Who owns Amazon?

We talk about companies in funny ways. Sometimes we anthropomorphize them, as many have with Amazon over the past couple of days while discussing the company’s decision to pause construction of its new office tower or whether it can afford to pay an additional $20 million a year in taxes. Company executives, on the other hand, will often justify decisions as necessary to fulfill their fiduciary responsibility to “the shareholders,” i.e. the often faceless owners of the company’s stock who vote for the board of directors, and by proxy control who is running the company and making key decisions. Given …

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Understanding Amazon’s “HQ2” announcement

Late last week, Amazon announced that it intends to set up a second headquarters campus in another city in North America, where it would employ up to 40,000 people over time.  Since then, local politicians and pundits have sounded off on what this means for Seattle. I used to work in business and operations for a division of Microsoft; I was involved in the strategy, selection and setup of several new sites, and I worked with people across the company who did similar work. Based on that knowledge, here’s my take on what Amazon is doing, why they’re doing it, …

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