Dear Jeff Bezos: If you love Seattle, leave Seattle
Dear Mr. Bezos,
You won’t recall, but we have met on a few occasions. Once when Amazon.com was just branching out into products for the home, and also when you were starting Amazon Studios. Like every other entrepreneur who has ever tried big things, I admire your drive, focus, and your strategic patience as well as the wealth you have built and with which you do even bigger things.
We don’t agree on much outside of business and family. But I do remember, on both occasions, you talking about how much you enjoy living here in Seattle. I have loved it as well. It was clear to me that you have great appreciation for the city and its people and that is why you should take Amazon and all of its employees and leave.
What creates success is what the city council hates
The City of Seattle is being poisoned by people who stand opposed to everything that has made you, Mr. Bezos, and Amazon great. Forget politics for a minute and think of excellence.
I was once interviewed for a senior position at Amazon Studios and got to the final approval stage. Though I was right in every category, I did not have the math-based skills you require of so many in senior leadership. Yes, I was disappointed and think I would have done great work. But that is the very point: you require nearly everyone on your team to be able to generate — on their own — quality data to analyze. You run Amazon based upon data, evidence, and trends. When something fails — like Amazon delivery people getting keys to customers’ homes — you pivot. The Seattle City Council is literally opposed to meaningful data and, when they are forced to confront such evidence, they ignore it. Instead, they blame you for Seattle’s problems.
Forget politics, follow the data
If you love Seattle, observe the data. If you give into their scapegoating, you will be handing over massive amounts of money to people who would never get through a first-round interview at your company. It’s not that they cannot generate data — that was my deficiency — it’s that they actually hate it.
. . . that is, before the Seattle City Council disappears the data
The city council called for a homeless study. They spent $200,000 on it. The study said Seattle’s approach to homelessness is broken and should immediately be modified to a housing-first approach and should eliminate deals with groups like SHARE. Those groups do not provide any housing at all and don’t want to. Their business model is to store people in parking lots. It’s so much easier and self perpetuating than actually solving the problem.
Councilmember Mike O’Brien is running a con for groups like SHARE and acting upon that data would put that scam at risk. The same city council that is blackmailing you, betting you won’t leave, ignored that study. In fact, Mike O’Brien recently lied about it. If the business team that ran Amazon Home Delivery lied about data showing that home owners weren’t comfortable giving your delivery drivers access to their houses, would you have been able to restrain yourself from cursing them while you fired them? Will you give into the council?
Don’t want Amazon to leave, but Seattle needs to drop its faux social justice
Let me be really clear, Mr. Bezos: I don’t want Amazon to leave.
My friends work there. It is a great source of pride to see the incredible buildings you have gifted Seattle. I also know that, if you leave, it will cause a massive drop in real estate prices, people will be upside down in their homes and it will get bad.
But, it you don’t leave, it will get worse. In Vancouver, B.C., the so called “safe injection sites” have lead to record levels of: overdoses, death by overdoses, and first responder system so overwhelmed they have been forced to fund paramedics who do nothing all day but revive people from overdoses, which they do about 19 times per day. The Seattle City Council wants that here, Mr. Bezos, the data be damned.
Sometimes love is tough
If you love this city, serve it tough love. The voters of Seattle are so busy, so rich, they pay no attention to what’s really happening. Or, they are so poor and so dependent upon government, that they will take any and all measures they can get, even if it kills them. Or, they are so radical that they will never encounter a tax they do not want. Well, unless it’s on pot.
Yes, Mr. Bezos, while Amazon is targeted by a head tax, stores that sell weed have magically been given a waiver.
PS: I taught myself the high-level Excel and data crunching functions that cost me the chance to work one level under you. I appreciate your team leader being honest with me. So please be honest with Seattle. Like me, they will learn from their mistakes when forced to see them up close and personal.