GeekWire published my latest “‘Amageddon’: How Amazon’s culture is taking a toll on Seattle’s future“. It’s received nearly 10,000 Facebook actions and definitely tapped into unspoken upset in Seattle residents about the company’s growth.
Here’s an excerpt:
When I arrived in Seattle in 1991, Tim Wistrom’s art playfully epitomized post-apocalyptic Seattle. But increasingly, the city’s likely doom appears much less fantastic and closer: an unaffordable traffic-filled metropolis dominated by white males and devoid of independent culture – fueled by Amazon.
In May, I calculated that Amazon’s planned office space would employ five percent of the city of Seattle – but that was before it inked deals to build or lease an additional 1.37 million square feet; it’s now on track to employ 45,000 locally or seven percent of the city.
Columnist Danny Westneat recently wrote that locals are openly asking in jest, “Do you think they’ll let us stay?” Assuming they do, what values do our city’s most populous neighbors share?
During my time at Microsoft during the ’90s, people spoke of “drinking the Microsoft kool aid”. For me, that included turning a blind eye towards Microsoft’s domineering, monopolistic practices; to employees spending their day on the company’s isolated suburban campus, the company couldn’t do much wrong. That changed for me in the years after I left and got psychic distance from the company and ultimately when I reported on the hypocrisy of its executives’ education advocacy in the shadow of its billion dollar Nevada tax dodge.
If Amazon employees are similarly absorbing the values of the company and its founder, Jeff Bezos, just what are those values and what might Seattle look like a decade from now?