About 230 cities in North America are attempting to seduce economic powerhouse Amazon to choose their city as their second headquarters. Who wouldn’t want a giant like Amazon in their city? Creating over 50,000 jobs in 10-15 years. It’s competitive, and we know that it’s a long shot, because as anyone would ask: Why would a big company like Amazon with headquarters just a short 2 hour flight away set up shop in Edmonton, Alberta?
Funny I can remember when I was about 10 years old, the internet was becoming a household name, in reality it had been out since I was 5 years old, but it was only more accessible by the household “compact computer” the device that brought us this new phenomenon, and that was mainstream in 1994-1996 when the price eventually became something a middle class family could afford, and programs like solitaire, word processing, and the oregon trail could blow our collective minds. They had these big clunky disc modems that sounded like fax machines, but could within a minute or so connect you to pages and pages of information. Anything you want just at your fingertips. It was absolutely mind blowing. Ideas and new business were generating faster than ever before, and the exponential growth of the internet exploded. Fast forward less than 8 years, and Amazon, Facebook, and Google were already setting the groundwork for running the largest technology companies in the world. The key to it all was scale.
It’s so easy to see the benefits to Edmonton. As someone who works in a space of early stage technology companies, and someone who lives in a city that hosts so many small to medium sized business (many with the capability to scale) I see Amazon as the catalyst for growing our region. Not just because of the jobs that can be provided by Amazon, but the inspiration and opportunity to learn their methods and grow new companies. Large companies can incubate ideas, they have the cash flow and the resources to bring even more technology and opportunities to life. Enter the opportunity for Amazon.
With Edmonton’s world class post secondary institutions boasting some of the best research students and programs in the world and a giant like Amazon to foster them, either to work at Amazon, or to start anew. We have the ingredients to build new scalable world class technologies. The missing link is the awareness early on in ideation that the impossible is actually possible, and with facilities and systems that Amazon can provide, those ideas can be brought to life and scaled beyond what we thought was possible. Hey, it’s been done before. Amazon literally took themselves from creating the “worlds largest book store” to the biggest online retail provider in the world. Edmonton is a city of risk takers, and doers. Ten years from now the face of technology and the internet will look different. Maybe we will have peaked in artificial intelligence and machine learning and things will come up that we have never even considered. What is the next big innovation? It’s right around the corner, and it’s going to happen when you foster those ideas. Edmonton is full of great ones.