Amazon HQ in South Bend? Hold up.
I popped on Facebook this morning to find that a few friends had tagged me on a piece of news – 'Amazon is Planning a Second Headquarters With 50,000 Jobs.' This is big news, but why were people alerting me? I am not particularly techy.
"Amazon in South Bend?"
As the day progressed I saw many people sharing this news with a similar sentiment – let's convince Amazon on South Bend. Despite the fact that South Bend fits none of the stated qualifications, it continued to be widely shared. I found this to be an interesting peek into the city's current headspace – I emerge with three quick thoughts.
First – isn't it incredible that opinions on South Bend have moved far enough that this idea could be confidently shared? This is good.
Second – once upon a time we hosted a business with 25,000+ employees. Familiar with the Ivy Tower? Massive, concentrated employment itself is not a bad thing, but 50 years later we still see painful reminders of what can happen as businesses evolve.
My friend Myles wrote 'I get the vibe that South Bend still loves boom and bust' about a year ago. That sentence has resided in my mind since.
Third - cities searching for a 'savior' are on a fools errand. I am tired of listening to people equate the future of South Bend with attracting 'young talent' from around the country. Our city's future lies in our city's current citizens.
This short film by Square speaks on these ideas through the lens of Webster City, Iowa. I highly recommend you watch: