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Axios has a story about Amazon’s still-uncompleted search for a second headquarters city - dubbed HQ2, where it has pledged to invest $5 billion and hire as many as 50,000 employees - has given the company some enormous benefits.

The story notes that Amazon “got reams of data from the 238 entrants — enough to learn details of the cities' future plans that a lot of their residents don't even know about … The information effectively provided Amazon with a database chock full of granular details about the economic development prospects of every major metropolitan area in the United States (and some in Canada). For a rapidly-expanding tech behemoth like Amazon, that database could help it make expansion decisions that go way beyond the new headquarters.”

Amazon is "not just looking for HQ2,” Joe Parilla of the Brookings Institution tells Axios. "They're looking for where they're going to put the next data center, the next logistics center, the next R&D facility.”

Parilla notes that “much of the quantitative data that Amazon picked up from cities is publicly available … What matters is the qualitative data cities offered up — they let Amazon in on their wildest dreams.

“The sort of details that might be in a typical HQ2 application include plans for new train stations or shopping complexes — information the city's own residents wouldn't have, he says.”
KC's View:
Data, in so many ways, is the stuff that Amazon’s dreams are made of … they get data that nobody else has, and then they act on it.

Compete with that.