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Amazon HQ2: Advanced talks about second headquarters in Northern Virginia (washingtonpost.com)
195 points by aboveandbeyond 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 388 comments

This is clearly a DoD play. The federal government as a whole is thirsty for cloud services and having a services provider like Amazon literally at their doorstep is going to win them a lot of work. If they do bring good experts to government work instead of what the typical government contractors in the area provide this will be a good thing for taxpayers.

People keep saying this and I really don't follow. Why does the DoD care where the headquarters of the parent company of their contractor is located? Are they gonna pop in and ask questions about the Amazon retail site?

Sure AWS needs a sales office in the region. And a datacenter. And a lobbying shop too. Pretty sure they got all that covered already.

Yep, they have it covered already.

I lived in Northern Virginia for 8 years.

It's got a mediocre quality of life compared to other tech centers, extremely high cost of living, horrific traffic, and has a talent pool that is inflated on paper due to the misaligned incentives of the Federal government workforce (Federal government workers are promoted and hired based on arbitrary checkmarks like Masters degree: yes/no, etc) which cause people to pursue worthless graduate degrees for pay bumps. This is why there are so many diploma mill type schools with campuses there. Add in the incredible over-staffing of Federal projects (both gov't and contractor) and you get incredibly mediocre talent where a "full stack web developer" produces very little over 3 years and has an atrophied skill set. Forced me to hire based on side projects and active Github projects to weed out the huge amount of mediocrity.

Bezos has political aspirations, and honestly, this makes sense from the perspective of already having massive data center presence there. He will now have large numbers of employees added to both Maryland and Virginia, giving him much more influence with Congress since congressman in general kiss the ass of large employers in their districts.

Hopefully, he could have some positive influences on the Federal gov't, by having a contracting wing from Amazon that would help fix the awful, bloated, IBM-like state of the Federal agencies. They used to do great things, but like IBM, they have calcified into jobs programs with dead-sea effect staffing.

100%. My move from SF to DC was mind-blowing in the general expectations set on developers. Without hyperbole, a year of output at most gov't contracts is a couple weeks worth of work at a typical startup.

That plus it’s so much cheaper in DC. As someone who lives in the Bay Area but has to travel to DC a decent amount the complaints about DC housing costs are nothing compared to Palo Alto.

If Amazon is putting their campus there you should buy everything you can.

I’m in pretty much the reverse position, and also bought a house recently. Any time I was feeling frustrated about the housing market here, I just pulled up a search of Bay Area properties, or talked to my California colleagues about their struggles with real estate, and I felt a lot better.

This is not a cheap area by any means, but it’s far from the rarified heights of the more usual Big Tech areas.

Yeah - median housing price in Palo Alto is now 3.3 million.

I was looking at one bedroom condos in SF, but they’re around 850k to 900k for a small one.

Goodness. Sounds like some high quality software you’re working on.

I agree with this assessment. Bezos is definitely killing, not 2, but multiple birds with the HQ2 story. One is political influence and/or aspiration.

He can literally get great onsite political influence with DC based HQ2.

Imagine having a large group of employees under you whose close friend or family member works in sensitive or influential federal jobs.

I also love the spot in assessments about the inflated pay, degree mills, etc.

Wait why would Congress care about employees near DC, aside from the reps for VA and MD? I could believe Bezos wants to be near the political action... but DC doesn’t really have much pull in. National politics

You have the CIA, FBI, and NSA in the area...

Or: Amazon is going to heavily recruit former-DoD and government workers, luring them from low pay rates to high paying jobs. Reduce hiring friction: you don't need to convince them to uproot their families to move. They already live in the area, hell, their commute doesn't even change.

Are you more likely to award contracts to AWS if you work at the DoD knowing that in two years you can move over and suddenly quintuple your salary?

Your statement is incredibly naive and ignorant.

The Federal government pays incredibly well, but has few technology workers. They instead primarily act as managers for embedded contractors, who themselves are paid far above average for a given role.

Additionally, AWS already has a DoD presence.

Source: Lived in DC area for 8 years, worked on numerous federal contracts, witnessed highly overpaid, lazy shitbags who were so incompetent that government shutdowns forcing them to stay home sped up work on contracts.

Amazes me how the "government workers are underpaid" meme is so strong in people who haven't spent time in DC area.

I grew up in an impoverished rural part of Virginia 6 hours from DC. Going home and seeing my hard working relatives scrape by and do without after paying taxes, then going back to DC and seeing people who arrived at work at 9, left at 3:30, and yapped half the day made me transform from Leslie Knope to Ron Swanson.

I always tell people this:

The US political parties have it wrong. One thinks gov't is always bad and shouldn't exist. The other thinks it is fine, but just needs more money.

The reality is that it is a broken organization that used to be amazing, but has rotted, and the last thing it needs is more money. It needs to be radically reformed and reinvented. End rant.

How could the federal government possibly pay "incredibly well" in the context of software? ~185k is the current cap on salaries. That's not the bottom or the median, it's the top, a place most people will not reach in their whole careers, and there are rigid rules around how to get there. As far as I know, pretty much everyone is on something equivalent to the GS? Even contractors are on a proxy version of it, based on my experience in the space (it's why I left). I know people talk about 18f a lot on HN and I was under the impression they had to get an ultra-special allowance of some kind for even their salaries. What makes the pay so good, I really don't get it? There are benefits, sure, but I am under the impression that pensions aren't what they used to be, and a FAANG is going to give you health insurance as a dev. What am I missing?

Maybe they pay the people in question too much for their skills, motivation, or work product, but that is not "incredibly well" for a software developer in the USA. DC isn't that cheap, though certainly not like SF. If you are a good developer who doesn't show up at 9 and leave at 3:30 and don't want to, who can make it to a decent pay band at a FAANG, or have a specialization that demands high income, I just don't see how the government could be a good choice economically.

> ~185k is the current cap on salaries.

That's absolutely not true. Or rather, while it's a cap on basic pay, many Feds in technical roles make more than that after retention incentives.

You are vastly, vastly discounting the value of the benefits. THE most secure pension in the world (you cannot buy one that good on the private market), incredible health benefits, incredible vacation policies, lax work policies for most jobs, great holiday schedule, Gov will pay to train you, you effectively cannot get laid off (try downloading porn at most corporations for hours and hours and see what happens), etc.

Obviously that doesn't look quite as good right now (pretty much only for the software engineering field), but during the next recession? Best deal in the world. Heck, you even get free holidays every now and then during government shutdowns. (The employees have always been back paid for these if I recall correctly -- maybe there was one time they weren't? Very rare.)

You are vastly, vastly mischaracterizing government shutdowns as “free holidays.” Shutdowns due to lapses in appropriations by congress are extremely traumatic for ordinary government workers. It’s not as though you can just go on a trip while you wait for the government to re-open, as you must be ready to report the next day if appropriations are made. There is absolutely zero guarantee that back pay will be paid, despite what might have happened previously. Even if you wanted to work pro bono, you are forbidden from doing any sort of official work, even checking email, during a shutdown. In all, it’s stressful and morale crushing, and incredibly wasteful, as huge amounts of time are spent preparing for a shutdown and then spinning back up from it. To give just one example, at government science labs, experiments must be stopped, and any field work must cease and everyone must come home, which can ruin a big experiment that may have been years in the making. Calling it a holiday is flat-out false.

And private sector is far, far more stressful. Instead of worrying about whether or not you'll get a week of back-pay, you have to worry about how you're going to feed your family and keep a roof over your head after your job is terminated with no notice and a meaningless severance package.

Cry me a river. Federal jobs have downsides, but this isn't one of them.

This comment was good for a laugh, thanks.

My wife works for the feds and I'm in the private sector. I have a better retirement plan, better health benefits (she is on my plan, not vice versa), more paid vacation per year, more flexible work schedule, and more holidays (I get the day after Thanksgiving, she does not). Oh, and I get paid more.

Holidays will vary from government job to government job.

> government workers are underpaid

When people are talking about this, they're usually talking about local government positions like teachers, librarians, and social workers. Or the post office. Very rarely are people talking about contractors or white collar bureaucrats.

Maybe the reinvention could get automated? Like, any agency is going to be shut down and rebuilt without previous staff every 30 (or whatever) years after it was originally formed? Hard to see how the transitions from old to new version would be done unless you kept outwardly backwards compatibility, though. At least it could shake things up internally.

Norway is actually doing this a rebuild of one agency. The Government's Road Agency has essentially been deigned ineffectual and FUBAR, so a new agency has been formed (New Roads) with responsibility for all new roads. The old agency has stopped replacing retirees (I think) and will eventually disappear. This is of course never said loudly in plain words. I just wish they would do the same for the railroads agency, which is a peerless shitshow.

I’m more for that mindset toward government projects. Ie repaving highways every X years. Rebuilding buildings every Y years. There’s plenty of capital (buildings, roads, dams, etc) that is old enough that a tear down/rebuild makes sense - and would generate careers. As for people, they often represent institutional knowledge and ability. The people who’ve left the state department will be impossible to replace, for instance.

Actually that is a brilliant way of fixing broken government organization.

This comment is hilarious to me. Quintuple your salary? I worked in consulting for 5 years, and I can assure you that Amazon is already paying less for equivalent candidates. I'm not sure what you think happens in government consulting, but it is nothing like government employment.

Edit: The strategy you outline re: government employees is already employed by all of the large government consulting firms. Amazon is late to the game and behind the ball with their lack of awarded contracts. They might be able to catch up, but contracting is one field that has repeatedly shown itself to be resistant to disruption.

Agreed: government employment is not the same as government consulting.

There are generations of future government employees that haven't even graduated high school yet. Amazon is not dumb. Bezos has never played the short game.


If anyone in the consulting field is paying attention - right about now is almost too late to begin going out and lining up a bunch of clearance techies who can be on your secure GovCloud consulting team to provide all the services that the DoD will be needing.

Yeah, it seems the already available people with clearances would be the big selling point.

Most of the people with clearances are already working at major consulting firms in the area.

No, because as a procurement officer, you’ll be more worried about getting moved over to a US penitentiary a year after that.

That's not how it works. There are no restrictions on who you can work for, even if you were a CO/COR. The restriction is on representating a firm to the government. This happens very frequently; it's seldom that a flag officer retires without multiple offers from industry.

""" it might be assumed that a former contracting officer representative could not be hired by the same company whose contract they oversaw as a federal employee. Even though seeking such employment while still in federal service would represent a prohibited conflict of interest, seeking and being hired after federal service ends would be allowed ... the rules would bar the employee from representing them, such as through a communication or appearance, before a federal employee regarding the specific contract he or she oversaw """ https://www.army.mil/article/194019/moving_to_private_sector...

I imagine that it will make it much easier to have face-to-face happy hours, dinners, lunches, and so on. It will also enable people lobbying on behalf of Amazon to do so closer to the mothership and include people from Amazon to further strengthen their abilities. Those types of conversations do have benefit for the people they represent and are why there's a huge lobbyist industry. Those face-to-face meetings and parties and eating together really can make things happen faster than trying to broker deals from across the country through phone or video conference. I presume this is one of the main reasons behind this decision.

Plus when trying to make a sale or negotiate a deal I'm sure it makes people on the other side feel better if someone says "And the people to support you or jump when you say how high are going to be 5 minutes away rather than 2 timezones away." It's almost at the point where subcontracting out is similar to just having all the work done in the same building you're already in. Seems like that would make people feel more comfortable.

As a former government contractor (and employee), I can say having the tech teams nearby is an advantage. Personal relationships should not be underestimated, even when building software for the government. If anything personal relationships are even more important as there’s a high likelihood that non-technical people will be making the decisions on what and how you build the software.

I don't follow this logic either. Boeing has their HQ in Chicago, Raytheon in Massachusetts, UTC in Connecticut. The key thing these companies seem to do is spread their offices into relatively small states so when votes happen Senators have to go against large employees in their districts.

Boeing moved it's HQ to Chicago solely to cut down on the travel time to DC.

Boeigs HQ also has a tiny presence too.

Boeing HQ has nothing much to do with production, however, whereas I assume Amazon's HQ2 to have a lot of R&D in addition to its executive suite.

Boeing moved from Washington State to Chicago.

Boeing has a big presence near national airport and in the northern virginia suburbs.

As does Amazon.

Why does the DoD care where the headquarters of the parent company of their contractor is located?

Don't underestimate the power of the face-to-face meeting.

There's a reason that videoconferencing didn't kill the business class airfare.

> Why does the DoD care where the headquarters of the parent company of their contractor is located? Are they gonna pop in and ask questions about the Amazon retail site?

Don't underestimate how much of a difference-maker face-to-face is.

I've called and emailed people and the one thing that actually got things moving was just going to their dang office and seeing them in person. I don't think it matters how good the technology gets and how many VR-facetime conference call services develop, there's always going to be something irreplaceable about meeting in person. If there's not much of a significant difference on paper between you and the competition, it really does put you ahead of the competition if those meetings go well and the competition isn't doing it. Same for hosting dinners, etc.

Not only that but AWS is already in northern VA. They operate gov-cloud out of there as well. It’s already established. This is Amazon not AWA

A large portion of the North Virginia area commercial sector relies heavily on the services and manufacturing requested by the federal government.

Do not underestimate the power of locality. It is a big factor in marketing. Having face time with clients is the chief reason you win jobs.

for that reason a lot of the federal contractors are baked in and grown from Northern Virginia.

People have some good replies but they are missing a big one. Relationships. The DoD is absolutely who you know. That is a big part of it. You have to be in the area to have skin in that game.

The thing about sales is that at a certain level of client, the clients want to speak to executives, not salespeople.

If you're going to place executives in the area, then their underlings need to be there too, and so on. Putting your HQ where your executives need to be makes sense.

> The thing about sales is that at a certain level of client, the clients want to speak to executives, not salespeople.

This is why all sales people are called "executives" and why all executives spend a large fraction of their time on sales.

A lot of it is relationships. A lot of it is the kind of workforce you'll get (people already experience with DoD stuff and have the right clearances but don't want to move out of the DC/MD/VA area), and such things.

Amazon's big draw for someone currently doing cleared work is being able to ditch the clearance without taking a pay cut or moving. The people who want to work for Amazon and keep the clearance have already made that move.

Politically there's probably something to be said for having a strong local economic presence. But you're probably right that it can be overstated as a factor.

They care because having lots of cleared consultants close to secure sites is a big help.

Executive distance, would be my guess.

It’s easier to poach consultants and others with security clearances in DC than in Kalamazoo.

Amazon is actually optimizing their HQ2 search to avoid being a benefit for taxpayers, like everything else they do.

The whole point of announcing the search was to get the best from the taxpaxpayers. Quit being Amazons bagman.

So did you just not read their post at all? They're saying exactly the same thing as you.

Cloud services? This is a 2nd headquarters and Amazon is more than cloud services. They could handle the point you are making with simply a large local office. Not the entire company which is involved in a host of things that would make other areas more attractive.

This would effectively double the cost to DoD of any awarded cloud service contract to Amazon. In the form of higher cost of living for federal employees.

DC hardly needs any help to give federal employees higher COL, it's already more expensive than Seattle, and is about as expensive as Brooklyn, NYC: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/region_rankings.jsp?ti...

Looks like that’s not counting the whole metro area, so it’s kind of misleading. DC is a fairly small chunk of the region as a whole. It’s only the third most populous jurisdiction in the area.

The current locality rate for the DC-ish area (which actually goes halfway to Wilmington and Richmond) is 28.22%; thus, a GS-12-05 salary is $72k in a low-cost-of-living area and $92k in DC. The Federal Salary Council's recommended locality rate is 78.81%, bringing that notional GS-12 to $128k. So there is already somewhat of a disconnect between federal salaries and cost of living.

That aside, it's easy enough for the government to fix the housing problem. They're just too invested in keeping prices high to want that.

You might want to be aware of the Rest-of-US locality rate, which is around 14~15%.

A base pay of 72k would be ~82k w/ locality (Rest of US) vs ~92k (DC).

AWS already has a very large presence in the Ashburn area with offices and datacenters.

There are lots of other good things about the area- good schools, physical room for them to grow and take over a bunch of buildings, lots of engineers and business people in the area already, etc.

Alexa, surveil the American public.

I'd be willing to bet Bezos knew with 90% confidence where he'd want HQ2 a year ago and put on this prisoner's dilemma game amongst states to reap the most benefit possible before moving there.

> put on this prisoner's dilemma game amongst states to reap the most benefit possible

It may be just one factor, but it is much more than that let me explain.

Let us say Bezos came to the conclusion that Northern VA is right place long ago as you said and naively announced the place & commitment. What follows next is 65% of the region people cheer at the announcement and 35% protest stating it will cause housing expensive and traffic congestion etc..

After some back and forth negotiations with local govt. Amazon builds it HQ2. By the time HQ2 complete building complete campus (3 years), the unhappy dissident group get more support and "pass local city and state laws" demanding Amazon should pay for some affordable housing projects and some new infrastructure which may run into few billion dollars.

Now with this new bidding game, it is hard for the people of Northern VA to demand Amazon. Even if they do demand few years down the line few billion dollars towards some affordable housing etc. Amazon can happily pack back some of those Billions they got as tax breaks.

One can't build a Trillion dollar consumer retail business without playing on basic human psychology.

Jeff Bezos owns a $23m house in DC. The entire HQ2 process was a farce to get cities to game theory themselves to death in favor of Amazon. HQ2 was always going to be in NOVA.

Have you made this claim earlier than today?

There was someone who wrote a blog or tweet about it awhile back but I couldn’t find it.

Found it - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLtLz4wQtOg

He also owns the Washington Post, which is based out of DC. It'll create a nice network effect for his companies to share smart people.

Ey, you have to credit Scott Galloway if you cute hi.

* quote him.

I mean "quote him", not "cute hi"

Sounds smart and tactical. I guess there’s a reason he’s one of the richest people in history.

Just a stones throw away from Washington DC, imagine that. I’m sure it’s no coincidence that Amazon is in talks to do billions of dollars worth of work with the DOD and that the location choice of the second headquarters might have a lot to do with that.

Yeah, congratulations to everyone who called it ages ago or pointed out that a CEO is going to put HQ2 near an already established home.

Good work on 6+ months of press and making cities embarrass themselves for what seemed obvious from the start.


Scott Galloway was pretty confident that it was always intended to be in Washington, partially because of Jeff Bezos already owning a house there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HyiY_m_YxI&t=542

I recommend watching the actual talk, but there are a few sections of it summarized (including some about Amazon HQ2) in this article: https://www.recode.net/2018/9/19/17878766/scott-galloway-pre...

The richest man on Earth can buy any number of houses wherever Amazon builds an office.

It's got nothing to do with whether or not Bezos can buy a house in a given location. It has to do with examining the existing incentives that led Bezos to buy a home there in the first place, and applying that logic to the requirements of HQ2.

They got a ton of value — in my area they used the dopey package that the local economic development dopes put together to quickly extract concessions for a distribution center.

It seemed like the leader after 3/20 location choices were in the DC area (Montgomery County, DC, Northern Virginia). DC and Montgomery were kinda thrown in there to make it look like they could be contenders, but logistically Northern Virginia makes the most sense. It’s near metros, near IAD and Reagan airports, has land available for a large campus, has a lot of offices of other businesses doing work for the government, is a fairly rich suburban commuter area.

JB has had a home there which he’s been renovating to host large Gatsby-esk parties. It wouldn’t be surprising to see HQ2 there. I also foresee a strong potential he’ll turn into a Koch-esk political operative for his political positions; or, He might just make a run for the Presidency in several election cycles from now.

Crystal City really has so much going for it:

1. As you point out, right next to Pentagon and federal government. 2. Good transportation: right on the Metro and literally across the street from National Airport. 3. If you're going to have 2 headquarters, having them be on opposite coasts makes sense. 4. And I think another one that is pretty unique to Crystal City is that Amazon and their employees definitely want to be in a downtown, urban environment. However, most of the other cities on the list were either extremely crowded downtown, available sites were actually more out in the 'burbs, or the cities were far down in what a lot of people would consider "2nd tier" (or 3rd tier) cities. Crystal City is basically an urban suburb of DC that you could easily see having a great "vibe" for an HQ2, but still has room for Amazon to build out.

Another major advantage of Crystal City is that it is full of empty real estate. It was built up to house major federal agencies and their contractors, but all the agencies have moved out, and so have most of the contractors.

The Patent and Trademark Office had 5 huge buildings; they moved to Alexandria. The Dept of Defense is moving a lot of its employees to Fort Belvoir, and the contractors are following.

It's really kind of crazy to have such a major business district so deep in a major metropolitan area, with such low average occupancy.

I knew the USPTO had moved out. Those buildings are half a century old. Does Amazon plan to tear down and rebuild?

I wish I knew what Amazon was going to do!

I do believe they have said they want some folks working out of HQ2 in 2019, so that means using existing buildings, at least at first.

The USPTO buildings have a lot going for them: pretty close to Metro, dedicated parking garages, and a great view out over the airport. I had occasion to work in one of them in 2011 and it was in fine shape.

But even if Amazon does choose Crystal City, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll go after those USPTO buildings specifically. There are plenty of empty floors and buildings in CC to choose from.

I mean, Crystal City is pretty soulless, but a bunch of AMZN cash will make that millenial ready in no time.

Also, some nyt writer that’d never been there called it the Brooklyn of DC which was hilarious.

>Also, some nyt writer that’d never been there called it the Brooklyn of DC which was hilarious.

Meanwhile, Columbia Heights and Eastern Market will probably see their gentrification rapidly accelerate since they're a short Blue or Yellow line ride away on WMATA. H street will probably be safe since Washingtonians seems to have a pathological fear or switching lines during their commute and it's closest to a Red line station (Union Station).

> H street will probably be safe since Washingtonians seems to have a pathological fear or switching lines during their commute and it's closest to a Red line station (Union Station).

What if the gentrification spreads out from Union Market?

Lol @ the notion that Amazon cash will give a city “soul”

I think the poster above meant to be a little facetious. I tend to read “millennial ready” as building out a supply of tiny, $2000/mo studios with loads of flashy amenities and terrible quality construction.

Don't forget the cookie cutter restaurants, properly styled and stippled to create an illusion of not just being yet another bland chain.

Edison bulbs, wood, microbrews, and board games on hand. See you at trivia night!

I just involuntarily started grinding my teeth reading this entire comment chain, having escaped one such of those kinds of cities in Central Texas.

/walks away from the keyboard to avoid ranting about why I got the ever loving hell out of Austin yet again.

I’m going to poke the bear: why did you move out of Austin again?

You're a monster.

Honestly the city just felt very superficial in a lot of ways. I was there almost a decade and a half, and in that span of time I came to appreciate different things about the city for what they were, but that pervading sense that there wasn't really much substance beneath the surface ever left, and the direction of the city just stopped aligning with my long term personal goals of buying a house.

Once I went from "passively thinking about buying a house" to "making a five year plan to buy a house" I sat long and hard and thought about if I wanted to make central Texas my home. It's gorgeous here, the weather is great, yes The Lege absolutely sucks but find me someone who can't find some gripe about their state government and I'll find you the next Buddha.

I decided to leave and return to the midwest.

Adler's City council fought the state on bathroom bills and bag bans, many teeth were gnashed, garments ripped and sackcloth torn-but aside from a few annoyed editorials and longform pieces from the usual local columnists, when city council abandoned CodeNEXT (a critically needed rewrite of city zoning laws and building codes that would have allowed for greater density and eased pressure on a stunted housing market) once again caving to neighborhood associations that could give a damn about anything outside of their borough and continue to hold council hostage at the expense of development and well design urban planning, I threw up my hands and left.

Very interesting, thanks for the write up!

>I decided to leave and return to the midwest.

I’m actually in the Midwest right now and has Austin at the top of my places to move to. However, I do want to buy a house in the next 5 years, so this is making me have second thoughts.

Look don't take my word for it, okay? You can still buy a house there, if your personal finances allow and still really, thoroughly enjoy yourself. Austin is great for that, I will definitely go back for ACL Fest and sxsw (becoming one of THOSE people heh) because at its heart it is a very fun city. My personal priorities just changed as I grew older.

I was someone who got to Austin in the very early 2000's after leaving the military up the road at Ft. Hood, enjoyed it for a few years, and slowly watched it evolve into something that just didn't excite me anymore. My experience shouldn't sour yours.

(But seriously, if you're gonna buy a house, and want to actually enjoy having a bit of land, but still be close enough to Austin to do Austin-y things, Pflugerville, Round Rock and Georgetown to the North are blowing up, as are Buda, Kyle and San Marcos to the south, with Bastrop to the east. To the west is where Michael Dell and probably Lance Armstrong lives. That's all I'll say about that)

p.s. if you absolutely feel like you have to have Franklin BBQ, don't be a rube and stand in line for 4 hours. Get some friends over, pool your money together and call in, they'll do pick up orders for anything over $40 I think and you can skip the line-or call my buddy Mark, his brisket is better anyway :P

Yes plus restaurants with life affirming phrases written in script on small signs and strings of Edison bulbs.

I'm going to invest my money in a company that ships avocados and beard conditioner in bulk to Crystal City.

Seattle is soulless according to you? I’ve lived in Seattle and worked for Amazon when the headquarters was in a creepy old hospital up on beacon hill, and yes there has been change in Seattle, most of it for the better.

Anyone that tells you South Lake Union neighborhood was better pre Amazon is full of it. It was a bunch of warehouses and run down.

Do you have experience of Seattle over the past decade, or are you just repeating platitudes?

You only have the stresses of major homelessness and an extremely large heroin/meth problem, directly due to the endless growth Amazon and other large companies had on this city, with the "top minds" of Seattle having absolutely no clue how to solve it. I've seen multiple people die since I got here, and I've seen people with guns to their heads over drugs outside of my Capitol Hill apartment. Seattle's population willfully ignores everything wrong with the city too.

I live in Seattle. Things like the Showbox reportedly in serious danger of being demolished for luxury condo's are just showing how soulless this city is becoming in the name of 'growth'. The entire city population has been replaced by tech bros and their significant others, tech bro culture, ubers, the food is boring and most restaurants are over-hyped, costs are insane, the people are selfish and rude, there's nothing to do except drink and ride a bike to look at Puget Sound yet again, there's little culture or diversity, and the politicians work entirely in Amazon's favor. I have a decent stable job here, but I'd move if the opportunity was to arise.

How did Amazon cause the heroin problem in Seattle? There's been a growing heroin and homelessness problem all over the country. Did it cause this too?

I'll note that this is very much pre-Amazon:

"In the early 1990s, the rise of the grunge alternative rock music and subculture in Seattle brought media attention to the use of heroin by prominent grunge artists. In the 1990s, the media focused on the use of heroin by musicians in the Seattle grunge scene, with a 1992 New York Times article listing the city's "three principal drugs" as "espresso, beer and heroin" [4] and a 1996 article calling Seattle's grunge scene the "...subculture that has most strongly embraced heroin".[5] Tim Jonze from The Guardian states that "...heroin had blighted the [grunge] scene ever since its inception in the mid-80s" and he argues that the "...involvement of heroin mirrors the self-hating, nihilistic aspect to the music"; in addition to the heroin deaths, Jonze points out that Stone Temple Pilots' Scott Weiland, as well as Courtney Love, Mark Lanegan and Evan Dando "...all had their run-ins with the drug, but lived to tell the tale."[6] A 2014 book stated that whereas in the 1980s, people used the "stimulant" cocaine to socialize and "...celebrate good times", in the 1990s grunge scene, the "depressant" heroin was used to "retreat" into a "cocoon" and be "...sheltered from a harsh and unforgiving world which offered...few prospects for...change or hope."[7]

Leading grunge band Alice in Chains had a song "God Smack", which included the line "stick your arm for some real fun", a reference to injecting heroin.[5] Seattle grunge musicians known to use heroin included Kurt Cobain, who was using "heroin when he shot himself in the head"; "Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone [, who] overdosed on heroin in 1990"; "Stefanie Sargent of 7 Year Bitch[, who] died of an overdose of the same opiate in 1992...[and] Layne Staley of Alice in Chains [who] publicly detailed his battles with heroin...".[8] Mike Starr of Alice in Chains [7] and Jonathan Melvoin from The Smashing Pumpkins also died from heroin. After Cobain's death, his "...widow, singer Courtney Love, characterized Seattle as a drug mecca, where heroin is easier to get than in San Francisco or Los Angeles."[8]"


During what era was the Showbox culturally significant and to whom?

It's been culturally significant since 1939 and still is. There are still packed shows there almost every night. Music is one of the few places Seattle really has culture.

>Founded in 1939,[4] the Showbox has hosted a diverse offering of music over the decades. From the Jazz Age to the Grunge Era, the ballroom has featured shows by Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters and the Ramones — as well as local artists such as burlesque performer Gypsy Rose Lee, and grunge bands Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, TAD and Screaming Trees.[5]

>Other acts to perform at The Showbox have included Al Jolson, Mae West, Nat King Cole, Jimmy Durante and Dizzy Gillespie, The Police, XTC, X, Blondie, Gang of Four, Iggy Pop, Devo, Dead Kennedys and Jerry Cantrell.[7][8] More recent performers include The Weeknd, Snoop Dogg, Dave Matthews, Kanye West, Lorde, Robbie Williams, Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie, Public Enemy, PJ Harvey, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Daft Punk, Kasabian, Old 97's, Elliott Smith, Peter Murphy, Guided By Voices, Built To Spill, Billy Idol, David Bazan, Bebel Gilberto, Cat Power, Spiritualized, Sleater-Kinney, Minus the Bear, Coldplay, Bright Eyes, The Roots, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Dita Von Teese, Maroon 5, The Shins, The Melvins, My Morning Jacket, LL Cool J, DJ Shadow, Scissor Sisters, TV On The Radio, Ke$ha, Kimbra, Marina and the Diamonds, B-52's, Lady Gaga, Ice Cube, Paul Simon, Macklemore, JoJo, (Kpop group) A.C.E and many more.[9][5]


Lol @ the notion that Amazon cash will give a city “soul”

When I lived in Seattle, South Lake Union was pretty much a wasteland. Now Amazon is there and I hear it's a millennial/tech paradise.

People who think amzn cash will bring soul, also think....

Yeah - my thought was "Oh good, Crystal City. That way Amazon won't suck the soul out of a city, since the defense industry already left it a husk."

> However, most of the other cities on the list were either extremely crowded downtown, available sites were actually more out in the 'burbs, or the cities were far down in what a lot of people would consider "2nd tier" (or 3rd tier) cities.

Yeah, in Boston for example (where Amazon is actually doing some fairly heavy building and hiring in the Seaport anyway), the proposed HQ2 site was Suffolk Downs. That's not out in the burbs exactly but it is adjacent to old working class towns a little ways north. It's not what your typical techie would consider being in Boston.

I think Raleigh was somewhere out in industrial parks a decent way outside the city with no transit.


We'll see if this story pans out but the DC area always had to seen as a leading contender. Yes, it's probably a bit pricey but one wonders how much latitude Amazon would have had anyway to pick a cheap location and provide much lower compensation than HQ1 to reflect that.

Even if the area doesn't check all the boxes, it checks a lot of them--including the fact that there's a ton of local tech talent and DC is, if not everyone's idea of a dream location to live and work, is at least considered tolerable by many.

> Good transportation: right on the Metro

Found the guy who doesn't live in or around DC...

I lived in DC and rather liked the Metro...

And to its credit, Crystal City is actually pretty rad. It’s full of highly educated people who can’t say where they work or what they do. But they do have good taste in restaurants.

My biggest complaint about crystal city is that the restaurants are pretty bad. One one's above the Crystal City Shops are mostly chains you find wherever business hotels. And the ones on 23rd street are just mostly bad.

If I were going to work in HQ2, I'd live in Del Ray, though its more single-family focused. But it has some nice local restaurants.

I don't know. Compared to other areas around the country maybe. But with NoVA there are just better places. I remember going there twice maybe and just never had a reason to go back Crystal City.

Tons of empty office space for sure though. I think proximity to DC itself is probably the main selling point.

Absolutely. Government is a huge customer for AWS. Being literally walking distance to the Pentagon is valuable.

It's debatable whether Metro will be able to handle another few tens of thousands of daily commuters going through the downtown core to get to Crystal City. The system's already crammed up at rush hour and nobody has the budget for capital improvements to start to put more tracks through Gallery Place, Metro Center, and L'Enfant Plaza.

It would be interesting though, if Amazon was prepared to invest in capital improvements for Metro...

Judging from Seattle's experience, Amazon is not really prepared to do anything other than garner support from the business community and support a token streetcar. And Metro's capital needs are probably much bigger than Seattle's and are politically more complicated due to three jurisdictions that are frenemies in the best of times.

More like twelve jurisdictions. The various counties and cities also get involved. It’s quite Fun.

I was just talking about the board.

It's worth noting that Seattle and DC have vastly different representations on their boards. In DC this is two representatives picked by the governments of DC, VA, MD, and the feds each, and in some cases not even appointed by elected officials. In Seattle, this is a board consisting almost entirely of elected officials of counties and municipalities.

Seattle's method works because the responsibility of elected officials is quite clear and their voting records are transparent, whereas a diffuse chain of responsibility via appointment is not.

"It would be interesting though, if Amazon was prepared to invest in capital improvements for Metro..."

Narrator: Amazon wasn't.

Metro rideship is down from its peak, overall. The system handles over 600,000 rides per day now; it handled around 750,000 per day between 2008 and 2012.

Riders commuting from downtown DC to Crystal City would be going against the prevailing flow into the city. Plenty of room on those trains in the morning.

Riders in MD would have a hard time, but a person would have to be pretty dumb to move to MD for a job in Crystal City.

> ridership is down from its peak

Because Metro's reputation suffered when operations couldn't keep up with rising ridership. What will prevent Metro's operations from suffering again when an influx of Amazon employees stresses the system again? Would it be better if those workers got onto the already-jammed freeways?

> against the prevailing flow

Only if they board the trains between the downtown core and Crystal City. Odds are, if they're boarding from the northwest or from newly gentrified neighborhoods, they need to pass through the downtown core to get to Crystal City, which puts them on the same trains as people commuting in from the suburbs. They may get on pretty close to where the suburban commuters get off, but there's still an overlap. Not to mention the overcrowding on the downtown core platforms themselves. Keep in mind as well that Crystal City-bound trains from the downtown core stop at the Pentagon first, which has its own non-negligible share of commuters - those trains may not be full, but they sure aren't empty.

I love how easy it is to get to National on the Metro. I took public transit to Dulles once, and that was notably less easy.

Dulles will be connected to Metro in 2020.

It will still take forever to get there...

I lived in Crystal City for a few years. Perfect place for it.

> 2. Good transportation

Surely, you jest. Yeah, it's on a metro line, but hardly anyone lives near a metro line. That area is consistently rated as the #1 or #2 worst traffic in the country for years.

What are you talking about that no one lives near a metro line?

It’ll be on the same line as Shaw which is one of the most desirable neighborhoods for 20/30 somethings in DC right now.

Metro serves a tiny fraction of N. VA. Sure, if you're in DC and commuting out, it's probably ok, but people don't tend to stay in DC very long. Once they have kids and realize there is no hope of reasonable public education there, they move.

Your comment about "nobody lives near a metro line" though - I mean, come on! With the orange line and silver line extension there are lots of places in NoVa near the metro. Yes, the car traffic is horrible, but the car traffic is horrible in SF, LA, Boston, NY, Austin...

As another commenter pointed out, there is actually a ton of empty real estate in Crystal City itself and no doubt a ton of it will be built up as apartments/condos now.

Inside the beltway is very different from outside the beltway.

Sounds like good transportation with terrible urban planning.

Yes, it's always inconvenient and disillusioning when people refuse to live where "urban planners" think they should live.

That would make sense if urban planners were the ones telling people not to live near transit stations, but it's generally existing residents opposing new housing.

Though, perhaps to your point, I also am not a fan of almost all planning. The nicest places to live, walk, etc. tend to be ones that arose before planning was widespread. Of course, they existed before the car, too.

Demand for Metro-convenient housing is enormous. Builders are having trouble keeping up.

Also, Bezos’s interests in Blue Origin and the Washington Post. Oh, and he has a mansion in DC: https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/04/22/inside-jeff-bezos-d...

Or it could be that AWS contract for the Pentagon... literally across the street (highway) from Crystal City (Pentagon City).

OR...Bezos’s interests in Blue Origin and the Washington Post

Bezos for president 2020?

Running mate Zuckerberg?

No thanks.

Bezos obviously knows how to run a company, but the only "brand" he has is (I think unfairly) "exploitative capitalism". If Bloomberg can't be president Bezos probably can't either. And probably wouldn't want to, to be honest.

Zuckerberg might want to, but he's universally despised on both sides of American politics, so no chance there.

(Not to mention that VP picks are normally used to broaden the ticket's appeal, not double down on it...)

I don't really see "exploitative capitalism" as being a problem for Bezos. As our current president has pointed out, it's just smart business. In our current political climate that will probably be lapped up by someone.

Aargh, I wish ONE tech company would put a HQ somewhere in the South. I currently live in the Bay Area working at a company I love, but I'll have to move back at some point (my wife wants to be closer to family).

Crystal City, VA is still an 8 hour drive from the part of the South I'm from. Atlanta, Raleigh, and Nashville have so much potential... I think if just one of FANG put a HQ there (or even an office), the others would quickly follow.

I feel like the South has a long way to come before the average tech worker would want to live and work there. You couldn't pay me enough (literally since comp is so low out there, but also kind of metaphorically as well) to go work and live in any Southern state. Maybe you need a critical mass? - fellow Bay Area tech worker

Can you elaborate why the south has a long way to go before the average tech worker would want to live there?

The politics and culture (which are intertwined). Even if one area or city is more liberal, you're still dealing with a conservative, and possibly racist, sexist and homophobic, state government.

Agreed. State government in Texas is constantly overturning city ordinances in Austin: the whole bathroom bill BS, requiring local police to hold suspects for ICE, even overturning the plastic bag ban.

All of the current political ads are pretty nauseating. Regardless of where you stand on the issue of managing immigration (and IMO there are lots of fair points on both sides that I think unfortunately get drowned out by extremists), the tone of the current set of ads is clearly "Evil brown gang members are coming to sell your kids drugs and murder your family." Makes Willy Horton look quaint.

Having lived in Alabama, this would be rather offensive if it weren’t so endearing; Sounds like a child who’s so certain that the closet hides a monster, that they’re too scared to go learn that the noise is just an air vent.

I’ve known many a gay man who has left the south because they don’t feel safe there. Certainly voting wise, the parents comment feels very true.

I've known gay men who moved to the south because they liked the culture, so where are we now?

At perfect equilibrium for gay men in the south, with a pseudo-osmotic filter allowing only hardy gay men. Meanwhile the wimpy gay men who fled are invading the rest of the country, leaving behind a trail of well-kept neighborhoods with lots of tasteful little galleries.

Having lived in Georgia and Tennessee and still having family in the Carolinas, you're either a straight white man or living in denial.

I lived in Atlanta for the better part of a decade as a brown guy right after 9/11. Was great.

30 miles outside Atlanta things were not so rosy for brown people right after 9/11 when I lived there. And now, 17 years after 9/11, Georgia is doing everything it possibly can to suppress and purge voters who might shift the state away from staunch conservatism [1]. Please don't pretend there aren't massive issues in the south preventing it from being appealing to west coasters.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/03/us/politics/georgia-gover...

I guess you never spent much time in the hills just an hour or so from Atlanta in almost any direction, in any of a good number of towns where “a brown guy” would have a hard time finding a restaurant willing to take his money for food.

One of my college buddies lived in Douglas, three hours south of Atlanta in south georgia. Never had anyone be anything short of incredibly polite and hospitable. Heck, I’ve been in rural Illinois, rural VA, and rural GA quite a bit and everyone’s been great. I don’t know (or much care) about peoples’ politics but I’ve always been treated respectfully.

Another brown guy checking in. My aunt and uncle practiced medicine in Murphy, NC for many years and only ever had a problem when the feds thought Eric Rudolph might be hiding in their backyard.

You’re so unwilling to stand behind your statement that you created a sock puppet account to say it for you.

Having lived in Alabama as a Catholic yankee I was met with at best extreme ignorance about my then beliefs and at worst outright harassment and discrimination for having the wrong accent and wrong Christian denomination. Within the first week of moving there, we had a Klan rally in town.

Most of the other local Catholic families, if they could afford it, moved their children to private school to escape.

The schools had corporal punishment, and demanded that we call our teachers sir or ma'am, a custom that I was not used to and have encountered nowhere else. Failing to do so landed me in detention within the first month or so.

I was there for the original Roy Moore saga.

This was 15+ years ago and in a rural community with dirt roads, so I'm sure things have changed a bit and do not apply to the whole state, but checking the school website corporal punishment is still alive and well and Alabama nearly elected Roy Moore yet again.

I would never live there so long as the current toxic blend of religion and politics dominates the Southern political scene.

With the rampant sexism in west coast tech companies, you'd think they'd feel right at home in the southern states then.

North Carolina?

1. It's a control state. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcoholic_beverage_control_sta...

2. The politics are still overtly racist: https://twitter.com/haroldpollack/status/1051657219899617280

3. The HB2 saga demonstrates how strong the Christian right is in the state. As does a candidate in a race too close to call insisting there will never be peace in Jerusalem until Jews acknowledge the divinity of Christ: https://forward.com/fast-forward/413488/gop-candidate-no-pea...

4. gun laws are relatively permissive: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_laws_in_North_Carolina

5. MJ legalization is behind west coast states: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cannabis_in_North_Carolina

So for some context I’m a black male, early 20s who just moved to NC from CT.

I’ll address 1,4, and 5 out of order and point out I don’t see their relevance to moving.

If NC had particularly egregious holes in its gun laws or something, I’d understand 4, but it doesn’t. It just doesn’t have notably strong gun laws, which puts it in the majority of states.

The other two are pretty inconsequential if you’re talking about the average person considering upending their entire existence to move somewhere, not a weekend romp

Now the other two...

That tweet was so egregious I had to look for context. It’s not a good context but it’s more of the gerrymandering conversations that have gone on around the country and it’s a technicality that they had to use that language.

Now if you think attempts to exclude blacks from politics is a southern problem, you must be out of touch with the rest of the US...

But of course it hurts to admit this is such a systemic issue that it’s not unsurprising to see a state grappling with it.

On the other hand, it’s also not going to fix itself by avoiding the many states it happens in.

I don’t believe in just sitting on my hands and waiting for change. I gladly moved to NC knowing of it’s troubled politics because they’ve been moving in the right direction.

It feels like what you’re saying is “NC is not SoCal” and in a way you’re implying “why would an average tech worker want to move to somewhere that isn’t a spitting image of California and SV culture?” (bringing up MJ legalization is a dead giveaway...)

The reality is places won’t change until people of other cultures join them.

My criteria for moving to NC wasn’t “will there be fewer religion nuts per square mile”, it was “is this a place where I can feel accepted without bending over backwards and changing who I am”.

And so far it has. I have gone on weekend trips to “the middle of nowhere” and wondered if I was getting looks because of the small black sports car in tractor-and-pickup-land, or because of the black person inside, but immediately felt ashamed when I entered a gas station or a store and had nothing but hospitality shown to me. (A friendly reminder, you can be woefully out of touch with Israel and Judaism, obsessed with religion [by our outsider standards] and still not be a fundamentally bad person)

Expecting other places to coddle your tastes and expectations to the point you’re complaining you have to buy certain types of liquor in a special store when bringing up blockers for people living somewhere... it doesn’t scream awareness of how the world at large works.

> It feels like what you’re saying is ... “why would an average tech worker want to move to somewhere that isn’t a spitting image of California and SV culture?” ... Expecting other places to coddle your tastes and expectations

I mean, this was the topic at hand. I recognize it hurts to hear one's chosen home disparaged, but when you're trying to recruit candidates into a location, you can't exactly demand they put up or shut up. You're not just competing with LA, you're also competing with SF, Portland, and Seattle, as well as Denver and other cities in Colorado. The 'blue bastion in a red state' pitch for specific cities basically relies on the supreme court to protect blue cities from their state governments, and well, we probably need to see a term or two of today's Supreme Court before we understand the full ramifications of recent appointments.

On the other hand, Amazon's HQ2 strategy seems to be 'let's find a lower CoL city to house all the accountants and HR specialists', so nationwide recruiting may not be an actual concern.

You’re not “disparaging my chosen home” (again strongly implying to me you have a pretty narrow experience with living in different places, once you’ve lived in varied enough places you embrace the fact nowhere is perfect)

If anything you’re whining that the US isn’t a white SV techie monoculture, and it’s music to my ears...

I don’t want NC to put for or put up with SV yuppies, I want NC to grow it’s own culture that is different than its current culture, but also different from what a coddled liberal wants apparently.

There’s a difference.

This thread wasn’t “where in the South can SV run it’s Xerox machine and make San Francisco 2”.

It’s where the would an average tech worker, who FYI is not a stereotypical FAANG employee, want to settle down.

There’s plenty appealing about NC, and plenty of other places that don’t fit your narrow minded, and frankly conceited view of how the world works.

> (again strongly implying to me you have a pretty narrow experience with living in different places, once you’ve lived in varied enough places you embrace the fact nowhere is perfect)

Heh, I actually did live briefly in NC as a child. And Texas, and Georgia, and Kansas, because my father was a contract software consultant. And I've spent my career in three different states. When I chat with my former colleagues from Kansas City about recruiting, there is always a tone of defensiveness about why none of my student employees consider their companies.

> If anything you’re whining that the US isn’t a white SV techie monoculture, and it’s music to my ears...It’s where the would an average tech worker, who FYI is not a stereotypical FAANG employee, want to settle down.

Eh, it's just the uphill battle you face in recruiting. And we haven't even really touched the subject of recruiting foreign nationals. I don't particularly care much about most of the items I posted, I just wanted to offer perspective to the 'we don't need to change to recruit, the recruits need to change' crowd seen here and elsewhere.

If you want my personal justification for not moving to NC or further south, it's pretty easy: Fire Ants.

You lived in all of these places but apparently it didn’t affect your development. Living in a place doesn’t need mean you let it change or affect you, I’ve lived in Ghana, Canada, various Western European countries and a few states, and the important part has always been being open to the culture of a place, not just being there (at a young enough age you don’t control that, but you don’t have to be that old to become more of a passive observer of your surrounding culture than an active participant)

I say that because you’re just doubling down on my point. Why do FAANG employees come into recruiting an average tech worker? In a sentence... “who needs them?”.

You seem to be in this, again, somewhat conceited, line of thought that the rest of the US combined does so little that the SV microcosm is the average of US tech and to change that you need to include the whole world (foreign nationals).

It screams this “oh what they do doesn’t count” or “you need that stereotypical FAANG guy” mentality that I see so much in trendy tech.

The average recruits don’t have to change to come to places like NC, or really places that aren’t don’t have Sillicon in their name (Sillicon Alley, Sillicon Mountsin, etc. included). All they need is an open mind.

Not the “Open to everyone in my hive mind, everyone else is not even worth communicating with” mind that I’ve seen grow strong in “trendy tech”

The recruits who think they’re being asked to change only think so because of closed minded thoughts almost all of the time.

They become so attached to this idea of an “open monoculture” that anything that isn’t their existing culture is an attack on it instead.

“How dare you try and make it change which monoculture I follow”.

NC would be a terrible place if it worked like SV because everyone would be the people who support the guy want Jews to accept Christ and repel anyone who felt differently and try and change you for not agreeing. That would be a close race, it’d be a won race.

And people who are in that “open monoculture” mindset immediately try and apply their lens to NC and see that.

At the end of the day people are coming to NC, and NC has accepted them. It’s not the place these people would project it as

(Replace NC with literally any “off the beaten path but somewhat up and coming locale that’s not a traditional ultraliberal playground)

Austin is a bigger deal than Denver or Portland, for tech.

Not sure if you've lived in NC... but there are a few things to that that I think you may have missed:

1. Yes, the fact that this is uniformly a control state, that is a problem. (Given how they are, I wish they had some special exclusion areas) However, a lot of the east coast operates in the same manner. The early hour for last call is bad as well.

2. Politics that you're talking about have very little to do with the tech sector. Despite what silicon valley would have you believe, you can be a conservative and be a productive member of the industry.

3. This sounds like you're pushing a political agenda here. I think a more succinct way to put this would be: Given the demographic that the tech industry attracts, the bible belt would not be favourable to their lifestyle.

4. (Also see #3)

There are reasons for doing tech in NC and it does have a small tech sector.

on #3, based on my 21 years in the south, i'd say non-white non-mail non-christian should seriously consider before moving there, especially if not in a million person city.


How much time have you spent in the south? You seem to know it quite well.

Another intolerant and narrow minded statement.

The North Carolina government is in the hands of the Republican party, with the exception of the governor's office, which is one of the weakest executive branches in the country and due to get weaker with some of the constitutional amendments on the ballot this year.

NC has some potential to improve its standing, but so far the gerrymandering has proven insurmountable as even when the courts rule the districts to be illegal, they allow them to continue to be used because the next election is always "too soon".

How is this tolerated as acceptable comment ? No way this would be tolerated if similar sentiment was said of SF but the South is fair game on HN. Everyone in the South particularly Texas is a bigot except the tech elite who are fleeing the high taxes and cost of living of California and other states for the abundant jobs in TX.

I suppose the culture, politics, and traditions. Bay Area is generally quite liberal and tolerant, even if it is not the most diverse. Tech workers tend to be highly educated, well traveled, and open to new ideas. In contrast, I feel like the South is more xeno/homophobic, resistant to change, conservative etc. I have well educated family members in the South who are low-key racist. As a single data point, most young people I know/work with in California who comes from the South does not want to return for these specific reasons. That, combined with a lack of the kind of critical mass that provides Bay Area tech workers with a thriving job market / safety net, precludes (to me) the possibility of tech ever truly thriving in the South.

I realize how pretentious this probably sounds. Take is as a single anecdote, based off my own personal experience.

I would love to be proven wrong, and will gladly eat my words for dinner.

"quite liberal and tolerant"

The Bay has a kind of a specific moral view, which is sometimes applied in a fairly authoritarian manner.

It's not very Liberal, and arguably not hugely tolerant either.

For example, all sorts of activities which are common and normal in the rest of America and the world are either frowned upon, or considered fully uncool in the Bay. Things like fishing. Hunting. Most sports. Talking about sports. Twangy accents. Country music. This is a long list.

For example, promoting vegetarianism, and frowning upon those who are not (or forbidding it) as is now the case at 'We Work' - isn't remotely liberal. (Can you imagine if Texas Oil required their employees to be meat eaters?)

Though most of that won't get you in trouble in the Bay, it puts you in the 'out club' in much the same way that being a little bit to colourful or effete might put you in the 'out club' in Texas.

FYI - Having lived both in Texas and The Bay, I'm confident in saying that in the vast, vast majority of Texas you have nothing to worry about if you don't fit the Texas profile though in some legal cases it might be tricky. You just won't be 'cool' in their sense. There are tons of out gay people in Texas, working in all sorts of industries. It's not as good as the Bay, surely, but it's not hell on earth.

When I was in Texas, the ladies in the office would not have it that a young single man would be alone for Thanksgiving. They put myself and the other ex-pats into homes for the holiday dinner.

In Cali, nobody really cared about Thanksgiving, and certainly did not think to care that some people might be alone during this festive time.

Both areas have a general view of how things ought to be, and that view is applied sometimes in an authoritarian manner, and neither of them are hugely tolerant or Liberal. They have 'their ways'.

The Bay has a kind of a specific moral view, which is sometimes applied in a fairly authoritarian manner.


For example, all sorts of activities which are common and normal in the rest of America and the world are either frowned upon, or considered fully uncool in the Bay. Things like fishing. Hunting. Most sports. Talking about sports. Twangy accents. Country music. This is a long list.

So true.

Twangy accent here. Truer than I like to admit.

To be fair, pro sports are an obvious waste of valuable time and attention.

Personally, I’d rather actually connect with someone (or not) than use such mindlessness as a social crutch. I don’t find the extremely common phenomenon of people who don’t like sports forcing themselves to pretend they do for career-related reasons to be particularly healthy, either.

"To be fair, pro sports are an obvious waste of valuable time and attention."

Ha ha ha - this is so funny.

If this comment is not satire, then I think I just made my point!

I hope that readers here realize how fairly uncommon (and elitist, i.e. everyone is obviously wasting their time) this kind of statement is. Surely, a lot of people don't like pro-sports, but most are not so antagonist about it.

My gosh, if you want to connect with people from anywhere, the first thing you can do is talk about sports!

I only wish I cared about sports, it would be so much easier on sales calls and hanging out with regular people!

>My gosh, if you want to connect with people from anywhere, the first thing you can do is talk about sports!

Exactly the social crutch I was lamenting. This phenomenon is indeed real, and it’s pathological.

pretty sure that was a joke

lol man. I don't watch sports but I guess you don't play video games, watch netflix, etc.? All are equally wastes of time.

Netflix and video games don’t directly promote tribal bullshit, and they generally don’t infect the workplace with career-impacting social expectations. I have seen the latter in various workplaces, indeed nearly all of my prior workplaces. The former is just patently true.

> Netflix and video games don’t directly promote tribal bullshit

They most certainly do, at least games anyways. Clans for example have a fairly tribal sounding name.

I’ll believe this when I see riots in the streets where the local clan win a championship, and/or when spectators with no relationship to the players routinely come to blows over which clan is better.

/r/iamverysmart is on reddit, not HN.

Good reading for people with this worldview (which at one time included myself): “Cultivated Disinterest in Professional Sports”[1]


I come to my disdain for pro sports honestly, it’s not an intellectual virtue signal. I played baseball, basketball, and (later) American football from childhood (~5yrs old on) through high school. I think the sports themselves to be great, with the exception of some obvious problems with football. They help build so many hard and soft skills, and in their best forms they really help build character.

All that said, pro sports culture is basically a social cancer for various reasons, including some that are illuminated directly in that article. The “but how will you relate to the working class” argument is weak, and gives the reader permission to use social crutches rather than useful, generalizable social tools. Indeed, the idea of “becoming” a pro sports fan to be able to socialize with a certain class of people is rather condescending.

The New Yorker is an obvious waste of valuable time and attention but I don’t hold that against an entire region.

> In Cali, nobody really cared about Thanksgiving, and certainly did not think to care that some people might be alone during this festive time.

So true. The west coast in general seems it would rather spend a holiday alone with the internet rather than with other people.

Being west coaster, I almost didn’t know what to do when strangers would start a random conversation with me. I’m only used to homeless people doing that here.

"""It's not very Liberal, and arguably not hugely tolerant either.

For example, all sorts of activities which are common and normal in the rest of America and the world are either frowned upon, or considered fully uncool in the Bay. Things like fishing. Hunting. Most sports. Talking about sports. Twangy accents. Country music. This is a long list."""

Sorry, this isn't the kind of tolerance I was talking about. You're missing my point if you thought that I meant the Bay Area is a bunch an unopinionated amoeba. The Bay Area is just as entitled to not prefer country music as the South is to prefer it. I don't think liking country music in the Bay Area will cause any sane, reasonable person to treat you differently or not be your friend.

(also, the statement "the Bay Area is not very liberal" may be changing slowly from an attitudinal perspective, but certainly that statement does not bear out in the polls)

Your point is well taken though. You're right that both areas have general views about how things ought to be. The main difference that I think most Californians/PNWs really care about are the differences in views relating to social issues, human rights, and tolerance from a governmental and legal perspective. Thinking that fishing is not cool is a little different than your government trying to ban same sex marriage, for example. And thinking hunting is not cool is different than living somewhere that witch hunts immigrants.

" I don't think liking country music in the Bay Area will cause any sane, reasonable person to treat you differently or not be your friend."

It absolutely will.

If you hunt, or own a gun or into 'gun sports' it will 100% affect who your friends are. Did you hear about the employee outrage when Zuck killed is own lamb for passover (or whichever festival it was, I'm not knowledgable). Do you really think that being a 'hunter' won't affect your status at 'WeWork' - a company that enforces vegetarianism? Among a whole bunch of other values?

Listening to Country Music and driving a pickup? Not cool in the Bay - unless it's hipster/ironic. If you are 'openly' Christian, it will likely affect who your friends are as well.

These are not so much conscious thoughts people make, or outright judgements (in some cases they are) - but it will lose you a lot of points on the spectrum of social hierarchy.

I interviewed at a FANG once and the interviewer was interested in the band that I played in and asked what kind of music we played. It was a very long time ago ... and I suppose my answers were not hip enough for him because he obviously was not impressed.

Social circles, companies/startups, clubs, interests - these are all very intermixed as sad as it may be, we make judgements on these thing in life and in business.

""the Bay Area is not very liberal" may be changing slowly from an attitudinal perspective, but certainly that statement does not bear out in the polls""

I mean liberal by classical definition. You seem to be referring to the American pop-culture political definition of 'Liberal' - which frankly has very little meaning, or more like 'left wing'.

So yes, of course the Valley and Cali are fairly 'Liberal' in the pop-culture political sense and will be forever, but they are not very 'liberal' in the classical sense (though the valley has a history of being a little libertarian, which is a little more like classical liberalism, but still different).

In Texas, they really don't care who you are overall. But if you are gay, or effete, or a little weird, you might not be in the cool club. If you were the QB on your high school team, you get bonus points. If you 'never miss Church' it might get you a few bonus points in some places.

In Cali, sure, you can do or be as you please, pretty much. If you drive a big truck, speak with a twang, talk about football or fishing a lot ... you're not going to be in the cool club. Being a vegan, or having a really humbling 'rags-to-riches ethnic minority from another country story' ... will give you big empathetic bonus points. If you belong to a 'Social Justice Cause', or 'attend burning man' - it might get you some bonus points.

In both Cali and Texas - people feel a weird need to push those behaviours on others, maybe as a function of virtue signalling, and to also shame a little bit people that don't follow suit, i.e. 'if you don't support my SJW cause/attend Church you must be immoral'.

Everywhere in the world is like this to some extent, but this is slightly more common in America I think than the rest of the world, particularly bolder, more aspirational regions that are a little 'newer' and have a stronger sense of ideological identity - like Texas and Cali!

I guess we just have different experiences man. The people I know, love, and associate with don't give a fuck if you fish, hunt, or own guns. Plenty of people own trucks, not everyone is vegan, tons of people love sports including football.

Of course there are people in the Valley who own trucks, hunt and fish etc..

But it's not really a matter of 'personal experience' - because in general, those are not cool things to be in the Valley - and many people will care.

'Culture fit' is a huge point of exclusion at high tech companies.

WeWork went fully vegan for exactly this reason: they don't want those meat eating types, and the culture that comes along with it.

Move to Seattle.

We are like SF except we still enjoy BBQs, sports, and my friends from Texas get compliment about their accent.

Weather is a bit chillier though.

So in another word, wework is now discriminating against meat eaters. Isn't that being intolerant?

I’ve had no trouble finding fishing and hunting partners in SV. I’ve never personally felt anyone hugely opposed to hunting either, unless it some how conflicted with how they feed themselves. I do find it interesting thatduck hunting during season can be done just a maybe a mile from the Yahoo/Google Cloud buildings in north Sunnyvale. I have frequently seen full camo duck hunters carrying shotguns from the water treatment center walking out to the duck blinds.

As far as sports, your average engineer isn’t typically consumed by them, but half the engineers I’ve worked with from the bay seem to be fans of whichever team is doing great at the moment (warriors or giants or often the sharks).

I’ve also done more sport fishing and crabbing here than anywhere else I’ve lived.

I think the huge numbers of foreign residents have a large impact on the overall culture compared to say rural Texas, but it doesn’t seem too far off imho.

One other point is just how many super packed country concerts there are at shoreline.

Tl;dr San Jose/SV is just as country music/sports obsessed /game and fish oriented as the rest of the country (if you don’t surround yourself with non-North American engineers for eg).

Edit: on mobile, autocorrect at word.

> I’ve never personally felt anyone hugely opposed to hunting either, unless it some how conflicted with how they feed themselves.

I think if you decided to test this theory, with say a picture of yourself with a buck on Facebook or twitter, you’d find it to be untrue.

A lot of SV may not be extreme one way or another, but for employees at large tech companies there’s a definitely and strong bias.

Protip if anybody wants to talk sports at a tech company and is finding the technical teams lacking, head on over to the Go-to-Market teams; knowing what's going on in whatever sport is in season is basically in their job description.

No one in the bay area cares about fishing.

Contrary to what seems to be popular perception, Texas is not “the South”. The South is the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and _maybe_ the Virginias and Kentucky.

The best history book I ever read on The South indicated that extensive research found that some definitions included Texas, some didn't. Some included Florida, and some didn't. Etc.

Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and a few others were consistently included in all definitions of The South. "Edge" states for the region varied tremendously.

That would be the deep south.


The capital of the Confederacy was in Virginia, but you’ve decided that it’s not in the South.

Let’s try Wikipedia instead. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_United_States

Geographically, sure. However, "the South" can mean a lot of different things. e.g. "the South" culturally does not apply to much of Virginia, Texas, or Florida.

As clearly stated in the first paragraph of the Wikipedia article I linked, you’re confusing the “Deep South” and the “South.”

The south is the states that lost the civil war. It goes past Mississippi.

That's only one way of defining it. Without context, it can mean many different things.

> most young people I know/work with in California who comes from the South does not want to return for these specific reasons

I lived in the City of St. Louis† for 13 years (and in the County for 6 before that) before moving to NYC. What I find is that young folks here who say they're from, say, Cleveland or St. Louis or similar cities in the South and whose experiences since moving have led them to believe that nothing they've found here exists back home, are often from the exurbs of those places and don't actually know what it's like to live in the center of a Midwestern or Southern city.††

I suspect they wouldn't much like the exurbs of New York, either.

We like to talk about red states vs. blue states, but the reality is that blue cities give way to purple and then red counties pretty quickly, even in liberal strongholds like New York.

Now, look, that's not to say that there are no differences in culture between, say, Atlanta and San Francisco. Obviously there are big ones! But when you dig into what people actually know about living in this or that part of the country, there's often not a lot there. Or, more charitably, individual experiences vary wildly (even within a single metro area).

Not the South, but I think the point I'm trying to make here still holds.

†† It also seems worth noting that the experience of living in a big, new city in your early 20s (with all the new freedoms that come with that) as compared to wherever you happened to be when you were 14 is -- well, let's just say there are important perception-shifting factors.

While this is true about the urban areas, the reality of life in a southern city is that the rural areas dominate the political environment and that hamstrings municipalities in various ways.

I live in and am from North Carolina and find it barely tolerable despite now living in the most "progressive" part of the state (Durham). Every attempt a city makes to move things forward is faced with obstruction and preemption by state representatives from rural areas who resent the progressive population centers. Investment in infrastructure is especially seldom possible, so we have little public transit, few sidewalks, and lots of traffic.

There are things to recommend the south, but it's sure to be a culture shock for anybody who moves from a major metro.

As an aside, I think the transit situation alone makes this sort of area a non starter for somebody like Amazon and indeed I'm glad they did not select this region. This is an area which grows through sprawl and additional roads. The extra traffic combined with an unwillingness to spend money on public transit would have caused major issues.

> Every attempt a city makes to move things forward is faced with obstruction and preemption...

Sounds similar to NIMBYism in other places.

No matter your views, politics are frustrating in some way in every geographic area, I promise.

Yes. I agree with this. It's a significant problem.

It’s less pretentious and more that you’re just missing out on what the south has to offer. The south definitely has these negative aspects, but I argue that letting bad apples define a whole region of American is missing the forest for the trees. I likewise read headlines of mobs attacking FAANG charter busses, out of control office and apartment rents and employees living out of their cars, pervasive homelessness, and high local taxes, and I wonder why these educated, open and well travelled people put up with it.

If Tim Cook opened a research center or similar in an SEC college town like Auburn, AL, as an example, they could 1) totally dominate the university’s research pipeline relatively free from other corporate competitors, like create a custom departments silicon, materials, sensors, AI, whatever else 2) high quality of life for employees and their families with good public schools and high quality cheap housing, 3) win over the school’s board of trustees via major partnerships and get the university to do a lot to work for you for free, 4) abundant land for cheap office space 5) a high quality transit system 6) 1 hr from Atlanta’s enormous international airport plus a high quality general airport big enough for large private jets.

It just seems like a win-win, yet I don’t see anyone doing it (and maybe there are great reasons why!)

> If Tim Cook opened a research center or similar in an SEC college town like Auburn, AL, as an example

His alma mater as well.

Mine too, a guy can dream, right? Auburn may be an extreme example, but pick almost any similar college town and you get the same story

The south is definitely more xeno/homophobic, and that's unfortunate, and there's really good reasons why that might be a reason that people might not want to live there. There's also good reasons to live in the big southern cities. To compare with Northern VA, for example--growing up there, I didn't know a single black person. The area is almost exclusively white and Asian, with Hispanic people occupying a different economic tier and being quite segregated socially (and quite a bit of political tension as a result). Atlanta, by contrast, is far more integrated, with wealthy black communities, black professionals, athletes, media personalities, politicians, etc. You're almost certainly more likely to encounter racists in Atlanta, but much more likely to encounter the sort of integrated society liberals profess to want.

Northern Virginia has plenty of black folks. Look at Alexandria. But having grown up attending predominantly black schools in a rural past of the state, you are 100 percent right about the integrated nature of the South compared to the rest of the country. It was highly unusual for any wedding, funeral, or BBQ where I grew up to not be a mix of black and white. Most white people in the rest of the country have never eaten at a black person's house let alone spent the night. A child in the rural south almost certainly has. Hell, my best friend's mom made me go to church as well if I spent the night on a Saturday. Same when my buddies spent the night at my house.

Reading through the comments in response to my question, I am always blown away at the stereotyping, arrogance, and general disdain for the south coming out of these sorts of discussions. “The average tech worker” can get along absolutely fine in the south. I don’t know if it’s elitism, ignorance, or just the reverberating sounding board of popular media, but the south is actually quite nice, and I am confident that tech companies could save serious money moving workers out of incredibly high cost areas into better value areas in the south.

I'm from the south, in that it's a state that lost the civil war, had active kkk presence when I was a kid, had the national guard called out to protect black people, had racist governor in living memory, just had an article in the nytimes about racist police.

Yes there are many good people there. But the public schools I went to have really changed as most of the white people went to private schools. There aren't many minorities, there's lots of implicit racism. I guess country clubs let black people in now (unlike when I was a kid). It's really a different world.

The average (Bay Area?) tech worker likely sees the thinly veiled threat when the very first question their new neighbors ask is “have you found a church yet”?

This is a bigoted generalization of an entire region.

It’s a generalization, sure. It’s also generally true. As far as bigotry goes, I think you knew it was silly to make that claim as you wrote it. I’ll go ahead and dismiss it out of hand, because the example I gave is real and extremely prevalent.

Do you not realize that this is a bigoted statement?

I'm a transgender woman. I use the women's bathroom. Should I move to the South? It's not bigoted to call out bigots. It's not bigoted to prefer to live somewhere without bigoted local government.

I disagree that this is a bigoted statement?

The original statement paints an entire region of people as though they all fit one stereotype. It’s just ironic to me that many people who otherwise laud tolerance, open-mindedness, multiculturalism etc. have no problem stereotyping an entire region of the country as “a basket of deplorables,” as if that region is not full of all different kinds of people, just like any place else.

That’s all I’m trying to point out.

bigot (n): a person who is intolerant toward those holding different opinions

Comp may be lower, but so is everything else. At the end of the day the guys in the south have more in their pocket than most Bay Area workers.

I'm not convinced this is really true in a lot of the "actually desirable to young tech people" areas of southern cities. I just checked rent prices in Franklin, TN for a contract project opportunity and found newish apartments are going for $1300+. Trendy parts of Raleigh are renting apartments for $1100+. Meanwhile, it's very difficult to live in the South without a car, and salaries are far lower than $24k under a Bay Area tech comp structure (assuming you rent at the $3k level there).

I will grant you that if you have a family it's way cheaper due to availability of real houses in the burbs combined with cheaper daycare/nanny/housekeeping/etc., but a young, successful tech worker is probably better off on the west coast despite the higher cost of living.

I think you're spot on, the only case where I see this is true is for families or those who wish to be homeowners

I hear this often. I would like to see an analysis, breakdown, or a real life comparison that suggests this, and for which tier of engineers this is true. I think two things;

1) non bay area tech workers severely underestimate the total comps that bay area workers are earning right now.

2) many renters in the Bay Area may actually have more in their pocket. If you are willing to rent a room (i.e not have a studio or 1BR apartment), you're probably paying 1-1.5k more per month. The salary delta for Bay Area techies is way more than 12months*1.5k/month per year. Have some basic financial responsibility and you can really save a lot out here.

You need to apply the marginal tax rate for California workers, which would typically be ~41% (24% federal + 9.3% state + 7.65% Social Security + Medicare), to figure out how much more is needed on a pre-tax basis. You need an extra $2.5k/month ($30k/year) pre-tax to make up a $1.5k/month difference in rent, or $3.4k/month ($40k/year) pre-tax to make up a $2k/month difference in rent, which is more realistic if you want your own apartment.

And that's just looking at the difference in rent. The number goes up further if you account for the fact that everything else is also more expensive in the Bay Area, and if you add in the additional money you need to save for a down payment, assuming you want to buy at some point. I wouldn't be surprised if that $40k/year difference ends up in the $60k-$70k range if you factor those in.

I don't doubt that a $60k-$70k difference in total comp is achievable at FANG. At startups, you probably don't get there without counting equity, which is riskier and far less liquid than equity comp at FANG.

Note that your marginal tax as a tech worker should NOT include 7.65% for FICA. Tech worker’s marginal taxes are, perversely and regressively, lower than not-quite-six-figures earners, because social security cuts out well before marginal tax rates go up.

I don't think you have anywhere near of a clue how much it cost for housing in the south. Although I am talking mostly about Houston.

My mortgage on a 5 bedroom 3 bath house (3k sqfeet) in the population center of Houston is $1500 a month...

That being said the most I have ever paid for a apartment was $2100 a month for a 2 bedroom in the riches part of town with views of the city skyline and spiraling biking and jogging ways. Awesome food everywhere.

$800 or less and you can still live in a nice area with more food options and awesome public parks and public transpiration.

And if you are on a budget -- you can still get 1 bedroom apartments for $500 to $600 a month --- from my understanding you can't even get near that in the Bay Area, you would break the bake at 1k for a single room.

> If you are willing to rent a room (i.e not have a studio or 1BR apartment)

That’s fine for the first year after graduating, but then when you get married and have children what are you supposed to do then?

This isn't true for a lot tech workers. It's part of the reason why I moved from the south to the Bay Area. I pay as much in rent, taxes, and other California fees as I made in my entire salary in the South (which was roughly $110k), and I still have way more left over to save for retirement after all of that. Not to mention the health insurance here saves another $10k per year.

Not exactly. I work with some people who are huntin' fishin' rednecks from rural areas all over the country and are in the Bay Area because really, where else can they make $450K writing code that ships to 500 million people? They'd love a way to do that in hillbilly country and spend their weekends firing shotguns and driving pickups.

Technically there are plenty of tech company HQ in the south. Just off the top of my head, RedHat, SAS and Epic Games are all in Raleigh.

As for the giant FAANG companies, I think the south is better off without them. They skew the market so much that it’s very economically disruptive, and since US cities are generally very resistant to building housing, I suspect that you’d see the big company offices would mess up the housing market anywhere they went the same way they have in SF and Seattle.

Google has an office in Atlanta. Not sure if it has the jobs you want though.

Google does not have engineering in Atlanta.


Yes, but also for a long time (8+ years).

Oh, wow... when and why did that change?

Google embarked on a long mission to consolidate in the Bay Area and close small engineering offices. When Larry was the CEO he expressed his desire to have millions of engineers at Google, all in Mountain View. I can only attribute this strange desire to the fact that billionaires don’t notice housing crises and don’t have to sit in traffic. Sundar isn’t as much of a space cadet as Larry but he continues to consolidate. Some offices are established enough to survive, like Seattle and Chicago and New York, and others have to be kept open to attract specific people, but the company is really centered in Mountain View (and now Sunnyvale because obviously Mountain View is too small to contain the company).

Even San Francisco is to some degree a backwater office for engineers. Many projects have been “defragged” out of there, which is a term that means the project is given to some engineers in Mountain View and the original developers have a choice of finding a new project or moving there.

Your comment prompted me to do a little digging, and I found this link:


I guess this office was smaller than I had thought to begin with.

I heard that Larry said something along the lines of "Why wouldn't you want to live in (SV)? The weather is always beautiful."

FYI - I used to work for Google in Seattle. Now I work for Microsoft in Raleigh, and I'm very happy. (Not technically FANG, but close.)

What's the TC difference?

There are a number of big companies headquartered in Atlanta:


Just grabbing one at random and checking their website, you can find IT jobs at Home Depot:


That doesn't invalidate your wish. I'm just saying it is possible to find tech jobs there.

Additionally,there are some prestigious universities in Atlanta, including Georgia Tech, and there are government jobs, such as at the CDC.

This BizJournal article from about a month ago lists a few of companies expanding to Atlanta, such as Square, Pandora, and New Relic.


Google has offices in Reston, Virginia already.

Salesforce just announced a major expansion of their offices here in Atlanta.


If by FULL OF you mean less than a half a percent of the population, then maybe you are right.

Seriously, this is offensive and inaccurate and wrong. It is just as bad as saying all Muslims are terrorists.

Only people who have never been to the South, and let New York media and Hollywood caricatures inform them ACTUALLY believe this.

It is terrible that CNN and MSNBC have followed the Fox News model of peddling fear, but for the opposite side. It leads to this kind of ignorance.

FYI:. I am proud of the fact that I helped two Indian co-workers get green cards and become fellow citizens. I did this at a company in Arkansas. I no longer live there, but they both remain and love it. They are now huge football fans as well.

Wake up and see your own prejudice.

There’s a statue of a confederate soldier right in front of the Arkansas Capitol in Little Rock. If you think it’s still standing because of the efforts of only .5% of the citizens of that state, that suggests that those few citizens wield disproportionate power, although the more likely explanation is that your estimate is very low. In fact the state of Arkansas has a systemic racism problem that begins at the Capitol and extends to every Robert E. Lee school building around the state. If you can’t see the racism right in front of you, literally cast in concrete and carved in marble, then I just can’t help you.

There is a major highway named after Robert E. Lee running through Hilary voting Northern VA. Shit is more complicated than you think.

There is a street in Chicago named for Italo Balbo. Sometimes things are complicated, but sometimes it's just inertia, and when Chicago eventually removes the name of a (literal) Fascist leader from it's street, we'll all wonder, what the fuck was wrong with us for so many decades that we let that go?

Northern Virginia was obviously the center of the rebellion. There are hundreds of confederate monuments all over that state. I don’t let them off the hook either.

I'm from arkansas and I saw common attitudes that blacks were a "problem" ie racism when I was a kid. I left in my early 20s. There was just an article in the nytimes about how horrible the LRPD is and how they have acted towards black people. Not everyone is that way, but plenty of people are.

The location in Crystal City where they are putting the HQ is adjacent to Jefferson Davis highway. I guess Crystal City is also filled with white nationalists....

I'm sure you derive immense satisfaction from your moral superiority, but your view of history lacks nuance and is self righteous beyond belief.

You work at Google, right? If so, you are complicit in a monopoly helping the authoritarian Chinese government spy on it's citizens. In typical Google fashion, they protest an executive harassment scandal while ignoring the aid of a human rights violating government. Cuz that would cost money. Quit your job and then feel free to preach morality.

Could you please give me an estimation of how many white separatists you think exist in the US south, and maybe the US in general?

Requires citation.

I mean, that's SUCH a generalization.

A generalization of the people or a generalization of southern capitols? The OP specifically mentioned Raleigh, where the decision to keep the confederate monuments on the capitol was re-ratified as recently as a few weeks ago. It is by any objective measure a place that celebrates its history of violent white supremacy.


"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."


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