Though the October 19 application deadline may have passed, the conversation around Amazon HQ2 is far from over. As my VentureBeat colleague Chris O’Brien reported yesterday, 238 cities submitted bids — meaning that we have to wait for Amazon to narrow down a list of 238 contenders to one.

As the deadline inched closer, the publicity stunts grew more outlandish — as we reported, the office of Kansas City Mayor James Sly promoted their city by writing nearly 90 reviews of products on Amazon that unsubtly doubled as reviews for Kansas City. And New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said that the state was willing to give Amazon nearly $7 billion in state tax breaks if it chose Newark for its second headquarters.

All of this courting of Amazon prompted some media outlets to decry these cities as “desperate” and “thirsty.” But it shouldn’t come as a surprise that cities are desperate to woo Amazon, when you consider how large the gap has grown between cities that are dominant in tech like San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, and Austin, and other parts of the U.S.

First, five of the 10 largest U.S. companies by market capitalization are tech companies. Second, 75 percent of the venture capital money that should in theory go toward creating the next Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Alphabet or Apple only goes to three states. So why wouldn’t a city’s mayor think that the solution is bringing one of those tech giants to their city, even if their city only has a 1-in-238 chance?

Amazon will likely be a gamechanger for whichever city is selected for HQ2 — but the other 237 cities can set themselves up for success by investing resources in creating an ecosystem that is ripe for creating the next Amazon from the ground up.

Send feedback, news tips, or story suggestions to me via email — bookmark our Heartland Tech Channel, and please remember to share these #HeartlandTech stories on TwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Thanks for reading,

Anna Hensel
Heartland Tech Reporter


P.S. Please enjoy this video from CNBC, “Amazon HQ2 a one-off special event that could turn a city into a tech hub

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