Chasing Amazon? May I suggest you consider Facebook instead?

The competition to attract Amazon H2 and its 50,000 jobs is reaching a fevered pitch.  Some experts have suggested the total value of the incentive deal will reach $5 billion ($100k per job) or more.  Amazon has even stated that it expects a massive incentive deal.  Some jurisdictions will undoubtedly waive all corporate taxes – income, sales, property, etc. and also offer some kind of personal income tax rebate (i.e. a grant to the firm based on how much personal income tax is expected to be generated).

As I have said before this amounts to lottery-mania.  All the Governor ‘war rooms’ established and all the gimmicks (remember the town that renamed itself Google on a temporary basis to attract that firm?) will end up being a fun distraction (and a costly one).

May I suggest, as an alternative, that you consider attracting Facebook instead.

Facebook has already announced it will be hiring several thousand new staff to monitor content and one expert suggested this would only be a drop in the bucket – he indicated 10,000 or more may end up being needed around the world to ensure all that fake news you click on or like is put into context or deleted outright (did Bill Murray actually benefit from New Brunswick’s legendary kindness?).

New Brunswick has a cybersecurity cluster.  It has a long history with back office and customer interaction centres.   It is rapidly boosting its immigration to ensure a future pipeline of workers.  It is almost a certainty that a 1,000 person Facebook cybersecurity/content centre would thrive here.  As a cherry on top the NBCC and CCNB would be thrilled to churn through hundreds of graduates from a customized content moderation/security training program.

After all, like the lottery, winning $100 million would be nice but the free tickets, $10 and $100 prizes are in large part what keeps us coming back for more.

 

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2 Responses to Chasing Amazon? May I suggest you consider Facebook instead?

  1. Tom Rivington says:

    There are some other more structural reasons why NB is well poised to chase Facebook.

  2. David Jonah says:

    Hi David,
    This is absolutely brilliant advice and timely.

    Facebook is already here in New Brunswick with a toe-hold that few know about. Sitting in Moncton’s Fibre Centre as a global data and connectivity connector is a booster relay of Facebook data, to and from Europe, maintained by Facebook’s central engineering and transmission people in a far away place. We can get the address and go call on them.

    Think of it in 80’s era terms when FedEx launched in Moncton with three panel van trucks that we stuck in a corner of a shared warehouse building on Rideout Street, in Moncton’s MID Park. They found local drivers and started to hand deliver parcels and sorting from a transport by hand. I helped the originial manager find drivers.

    Today, Moncton and NB are important cogs in FedEx serving Atlantic Canada, including with tele-support. Same with UPS and CANPAR, etc. And not by shyness and accident or benevolence. We stole the jobs from Calgary and other locations while they were napping and printing more colorful brochures and refining their bureaucratic political correctness. We were hungry for opportunity. We sold ourselves to anyone who would listen.

    We have connectivity, and geolocation plus all the things that David mentioned. We need to have a work plan and find out what they the mega goliaths of ecommerce and communication need today. They already acknowledged that we have superior connectivity as a global data hub. What else do they need ?

    Just Ask should be our new T-Shirt for #economic_development. #Moncton

    Call centres just didn’t happen here. In the earliest days, we as a Province and a City asked what they ( courier companies ) needed, and asked what were their problems at the time? They were being robbed of business volume revenues by FAX machine technology and thinking of opening up Europe and Asia. How could Moncton’s most fog free airport on the Atlantic Coast help? We started to talk and sell our attitude, if not our altitude.

    We sent a rag tag community delegation of volunteers down to Atlanta and spoke with President Frederick Smith of FedEx( In 1965, Yale University undergraduate Frederick W. Smith wrote a term paper that invented an industry and changed what’s possible. … Thus the idea for Federal Express was born ).

    The Greater Moncton Civic and Chamber delegation impressed him enough to motivate Smith to ask his Canadian President in CalgaryHQ at the time, to take a look at some place called Moncton, in some place called New Brunswick-not in New Jersey. They were thinking of adding customer support by telephone. Did we have telephones and people who could answer them in two Canadian languages? Natch and Match.

    This is a few years before then Premier McKenna seized on the spark coming from Moncton’s interest in trying to stave off economic decline at the time. It troubles me to see Moncton and 3+ Corp spending staff and money in ways that are not obvious and not worthy of fawning coverage from provincial media, along with what I hope to God, ONB is doing. Even Huddle can’t find a story about how NB is selling itself, or in following up on David’s excellent explanation and directive of going after Facebook. How about sending a Huddle reporter to Facebook HQ and asking what they need, and how can NB help them out?

    Do we have one super sales person in New Brunswick anymore that can spin a narrative about why Facebook should take a second look at expanding their presence in Moncton or anywhere in New Brunswick? Love to meet her or him and have them brag about whom in the World they are talking to about the opportunity for service satisfaction offered by Moncton and her sibling cities and town cousins in New Brunswick. This is not a time for shyness. Shout it out. Strut our stuff. Sell something, even if we have to make it up behind a curtain.

    The bragging silence is deafening, and by mute, it is a potentially scary harbinger for a grimmer economic future than is necessary.

    Send someone to knock on Facebook’s doors and leave them with an invite to tell us what they need. Every business needs something from someone. But first, you have to ask? It is called leadership.

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