Amazon Botched Its HQ2 Search Because Jeff Bezos Was Jealous of Elon Musk. It’s a Lesson for Every Leader – Inc.

Amazon Botched Its HQ2 Search Because Jeff Bezos Was Jealous of Elon Musk. It’s a Lesson for Every Leader – Inc.

Jeff Bezos
Amazon's doomed search for HQ2, its second headquarters, came about because Jeff Bezos was envious of the large incentive Elon Musk was able to command from Nevada for Tesla's giant battery factory, a new report says. There's a lesson there for every leader: Be careful of letting emotions, especially negative emotions, drive your business decisions. The search for HQ2 lasted more than a year and consumed untold hours of time from Amazon executives and government officials in 238 cities and counties. When it was over, the company had only half a deal, with Northern Virginia, which promised $573 million in incentives in return for for 25, 000 of the planned 50, 000 HQ2 Jobs. The other half of HQ2, planned for Queens, fell apart spectacularly, when Amazon met with deep resistance and bad publicity over the $2.5 billion in incentives from the city and state, and the company's unapologetic anti-union stance.  Now, a new report by Bloomberg suggests that Jeff Bezos was driven by envy over a $1.3 billion incentive package the state of Nevada gave Tesla to build a gigafactory there. Bezos reportedly wondered why Amazon was getting much smaller subsidies. It was a theme he ....


Then in 2017, Amazon received a $40 million subsidy for building a new air hub near Cincinnati. The executive in charge of those negotiations considered it a win and sent out an email congratulating his team, but Bezos, annoyed by what he considered too small a sum, decided it was time for new tactics to bring in bigger incentives. He noted that Tesla had created competition among five Western states for its gigafactory, and the idea for the HQ2 contest was born. "F--k you, we're Amazon." Amazon drew up a request for proposals in which the word "incentive" is used 21 times. According to Bloomberg, some Amazon executives were uncomfortable with the language. They knew the company would be offered incentives but to demand them, especially given Bezos's vast wealth, might expose Amazon to precisely the accusations of greed and arrogance that it later faced in Queens. .

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