Amazon, pick Austin

Liam Verses

Texas needs Amazon.

We need a company that will push money and people into our state, diversifying a struggling economic portfolio wrecked by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

We need Jeff Bezos’ second headquarters and its 50,000 jobs.

Seattle is ubiquitous with coffee and cloudy, rain-filled skies. But it’s also home to Amazon Headquarters, an 8.1 million square foot, 33-building complex housing 40,000 jobs. Amazon HQ compensated its employees $25.7 billion, paid $43 million into public transportation, and created 53,000 additional jobs from direct investments in just 7 years. It also increased the salary of non-Amazon employees $17 billion and helped garner additional investments of $38 billion for the local economy over that same time period.

UT Business Professor Kevin Williams said that “other than more traffic congestion, I can't think of any downside to Amazon having a big presence in the Austin area or anywhere in Texas, for that matter.”

Landing the Amazon deal would be a net positive for Texas. Every major city in the state should be putting forth a comprehensive proposal. However, Austin is the best — and most likely — candidate for Amazon. With an educated labor force, a thriving business hub, and good quality of life, there’s no better place. Though our traffic stacks up worse than many others, it’s still not as bad as Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago or Miami. And concerns about commercial flights should be null once HQ2 is here since direct flights to Austin-Bergstrom would be more attractive to airlines. In addition, the University of Texas is right down the street, providing graduates with a unique opportunity to explore Amazon as a career option.

Austin may not be flashy like Dallas or big like Houston, but its identity is unique in its own right.  “Keep Austin Weird” really serves as the city motto. Austin already has HP, Dell, Samsung, and Apple. Why not throw Amazon in the mix?

While many other cities have taken a loud, even obnoxious, approach to winning Amazon over with absurd PR stunts, Austin remains more quiet and level-headed. As we work at the regional level to put forth a proposal, other cities and states are doing things like buying 1,000 Amazon products and leaving 1,000 5-star reviews or canonizing Amazon by proposing a city in its name.

A quiet confidence always beats a loud conceit. Public daring generates a good laugh and great attention, but the loudest won’t win this race. Amazon plans hundreds of steps ahead, meticulous in measure and faultless in aim. With Amazon’s foresight and ingenuity, the Austin-Round Rock area is a brilliant and enterprising choice.  

From Austin Eats to Zilker Park, we’ve got everything from A to Z that Amazon could possibly desire. Pick us.

Verses is a Plan II and environmental engineering freshman from San Antonio.