Amazon board member says company will keep growing in Seattle -

Amazon board member says company will keep growing in Seattle

Credit: geekwire.com

  • About: 8 days ago
  • 1 views

There was a lot of hand-wringing last week in Seattle after Amazon dropped the bombshell that it plans to spend upwards of $5 billion on a new corporate campus in North America.

But don’t look for the online retailer and tech powerhouse to abandon its hometown of Seattle. At least those are the words of someone who knows the company better than most.

“Amazon will keep growing in Seattle,” said Madrona Venture Group’s Tom Alberg, the Seattle venture capitalist who has served on the company’s board since its early days as a small online book seller.  “It’s not going to stop in the short term, or medium term at least, and look at all these other companies that are growing.”

Alberg made the comments on Tuesday afternoon at the Cascadia Innovation Corridor conference, a meeting in Seattle this week that’s trying to forge stronger bonds between tech and civic leaders in Seattle and Vancouver, B.C.

The remarks were some of the first from the Amazon hierarchy since the company announced its plans last week to find a “second home” that would house up to 50,000 workers. Amazon executives have not commented publicly since the company asked other cities to bid on its second headquarters, operating under the codename HQ2.

As a strong civic leader and an Amazon board member, Alberg is in a unique position to help build bridges between Seattle and the company that’s reshaping the city.

And, as far as Alberg sees it, there’s no reason to worry that Amazon will sever ties with Seattle. Recent reporting by GeekWire indicates that Amazon is still gobbling up sizable chunks of real estate in the city, even expanding its footprint to Bellevue.

Amazon employs about 40,000 workers in the Seattle area, making it one of the region’s biggest employers. The growth spurt has accelerated in recent years as Amazon ambitiously expanded into areas such as entertainment, groceries, video games and more. With its acquisition of Whole Foods and its planned second headquarters, Amazon is well on its way to employing more than 500,000 workers.

Here are more remarks from Alberg, who was responding to an audience member’s question about Amazon’s second headquarters.

“Ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, we had a big emphasis on how do we get companies to move to Seattle. The state government has always spent a lot of money on it, not very successfully. And, lo and behold, all of these companies moved on their own. And now, really the big need is importing talent, not companies…. Seattle will continue to have a huge need to import talent.”

In the panel discussion on Tuesday afternoon, Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said that Amazon’s decision was inevitable and he was surprised they did not do it earlier. “I think for Amazon just to scale, it needs another place in North America,” said Kelman, noting that Seattle is “really divided” right now but it’s not as bad as Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

“The main problem is we have become a victim of our own success; the cost of labor has gone through the roof,” Kelman said. “Even if you can pay, the sheer ability to hire that many people in this region and house those people has strained the region.”

Later in the discussion, panelists talked about the possibility that Vancouver, B.C. could be a nice second home for Amazon, creating even stronger Cascadia ties between the two cities. Kelman responded that “we should win it for the Northwest,” which prompted Alberg to note: “Get to work on the application.”

Editor’s note: GeekWire reporter Nat Levy contributed to this report.

Follow Us on Twitter

Related stories with Amazon board member says company will keep growing in Seattle

High in the Mountains. -World News
High in the Mountains. 8 days ago
High in the Mountains. At a certain altitude in the mountains, we can hide many things. We can also see very far. And falling down does not give us ten. O
Kindness is the Thing We Should be Giving to Others from Our Hearts Without Hesitation. -World News
Kindness is the Thing We Should be Giving to Others from Our Hearts Without Hesitation. 8 days ago
Kindness is the Thing We Should be Giving to Others from Our Hearts Without Hesitation   We all want and expect to be addressed in a soft tone with kindness. And if we expect the kindness from others, we should not do the oppo
Batting, not money, could be key factor in race to land Fighters star Otani -World News
Batting, not money, could be key factor in race to land Fighters star Otani 8 days ago
Should Shohei Otani move to the majors via the posting system, as informed sources said Tuesday he expects to do, it will be a rare ...
Rocket League Adding Seasonal Arena, User-Created Tournaments, And More -World News
Rocket League Adding Seasonal Arena, User-Created Tournaments, And More 8 days ago
Psyonix has detailed the next update, as well as a long-term roadmap, for its popular car soccer game Rocket League. In the immediate future, players will enjoy new seasonal and standardized arenas, LAN support, and over 90 free items. The Autumn Update
Ed Carpenter Racing give Spencer Pigot full-time 2018 IndyCar seat -World News
Ed Carpenter Racing give Spencer Pigot full-time 2018 IndyCar seat 8 days ago
Ed Carpenter Racing has announced Spencer Pigot as the driver of its full-time IndyCar entry for 2018
Leonard Fournette on Derrius Guice: ‘He has the ability to be the No. 1, No. 2—even [higher than] me—player coming out of the draft’ -World News
Leonard Fournette on Derrius Guice: ‘He has the ability to be the No. 1, No. 2—even [higher than] me—player coming out of the draft’ 8 days ago
Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice are very close. And it’s say to safe there isn’t a bigger fan of the current superstar LSU running back than Fournette. In a piece about Guice written by Joan Niesen of Sports Illustrated, Fournette raved ab
2018 class projection: Auburn could make major splash in Georgia on offensive line -World News
2018 class projection: Auburn could make major splash in Georgia on offensive line 8 days ago
Auburn has a track record of top-10 recruiting classes under Gus Malzahn, but the Tigers still have some work to do. They currently sit at No. 24 in the 247Sports team rankings, because Auburn only has 13 commitments right now. Seven of those are on the o
Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to move from field to press box -World News
Florida offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier to move from field to press box 8 days ago
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida coach Jim McElwain said maligned offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier will coach from the press box rather than the field this Saturday against No. 23 Tennessee as the No. 24 Gators look for answers with their struggling off
What Florida coach Jim McElwain said in his news conference Wednesday -World News
What Florida coach Jim McElwain said in his news conference Wednesday 8 days ago
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — With Hurricane Irma come and gone, Florida returned to practice Tuesday and coach Jim McElwain met with reporters Wednesday for the first time since last week. McElwain was  asked for an update on the Gators’ nine suspended p
Jim McElwain on returning to field: ‘There’s a lot of things more important than third down and 6’ -World News
Jim McElwain on returning to field: ‘There’s a lot of things more important than third down and 6’ 8 days ago
Florida has a big home game waiting for it on Saturday against Tennessee, but Gators head coach Jim McElwain knows that what happens on the field does not compare to the tragedy that has occurred in the state over the past few days. “There’s a
Tracking Alabama’s freshmen: Numerous newcomers already contributing for Crimson Tide -World News
Tracking Alabama’s freshmen: Numerous newcomers already contributing for Crimson Tide 8 days ago
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — University of Alabama freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa knew his first play with the Crimson Tide almost certainly wouldn’t be as bad as Jalen Hurts’ last year. Hurts’ first play resulted in a lost fumble. He had entered t
LSU players discuss how to shut down Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald … again -World News
LSU players discuss how to shut down Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald … again 8 days ago
BATON ROUGE, La. — One year ago, the LSU defense shut down an overmatched Nick Fitzgerald. Now, it’s time to do it again. Arguably the premier dual-threat quarterback in the SEC, Fitzgerald looked helpless against LSU in 2016, completing 12 of