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November 7, 2017 > Data Scientist Bets on SF Bay Area for Amazon HQ2

Data Scientist Bets on SF Bay Area for Amazon HQ2

By Kelly Kline, Economic Development Director & Chief Innovation Officer

The quest to win AmazonÕs second headquarters has been eventful, to say the least. From offering big tax breaks to presenting a 21-foot cactus to Jeff Bezos, cities across North America have been courting Amazon with the hopes of convincing the retail tech giant to extend its empire there.

The City of Fremont has teamed up with the ÒNorthern ArcÓ cities of San Francisco, Oakland, Richmond and Concord Ð to propose our own San Francisco Bay Area bid. WeÕre proud that our contingency is aligned in a Òno-subsidyÓ approach. We believe that the Bay AreaÕs talent speaks for itself without having to offer extra incentives like tax breaks (or cacti).

Now the question on everyoneÕs lips is: Which city will Amazon choose?

Well, if data scientist Shawn Berry were a betting man, heÕd place his money on the Bay Area Ñ and heÕs got the numbers to back it up. Berry carefully studied AmazonÕs data, the data found in two leading citiesÕ bids for HQ2 (Boston and San Francisco), and other published data to determine which city would come out on top.

First things first. What exactly is Amazon looking for? Top-notch IT talent, especially software engineers, whose numbers have been maxed out in the Seattle market.

Of course, Silicon Valley has one of the highest concentrations of leading tech companies in the world and thousands of high-skilled workers. San Francisco proper has 2,800 tech companies employing 90,000 people. And Fremont is making room for its tech companies to expand. Berry noted that the Fremont City Council unanimously agreed to allow Tesla to double the size of its factory.

Berry also calls attention to what he refers to as Òthe most eye-opening aspect of the San Francisco Bay Area HQ2 bidÓ Ñ 42, the coding school in Fremont that teaches young people to program in C and other languages; better yet, 42 is free of charge to 10,000 people aged 18 to 30. What it symbolizes to Amazon is an even deeper talent pool.

We also have world-class universities like Stanford and UC Berkeley in our neck of the woods. These two universities alone have produced entrepreneurs receiving $9.5 billion in venture funding that helped to found more than 850 companies since 2009.

The Bay Area tops the rankings in almost every category related to talent. San FranciscoÕs labor market ranks first for its demonstrated capacity to perform for Amazon (i.e., Software Developer, Data Scientist, etc.). San Francisco also ranks first in North America at adding tech jobs. And according to BerryÕs analysis of MIT Tech Review data, San Francisco is the most entrepreneurial IT market in North America by far. To top it off, the San Francisco Bay Area benefits from as much brain gain as the next four North American cities combined.

The numbers speak for themselves. Practically all data points to choosing the San Francisco Bay Area for HQ2. And, regardless of the outcome, the process has been a boost Ñ a regional boost for collaboration, and a local boost for the Warm Springs Innovation District, which has 7.3 million square feet of employment opportunity.

To check out Shawn BerryÕs full analysis, visit https://appliedmathematician.com.

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