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Old 01-25-2018, 07:57 AM   #1321
shmessy
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

BTW, at this point, if other cities are offering direct incentives to Amazon ranging from $3-7 billion, Boston should offer ZERO........but the B-R Connector and the NSRL for $7 billion combined. Win-Win.
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:22 PM   #1322
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by shmessy View Post
BTW, at this point, if other cities are offering direct incentives to Amazon ranging from $3-7 billion, Boston should offer ZERO........but the B-R Connector and the NSRL for $7 billion combined. Win-Win.
I've actually been thinking about this quite a bit. What if Boston offered a $7 billion package made up solely of public education, transportation, and affordable housing investments, with ZERO direct tax benefits for Amazon?

That would send a very powerful message, and may very well lose. But IMO it would also put Amazon in a tough spot. You could make a strong argument that those investments are much more important to Amazon's long-term health than a $7 billion tax break, not to mention the health of the city/state overall..
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:42 PM   #1323
kjdonovan
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

I strongly believe that subsidies are not going to bring Amazon to a city--they need tens of thousands of qualified bodies. This will come down to a city they already have a presence in that they know will be able to provide them with a massive and continual level of human capital.

If you look at their job site right now, it quickly tells you where Amazon has already heavily invested in software development locations. They know these areas already and will pick one that already is providing qualified candidates for hundreds of available positions. If they can't fill 300 positions, then they aren't going to try to fill 50,000. For example, if they thought Atlanta was a great place to do business, wouldn't they have already invested some effort in building a base there? The job count is a pittance compared to Boston.

This doesn't mean they will go for a city where they already have a lot of people (case in point, SF) but it does tell you where they've been interested in seeking out talent up to this point. Subsidies are like leather seats and tire upgrades on a new car. They need a good engine, first.

Seattle: 4,000 job openings
Bay Area: 1,400 openings
Washington: 420 openings
NY area (including Newark): 350 openings
Boston: 310 openings
Austin: 78 openings
Atlanta: 32 openings
https://www.amazon.jobs/en/locations..._america&cache
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Old 01-25-2018, 08:49 PM   #1324
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

shmessy,

I had lunch today with some who is more au courant with Federal IT staffing than I. We talked about the Amazon bid, and whether, given typical Amazon job tenure, there might be migration back and forth between government IT employees and Amazon. He thought there might be, then I pointed out that Amazon's average annual salary for HQ2 would be over $100,000. And he then said, there wouldn't be any two way migration; the GS schedule (and salary) for IT slots in the government is such that Amazon employees wouldn't be interested.
____________________
I looked at Amazon job openings in Austin. None were for Whole Foods, most were for Amazon Web Services. Looked at Washington DC, AWS and Data Center operations.

Looked at Boston Cambridge, first seven open positions:
Big data; AWS; Supply Chain strategies Robotics; Machine Learning; ALEXA: ALEXA; ALEXA.

For Boston, top four job openings by category: Software development 133; Machine Learning Science 30; Solutions Architect 27; Research Science 26.

For Washington DC, top four job openings by category:
Operations IT and Support Engineering 145; Systems Quality and Security Engineering 51; Solutions Architect 42; Software Development 41.

For Austin, top four job openings by category: software development 36; sales, advertising and account management 14; solutions architect 8; Operations IT and support engineering 6.

For Atlanta, top two job openings by category, solutions architect 17; sales, advertising, and account management 7.

For Sunnyvale, software development 137, hardware development 77, Product, Project Management -- Technical 51; Systems Quality and Security Engineering 26; Machine Learning Science 13
________________________
Job openings by category. Categories are what I would describe as Future Amazon:
Machine Learning Science: Seattle 63; Cambridge 45; Bay area 29
Research science: Seattle 73' Ca,bridge 28; Bay area 16.
Hardware development: Sunnyvale 77; Seattle 26
Solutions Architect: London 69; NYC 68; Seattle 67; Herndon VA 42; San Francisco 37; Munich 31, Cambridge 26.
____________________________
Public Policy (Lobbying): Washington DC 2, Beijing 1, Dubai 1; Dublin 1
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:07 PM   #1325
fattony
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

kj and stellar,

Those are both execellent analyses. HQ2 or not, Boston/Cambridge is red hot on growth in Amazonís most important technical positions. Austin looks like a small outpost for engineering and Atlanta is a regional sales office. Of course, HQ2 doesnít necessarily rely on what Amazon is doing today, but I would bet their choice follows the BosWash dominant trend you have demonstrated here.
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Old 01-25-2018, 10:13 PM   #1326
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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shmessy,

I had lunch today with some who is more au courant with Federal IT staffing than I. We talked about the Amazon bid, and whether, given typical Amazon job tenure, there might be migration back and forth between government IT employees and Amazon. He thought there might be, then I pointed out that Amazon's average annual salary for HQ2 would be over $100,000. And he then said, there wouldn't be any two way migration; the GS schedule (and salary) for IT slots in the government is such that Amazon employees wouldn't be interested.
____________________
That's a good point, Stellar. For the record, I never stated that there would be a back and forth job migration amongst Gov't IT workers and Amazon. I would imagine any migration would be pretty much a one-way street, if at all, towards Amazon. The mix/socializing/think tanking would be amongst ITers from both worlds who are hopefully happy and productive in their respective offices (although most young ITers today don't seem to be 40-year in one place gold watch retirement types).

That being said, there IS an attraction for some who are less, ahem entrepreneurial, who find the FERS pension system attractive - - 1.1% x high 3 avg salary x # of years service (1.7% for foreign service years). There are folks who have had 30+ year careers in the FERS system (which took over from the even more generous CSRS system in the mid 1980's) who are now getting out with ~45% pensions + social security (CSRS preclude most social security) + TSP (which is matched up to 5% of salary). For someone who wants to stay in one place and not have too much layoff pressures, working from 25-62 while seeing a bit of the world on the government dime could pay off nicely in the long run.
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Old 01-26-2018, 04:37 AM   #1327
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

The government can't offer high enough pay for top notch tech workers... Directly employed. That's why they hire contractors. Bypasses the government pay scale. For anyone who thinks government contracts are for saving money. No. I know lots of people with specialized skills who leave govt and come back as contractors doing the same exact thing for more pay.

Source: I work for the fed govt.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:04 AM   #1328
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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kj and stellar,

Those are both execellent analyses. HQ2 or not, Boston/Cambridge is red hot on growth in Amazonís most important technical positions. Austin looks like a small outpost for engineering and Atlanta is a regional sales office. Of course, HQ2 doesnít necessarily rely on what Amazon is doing today, but I would bet their choice follows the BosWash dominant trend you have demonstrated here.
Below are a few more cities to mull over.

I refuse to believe that Amazon is going to try and scale HQ2 from a base of zero, or near zero. That assumes that HQ2 will focus on entrepreneurial stuff: new technologies / products / services. The only competitors to Boston are Seattle and the Bay area; otherwise you are scaling from zero.

However, if HQ2's main function will be to manage Amazon web Services, then that's a different kettle of fish. Boston would be better off not winning HQ2 if that's the case.

Herndon VA (502 total) (Herndon is near Dulles Airport)
Operations IT and Support engineering 211
Systems Quality & Security engineering 52
Solutions Architect 43
Software Development 41
Project / {Program / Product Management 34

NYC Metro (includes Newark) (302 total)
Software Development 69
Solutions Architect 68
Sales Advertising and account Management 54
Business and Merchant Development 29

Palo Alto (255 total)
Software Development 186
Solutions Architect 10
Machine learning science 8
Research science 8

Cupertino CA (106 total, displayed by product line)
Amazon Web Services 61
Amazon devices 31 (This is Kindle, etc.)

Pittsburgh (14 total)
Software development 5
Machine learning science 3
Research science 2
Sales, advertising, and account management 2

Washington DC (13 total) (No openings in Montgomery County, 7 openings in Baltimore).
AWS 8
Amazon Books 3
Global Corporate (HR, PR, and Legal) 2
___________________
Indianapolis (4 openings)
Fulfillment & operations 3
Transportation & Logistics 1

Nashville (2 openings)
Both are maintenance technicians at a fulfillment center

No openings in Philadelphia.
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Last edited by stellarfun; 01-26-2018 at 09:33 AM.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:01 AM   #1329
jass
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

For your consideration

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Old 01-26-2018, 10:49 AM   #1330
fattony
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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For your consideration
Personally, I wouldn't consider that at all in my choice of where to live. It has never once even crossed my mind. I'm being honest.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:53 AM   #1331
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Personally, I wouldn't consider that at all in my choice of where to live. It has never once even crossed my mind. I'm being honest.
Plus stats like that are highly dependent on the neighborhood, so looking at it on a city-wide basis is kind of useless. I doubt that Amazon would select the South Side of Chicago for its HQ2 for example...
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:04 AM   #1332
dshoost88
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Quote:
Originally Posted by jass View Post
For your consideration
Quote:
Originally Posted by fattony View Post
Personally, I wouldn't consider that at all in my choice of where to live. It has never once even crossed my mind. I'm being honest.
Here's another one I made...

HQ2 Cities by Walkscore by Derek Shooster, on Flickr
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:08 AM   #1333
cadetcarl
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

The shortlist really feels like DC 3 times vs us as frontrunners. I think this analysis is helpful because it gives some clarity to the RFP: DC's suburbs make sense if the HQ2 is mostly staffed by middle aged family types doing operations stuff. The Boston area makes sense if it will mostly be "future Amazon", AI-forward type stuff which I imagine will trend younger. Suffolk Downs wins handily in terms of proximity to the city center compared to MoCo or Fairfax.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:14 AM   #1334
fattony
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Quote:
Originally Posted by dshoost88 View Post
Here's another one I made...

HQ2 Cities by Walkscore by Derek Shooster, on Flickr
Thanks for this Derek.

Personally, I find your chart more relevant to my lived experience of life in a city than the other one.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:14 AM   #1335
kjdonovan
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Yeah, a city's homicide rate is a metric that is largely useful for two groups 1) those closest in proximity to this violence, which predominantly affects young men of color without a college degree;
and 2) burb people when they want to clutch their pearls when junior is heading to an urban college.

City-based businesses like Amazon know that urban areas are large and complex--and that a homicide rate is not a reason to avoid a city like Atlanta or Philly.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:22 AM   #1336
kjdonovan
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by dshoost88 View Post
Here's another one I made...
Nice metrics but practically useless since those numbers are bound by municipal borders.

Miami's municipal area is 55 square miles, while Austin's is 270--about the same size as Chicago and NYC.

Better to consider the walk scores in the areas these cities are putting up as possible sites. The walk scores of Suffolk Downs or Assembly Square, for example, are more relevant than that of Back Bay.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:23 AM   #1337
dshoost88
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Two more:

HQ2 Cities by Transit Score by Derek Shooster, on Flickr

HQ2 Cities by Bike Score by Derek Shooster, on Flickr

(*RE Toronto: Walkscore didn't have bike data available for Canadian cities.)
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:35 AM   #1338
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

Also, for the record, I've been amused at the way some people talk down the Suffolk Downs site as if it's a bad option, especially against a potential Northern VA site, for example. As the crow flies, East Boston is very comparably as far across Boston Harbor from Downtown Boston as Arlington, Northern Virginia is away from Georgetown/D.C. And both are well-connected sites via heavy rail subway, and close (depending on the Nor. VA/DC site) to the major international airport. If HQ2 does opt for a central DC location, the District-wide height restriction would make that site no higher than the FAA height restrictions at Suffolk Downs; however, Suffolk Downs does indeed have the large enough area to construct a campus in and a single owner.

Long story short: I'm tired of reading insipid diatribes knocking the strength of Boston's site proposals, especially Suffolk Downs. It bodes comparably well against who I see is our main competition.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:51 AM   #1339
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Originally Posted by kjdonovan View Post
Nice metrics but practically useless since those numbers are bound by municipal borders.

Miami's municipal area is 55 square miles, while Austin's is 270--about the same size as Chicago and NYC.

Better to consider the walk scores in the areas these cities are putting up as possible sites. The walk scores of Suffolk Downs or Assembly Square, for example, are more relevant than that of Back Bay.
The reason I held off is because it's unclear where the sites are in every HQ2 city. However, if you can please write me a list of the neighborhood names and their associated HQ2 City, I will be happy to look up the data and see if I can make similar transportation charts to those specific site areas.
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Old 01-26-2018, 11:51 AM   #1340
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Re: Amazon HQ2 RFP

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Yeah, a city's homicide rate is a metric that is largely useful for two groups 1) those closest in proximity to this violence, which predominantly affects young men of color without a college degree;
and 2) burb people when they want to clutch their pearls when junior is heading to an urban college.

City-based businesses like Amazon know that urban areas are large and complex--and that a homicide rate is not a reason to avoid a city like Atlanta or Philly.
Disagree with this. High homicide rate = dysfunctional city leadership. If you can't do the basics of governing, why would a company believe any sales pitch you made to them? So, if a place has been a dump for 50 years because of failing institutions from the pols to the police dept to the prosecutors to the social services to the schools, why would you then trust these very same leaders to deliver the workforce, incentives, and transportation system needed to run a 2nd HQ?

You don't have to like NYC to marvel at the incredible job that place has done from going from 2000+ slaying a year to like 300. Less killings than Baltimore, a city that its about 15 times larger than. Less than half of Chicago's rate, a city that its 3.5x larger than. They're doing something right over there that other cities are not. Believe LA also made significant improvements in this area.
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