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My even shorter Amazon HQ2 shortlist

Amazon released its shortlist of HQ2 cities this morning. Below are the 20 metropolitan areas. They were selected from 238 bids, so this shortlist represents 8.4% of the original pool.

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Newark, NJ
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Washington D.C.

I saw some people on Twitter say that they were surprised to see Toronto and Miami on this list. I was not. If you remember, I publicly predicted on this blog that Toronto would be selected for Amazon HQ2.

That said, I thought it would be fun to guess at an even shorter list from Amazon’s shortlist. I have no knowledge of Amazon’s actual selections process, but if I had to guess, here is who I would cross off the list:

  • Atlanta, GA
  • Austin, TX
  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Columbus, OH
  • Dallas, TX
  • Denver, CO
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • Montgomery County, MD
  • Nashville, TN
  • Newark, NJ
  • New York City, NY
  • Northern Virginia, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Toronto, ON
  • Washington D.C.

That leaves us with a list that looks like this:

  1. Boston, MA
  2. Miami, FL
  3. Montgomery County, MD
  4. Newark, NJ
  5. Northern Virginia, VA
  6. Toronto, ON
  7. Washington D.C.

So why this list? I’m probably wrong, but my reasons are as follows:

– I think Amazon will opt for a metro area on eastern time.

– There seems to be a predilection for areas around Washington D.C., so I left Montgomery County and Northern Virginia. 

– As wonderful as it is, New York City feels too center ice for Amazon – at least in my view. But maybe Newark places them in the catchment area.

– The area needs to be of a certain scale so Amazon doesn’t overpower it and they have enough human capital to draw from.

– Miami is my sleeper bet. Most people think of it simply as a resort town, but there’s a huge percentage of foreign born residents and powerful arts/design scene.

– Talent is number one, which is why I left Boston and Toronto and why I continue to believe in Toronto. Toronto is more dynamic than Boston.

If I had to pick just three from the above shortlist, my bets would be, in alphabetical order: Boston, Toronto, and Washington D.C. What are yours?

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