a circle 7″ in diameter with a rim, microwave at 100% power for 1;30, rotate 180 degrees and repeat, then place in a restaurant style stamped steel saute pan with bottom diameter 7″, add tomato sauce (from a batch with a 12 ounce can of tomato paste, 2 cans 28 ounces each of crushed tomatoes, usual flavorings, heated to sterilize), 1/2 C shredded Mozzarella cheese, and 4 slices of pepperoni. Then 13 minutes, covered, on a medium electric burner gives a good pizza. Cooking in the pan gives a crisp bottom to the crust, supposedly to be a coveted result from a “pizza stone”.So, mixing a batch of dough, enough for 8 pizzas, takes less than 20 minutes. A pizza, start to eating, takes less than 20 minutes with 13 of those free to do something else.Question: What am I doing right/wrong with the dough? It seems good to me, but I don’t know what I might change in flour (Pillsbury All Purpose or Sam’s Club Chefs and Bakers seem about the same), flour/water ratio, dough kneading, dough rising, etc.Thanks!

  48. falicon

    I think the challenge is you don’t get this deal without the tax breaks…so maybe this area evolves regardless, but at what speed and in what ways?If you want these jobs, this industry, and these things now…it’s the cost/risk.

  49. kidmercury

    this deal is not open to everyone. charlie is a great guy to my knowledge, though i’m skeptical the city will help him get his own helipad, like they are doing for bezos. (sorry charlie)

  50. Girish Mehta

    Amazon’s statement – cancelling NYC plans. And apparently no plans to reopen HQ2 search presently.

  51. OldManGoldenwords

    There is no problem AMZN opening in NY. They need to pay tax as every other companies pays. GOOGL opened office without creating bidding war. AMZN has mastered the art of FOMO among politicians and desperate people. AMZN can go to new hampshire or north dakota and enrich the lives of people there.

  52. kidmercury

    the other side won today. if you want to win, i would humbly suggest starting by not calling those who disagree with you idiots. another step would be to acknowledge the legitimacy of their concerns. you may find that this is a far more productive route to getting what you want.until then, the masses have spoken.

  53. Susan Rubinsky

    We have several much smaller companies here in the Greater Bridgeport Region in CT that were offered incentives that the detractors criticized. Until, that is, the companies all exceeded the goals gov’t set on the projects in half the time. Not that we’re NYC. We’re not. But when you compare the incentives percentage-wise they are similar and we’ve greatly benefited far beyond the original investment.

  54. falicon

    My understanding is that the deal is done – people are just arguing over if it can/should be changed…but as far as I know, Amazon and the area are moving forward as planned.Maybe Amazon picks the same spot regardless of the tax breaks…but Newark was a finalist as well, also already has an Amazon presence (via Audible), and was offering a ton of breaks and incentives too (plus has bigger airport closer to the location; more rural area to pull workers from; and is still 10 minute train from middle of NYC).The difference to Amazon geographically would be small (especially if one gives a great deal and one says “we’re NYC, take it or leave it”)…the difference to NY and NJ on the state level would be huge.

  55. JamesHRH

    Why would Bezos take the deal?TO would pony that $ up in a millisecond.

  56. Alex Murphy

    These are all good points.However, now Amazon is out.Is New York better off for it? I doubt it.

  57. Pete Griffiths

    It’s easy to say that NY can get Amazon without the tax breaks but rather harder to negotiate it in a world in which these huge companies can play one city off against another.

  58. Gustavo Melo

    I suspect ultimately the problem here was execution. Amazon may have been more successful if the’d stuck to their culture of obsessing and working backwards from the customer without getting distracted, done their homework and picked a few target spots, and negotiated quietly, quickly, and effectively with these spots based on the merits of their proposal. Instead they got distracted by the potential tangential PR and balance sheet benefits of going public with the search, which is what ultimately has backfired for them. Then again, hindsight is usually 20-20.To my mind, this was an unorthodox, experimental leadership decision — and the anonymous/blind gossip at the time was that it was a test of sorts for a couple of the not-Jeff execs. Perhaps not working out as well as anyone would have hoped.

  59. johnmccarthy

    Bad news, what a tragedy

  60. fredwilson

    damn. i felt this was coming which is why i wanted to write today. but i guess i picked the wrong day to write

  61. Lawrence Brass

    OK, so we now start moving it near the JFK airport.

  62. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Geez. Is my perception, that this came kinda quick, out of whack?

  63. jason wright


  64. Vasudev Ram

    And here’s the current HN thread about the NYT article: Amazon Pulls Out of Planned New York City Campus (…410 comments right now.

  65. sigmaalgebra

    Sounds like the sequence of events (1) Amazon cuts the Queens deal, (2) Amazon puts up a good, general purpose office building, (3) Amazon currently has little or no reason to occupy the space in that building and, instead, just rents it out, (4) in 10 years the building will be worth MUCH more than Amazon paid for it, and Amazon will have gotten 10 years of rents on the space, and (5) if by then Amazon needs the office space, then they can move in at low costs while the rest of the real estate costs in Queens as you outlined have gone way up.Sounds like mostly a real estate deal to me, a deal good for Amazon due mostly just to the NYS/NYC generosity and where Amazon gets the real estate gains caused by their role in Queens real estate.Or, if are about to take some action in business that promises to make real estate in some area boom, then quietly before taking the action take a highly leveraged long position in real estate in just that area.

  66. Mac


  67. sigmaalgebra

    It may be that, for the building Amazon builds in Queens, for most of 10 years Amazon just rents out the space and when they slowly occupy the space themselves the work is not very technical at all.

  68. Lawrence Brass

    It is the perfect day. You put one knee on the floor (only one), rub the blood away from your nose with the back of your hand.. and stand up.Or better, write a letter to Bezos. 🙂

  69. Paul Chou

    the problem is so much deeply rooted in the zero sum mentality. certain populists will always feel a tax break is a loss for the tax payer and a gain for the company without understanding that a synergistic working relationship will do wonders for both.

  70. jeff

    It is simply amazing how quickly the tide is turning, generically and at a highly politicized level, against “big tech.” It’s more about where we are in the election cycle than it is the structural issues of economic class disparity, privacy, etc that tech creates. Fred’s written about it a lot even this past week- please keep lending your voice to it and congrats, not coincidentally, on the New York 50!

  71. Susan Rubinsky

    Bezos has been brilliant in his PR strategy of late. He waited until Valentine’s Day. You’ve got to admire his chess skills.

  72. Lawrence Brass

    On the spot. Your voice is unique. So glad you came back, Charlie.I’m curious about your next project.

  73. sigmaalgebra

    Amazon a “monopoly”? Well, they are very successful, but really already a monopoly?For AWS, if that is such a good business, then Microsoft, Google, Apple, and IBM should wake up, stand up, put some cold water on their faces, and get busy competing. Heck any big IT shop could/should do that. How ’bout it Citi??? GM??? Facebook??? Oracle??? Fedex???If the Amazon Web site is such a good business, then, hmm …, Wal-Mart should wake up, …, and get busy.E.g., yesterday my 10 year old Altec-Lansing speakers driven by one of my computers sounds like the high frequency parts have worn out — they buzz. True, I was listening to Wagner’s “The Entrance of the Gods into Valhalla”, especially good performance!!! Still, the speakers are wearing out.Sooooo, I went shopping: I want a triad a woofer and two tweeters. Using Amazon, Google, and Wal-Mart I found something that looks good enough for about $35 — it doesn’t have to be really good since I have a high end audio setup with two speakers each weighing about 60 pounds and a terrific amplifier — fill the house, maybe the neighborhood, with Christmas music or “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey”!!!So, bottom line: Both Wal-Mart and Amazon sell the SAME item for the SAME price. BUT, …., Amazon is MUCH better because of MUCH more information and FREE shipping.Wal-Mart has some serious advantages over Amazon including their many retail stores, many warehouses, many trucks, many connections with vendors, many customers, etc. E.g., I take a little pill each day, not very expensive, $12 for 90 days. So, at least each 90 days I go to Sam’s Club, with a Wal-Mart right next door. I can’t get the pills at Amazon. That’s a BIG advantage for Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.Also last weekend I spent $200 at Sam’s Club for items that mostly Amazon can’t sell me — paper products (too expensive to ship) and refrigerated food. A few months ago, did the same, to stock up in case got snowed in, for $400.For more, last year when my main computer quit — motherboard problem — I had to rush out and get just anything to let me have a computer again, e.g., to let me build my first server. So, I want to Sam’s Club and got an HP laptop with Windows 10 Home Edition — it’s not anything I’d really like, but it has worked well enough to let me get information and order parts for my server, now running well. Also I used the HP with the old Altec-Lansing speakers to play, e.g., some Wagner! Here, for that HP, Amazon lost out again because I was in a rush and could just drive over, select the HP and drive home with it.Wal-Mart/Sam’s has some big advantages. Amazon is no monopoly, but W/S but in some ways, not all, need to do BETTER.On just such a deal as those new speakers, Wal-Mart should be beating Amazon. Wal-Mart needs to go to their IT shop and pour some ice water on each of their people to see if they are just asleep or really dead. On those speakers, Amazon is no monopoly — just BETTER at just obvious, simple, basic retail information for the customers. In particular, the Amazon Web site is MUCH better done than the Wal-Mart Web site.If Wal-Mart can’t compete with Amazon on a Web site, JUST a darned Web site!!!, then that’s Wal-Mart’s fault not Amazon’s monopoly.Bentonville, it’s just a Web site, guys!!! Besides, likely Bentonville is a much better place to raise a family than too expensive Seattle!!

  74. JamesHRH

    I have this feeling that when Jeff drops you, you stay dropped.

  75. johnmccarthy

    That is definitely one way to look at it, and I may get there someday. Feels like a kick to the teeth at the moment, however

  76. JamesHRH

    Love your attitude.But ‘special’ is not a strategy.

  77. falicon

    So I guess the deal is dead now…interesting turn of events.NYC will be fine of course, and we’ll never actually know how it could have turned out differently…but keep tabs on L.I.C. and notice how long before anything really gets better or changes there now…

  78. Lawrence Brass

    Out of.. 1000 words or a picture, maybe. :-/

  79. sigmaalgebra

    I started my career within 100 miles of the Washington Monument and went to Reston frequently! Now I’m 70 miles north of Wall Street. I left the DC area trying to help my wife get well. When she didn’t I looked for a job and came to NY. BUMMER. DC was MUCH better.

  80. sigmaalgebra

    WOW! Simple but devastatingly powerful analysis, like from a well educated expert in commercial real estate!!

  81. Lawrence Brass

    ♔ sends ♛ a pic of his crown♞ sees this and tells ♕♕ calls her ♗ who is friend with ♝♝ tells ♚ about the crown pics♚ asks ♜ to do something♜ tells ♙♙♟♙♟♙♙♙♟♙♙♟♙♟♟check mate.

  82. jason wright

    I think Amazon and NYC’s political class have probably already negotiated a revised deal behind the scenes. A win-win outcome for both sides.

  83. JamesHRH

    No sale.Workforce is mobile & they know it.But I agree that is their main benefit to being in LIC.And Toronto has all of that too.

  84. JamesHRH

    Has to be 10!

  85. JamesHRH

    ?Being on one place is not the same as attracting talent from other places.

  86. JamesHRH

    I meant that they are all losers now.I wish I agreed with you.

  87. Think_Deeper

    Yes, if going forward New York does not participate in similar charades by other big tech companies. The most valuable startups in Silicon Valley need NYC in particular to be successful not vice versa. Because of the density of the city and wealth of the residents New York city is a great market for many growing tech services. For example Uber & Lyft puled out of Austin when they implemented rideshare/taxi laws that were similar to what we have in NYC. NYC laws are far more stringent and have gotten even worse but Uber & Lyft are still here. There are emerging biz sectors like consumer facing robots that need NYC to succeed in the long run, so yeah, come to NYC and build, tax breaks are not needed.

  88. thinkdisruptive

    Not just Toronto, but any of the finalist cities had these qualities. I think AMZN missed an opportunity though when they picked two coastal cities with similar cultures. What a company the size of Amazon needs is an infusion of alternative cultural perspective, and they would get that with Toronto (a bit, because it’s Canadian, but still very similar to NYC or DC) or a southern city (very different).It’s definitely a long term loss for NYC, but others will be happy to open their doors and roll out the red carpet, and it’s probably better for the country that it won’t be in NYC.

  89. Lawrence Brass

    Great. If you want to test something or do experiments, count me in.