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Amazon

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Amazon has 3,500 jobs available in Seattle right now. That’s down from what we’ve seen over the last few years. But it’s still a lot of growth.

Even though Amazon competes with other software companies for talent, it remains very picky.

Alabamians Fear Roy Moore Is Bad For Business

Dec 3, 2017

Back in September, then-Birmingham, Ala., Mayor William Bell and other elected officials stood before the media in a downtown park.

"I know everyone's gotten a lot of call[s] about this box in the background," Bell told them.

The box towering over them is made up like a package from Amazon. It was part of Birmingham's campaign to land Amazon's proposed second headquarters.

A team from the University of Washington has won a major award for artificial intelligence: the inaugural Alexa Prize from Amazon.

The $500,000 award was announced today at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent 2017 conference in Las Vegas.

Boxed items are shown on conveyer belts leading to docks where they will be loaded onto trucks at an Amazon fulfillment center on Friday, November 3, 2017, in Kent.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

We're a conflicted bunch.

On one hand, we love to hate Amazon in Seattle because the city grew too fast and it's made problems for a lot of people. But a lot of us are also huge Amazon shoppers. 

Think about that: Amazon is so good at what it does that even people who say they shouldn't, use it.


Traffic is seen on I-5 from 45th St., on Friday, October 27, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

A couple of years ago, a semitruck carrying a load of fish overturned on the Alaskan Way Viaduct during rush hour on a Tuesday.

We get it: This is possibly the most stereotypical Seattle problem ever.


Deborah Bartlett, shown here in her kitchen with Ponch Hartley, cooks meals in her South Lake Union home so she's not tempted to patronize her neighborhod's pricey restaurants.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

What's it like to live a middle class lifestyle in Amazon's neighborhood?

Deborah Bartlett knows. She's a teacher. And like half the people in Seattle, she earned less than $50,000 last year. She works part time at a school near Amazon’s headquarters.


Amazon employees walk in front of a map highlighting 238 cities that submitted bids for Amazon's second headquarters in the lobby of the Day 1 building on Tuesday, October 24, 2017, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

So.

It’s been a little tense in Seattle since Amazon started shopping around for a new city to love.


A box containing an order from Amazon.com is shown after it was delivered to a house in Etters, Pa, Wednesday, Sept 16, 2005.
AP Photo/John Zeedick

Bill Radke talks with Washington Post opinion columnist Christine Emba about Amazon Key, a new delivery service from Amazon that drops off packages inside customer's homes.

Emba's latest column in titled "Amazon Key is Silicon Valley at its most out of touch."

For years, Amazon has been testing the limits of online deliveries — expanding the number of things you can order at the click of a button (sometimes literally), pushing shipments to arrive faster, toying with delivery by drones.

KUOW PHOTO/KARA MCDERMOTT

This week, some Seattle-area leaders told Amazon they'd like to hit the refresh button on their relationship with the company. Is Seattle going overboard with the apologizing? And what does Amazon owe Seattle for its success?

Amazon confirmed a second and 'full equal' headquarters somewhere other than in the Puget Sound region.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke talks with KUOW reporters Joshua McNichols and Carolyn Adolph about the implications for cities hoping to land Amazon's second headquarters. McNichols and Adolph are co-hosts of KUOW's new podcast Prime(d).

Radke also talks with listeners about their advice to other cities hoping to reel in Amazon.

A group of people jog across Lenora Street, on Thursday, October 5, 2017, in front of Amazon's biodomes, in Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Do us a favor. Look up relentless.com. 

No really — try it.

We’ll wait.


Officials in Tucson, Ariz., uprooted a 21-foot-tall saguaro cactus and tried to have it delivered to Amazon's Seattle headquarters. Birmingham constructed giant Amazon boxes and placed them around the Alabama city. In Missouri, Kansas City's mayor bought a thousand items online from Amazon and posted reviews of each one.

Amazon Spheres, downtown Seattle
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

In September, 2017, Amazon kicked off the country’s biggest lottery — a search for a second headquarters, a.k.a. HQ2. The city that wins that contest might want some insight from the city Amazon chose first. So we're launching a new podcast.   

This week's panel (L-R): Bill Radke, Joni Balter, Sydney Brownstone, C.R. Douglas
KUOW PHOTO/ KARA MCDERMOTT

This week rape and sexual harassment got a very public face when we learned that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is accused of raping several women. He’s been settling sexual harassment claims for decades, and many, many people knew about it and said nothing.

Author Raj Patel said that, among other things, we don't pay enough for our food.
Flick Photo/Jo Ann Deasy (CC BY ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/7E5ZEP


Seattle (or Amazon-town, if you prefer) is ground zero for cheap things. Amazon has built a world-altering business out of discounting products online.

 

And author Raj Patel says that’s not a good thing.

Author Franklin Foer at The Elliott Bay Book Company
KUOW Photo/Sonya Harris

If you find yourself checking your phone — a lot — or feeling phantom vibrations, there’s a good reason. Big technology companies (Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook to name a few) want your attention. They want to know what you’re thinking about, what you’re doing, and what you’re likely to do next.

There's one week left for North American cities to assemble their bids to lure one of the biggest economic prizes in years, the second Amazon headquarters. At least half a dozen Pacific Northwest places plan to submit proposals.

Amazon.com logo
Flickr Photo/Guillermo Esteves (CC-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke talks to Casey Coombs, reporter at the Puget Sound Business Journal, about Amazon's rapid growth over the last decade and what the company's playbook is for getting cities to offer incentives and deals to open fulfillment and data centers in their region. Coombs' reporting is a part of a series The Business Journals' have published called "The Amazon Effect: How taxpayers are funding the disruption of the U.S. economy."

Amazon confirmed a second and 'full equal' headquarters somewhere other than in the Puget Sound region.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Regional politicians have been assembling a multi-county strategy to keep Amazon’s growth here.

The company’s announcement last month that it will pick a second headquarters has sent cities scurrying to meet an October 19 deadline.

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

The rising cost of housing in America's most desirable "creative" cities troubles Richard Florida, urbanist thinker and author. In those cities, the cost of housing is affordable only to the creative class themselves. The rest of the working population — those in service industry or manufacturing — struggle to keep up with rising housing prices.

Florida says what's happening in Seattle, specifically, is surprising even to someone like him, "supposedly in the know."

An official from Toronto has called Amazon's search for the second headquarters "the Olympics of the corporate world."

It's a unique situation of its kind and scale. Typically, cities and states vie for factories or offices behind the scenes. This time, Amazon's public solicitation of bids from essentially all major metropolitan areas in North America has prompted reporters and analysts across the continent to run their own odds on potential winners.

What's at stake?

KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Until last week, Seattle’s growth looked endless and predictable. Amazon was hiring at a fierce pace, and planners were struggling with housing and transit needs that are a consequence of all the new jobs.

But with Amazon’s announcement that it will build a second headquarters elsewhere, bets about the future of Seattle’s growth are off.

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, Washington State GOP chair Susan Hutchison, and Geekwire editor and co-founder Todd Bishop about whether or not Seattle's progressive climate has pushed Amazon to open a second headquarters outside of Seattle.

'Week in Review' panel Bill Radke, Christopher Parker, Billy Bryant and Natalie Brand.
KUOW Photo/Kara McDermott

Amazon tells Seattle it wants to see other cities and announces plans for a second headquarters in another North American metropolis.

The only Republican Congressman from the Puget Sound area said this week he won't run for another term. Who will take over for Rep. Dave Reichert?

Image Courtesy/Vulcan

Amazon wants to double its footprint by building a second headquarters — for 50,000 more workers.

Consider that its current Seattle headquarters has more than 40,000 people at its Seattle headquarters.

An Amazon Prime truck delivers an Australian fern to Amazon’s campus for the ceremonial first planting at The Spheres on Thursday,  May 4, 2017, in Seattle.
Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Amazon

Bill Radke speaks with Geekwire editor Todd Bishop and Slate Magazine tech writer April Glaser about what it could mean for Seattle that Amazon will set up a second headquarters in a different North American city. 

The inside of the elevators at Amazon headquarters in Seattle. People who work at Amazon refer to themselves as Amazonians.
Flickr File Photo/cheukiecfu CC BY-NC-ND: http://bit.ly/1MUXs0y

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times report Mike Rosenberg about his article that shows how Seattle has become a company town for Amazon.

Crosscut Columnist Knute Berger also joins the conversation to talk about how he has seen this same pattern with Boeing and Microsoft before.

We also hear from listener on how this change has impacted them.

Amazon is cutting the prices of bananas, butter, organic eggs, and other best-selling staples at Whole Foods' 470 stores, promising customers lower costs and targeting the grocer's "Whole Paycheck" nickname. The online giant also says its Amazon Prime members will get special prices and perks.

Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods is another step closer to reality, after the Federal Trade Commission decided the grocery deal would not hamper competition or provide an unfair advantage.

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