In an interview on the Pivot podcast, Scott Galloway says he believes Amazon had already decided where their HQ2 was going to be before the publicized search began. ” ‘This was never a contest. It was a con meant to induce ridiculous terms that they then took to the cites all along that they knew they were going to be in.’ “It’s the Olympics on steroids. A lot of high fives and ribbon cutting, and then 10 years later, we realize it was a bad idea.’
- Was the HQ2 contest a ‘con?’ to pump up incentives from cities they already chose?
- Does San Francisco’s income disparity show what happens when tech takes over?
- Will the chosen cities see a net benefit after tax incentives?
Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO
In dozens of cities throughout the United States, Amazon’s widespread search for a “second headquarters” looked like thousands of new jobs, up for grabs.
“I lease office space all the time for my businesses and I always tell my real estate agent, ‘We can lease any office in the world as long as I can walk there from where I live,'” Galloway said on the latest episode. “Amazon is now talking about having three headquarters, Seattle, Crystal City and Long Island City. The Bezos’s also own three homes, and the average distance from those three homes to a headquarters is 6.4 miles.
“This was never a contest,” he added. “It was meant to induce ridiculous terms that they took to the quotes all the time they knew they would be in.”
In other words: Galloway claims that by soliciting bids from many places where it would never move, Amazon was probably able to get more tax breaks from the pre-determined “winners.”
“I would bet, Kara, that when they pick two cities and they went to 2 and 3, they didn’t say, ‘Well, only half our headquarters is going there, so we’re going to let you cut the tax subsidies and incentives in half,'” he explained. “This just has ill will written all over it, and I think people started to figure out what was going on … It’s the Olympics on steroids. A lot of high fives and ribbon cutting, and then 10 years later, we realize it was a bad idea.”