AMAZON IS BRINGING A BIT OF FPG’S PHILOSOPHY TO ONE LUCKY CITY
Amazon isn’t just growing. It’s exploding.
The Seattle-based online retailer is now the 26th largest company in the world by revenue, and it’s hunting the big dogs. In 2016, Amazon posted an eye-grabbing 27.1% increase in revenue over its previous year. Nobody in the global top 35 came within 9% of that figure. With growth like this, the top 10 will be within striking distance in no time.
To keep from fencing in its growth, Amazon is currently on the lookout for a second headquarters in the US. At the start of September, Amazon announced it was accepting bids from American cities that wanted to host Amazon’s coveted second HQ, and last week they officially closed the bidding process.
The result? Amazon is looking over a staggering 238 proposals from cities within its criteria, and some of them were really creative. One city in Georgia even offered to rename itself Amazon if the company opted to move there. Selfishly, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hope it ended up in Dallas, one of the eight rumored finalists. One of the world’s most innovative companies would be a stone’s throw from FPG headquarters here in Fort Worth.
Why do cities want Amazon so badly? The obvious answer is that it’ll be a huge economic driver for the city itself. Since its foundation, Amazon estimates its direct economic impact on the city of Seattle was somewhere in the range of $36 billion in just two decades. So when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the company’s second HQ will be the “full equal” to its Seattle operation, you know one city is in for serious economic impact.
But it’s not just the money itself that makes Amazon’s second HQ such a hot topic. It’s what that increased revenue will actually do for those cities on a deeper level that’ll really change the discussion. As we teach our clients at FPG, the true way to create lasting influence is to change the underlying beliefs, not just the behavior itself.
One of FPG’s most important concepts is the results matrix. This is what that looks like.
Your programming leads to your beliefs, which leads to your emotions, which leads to your motivation, which leads to your behavior, which leads to your results. If you change your programming, you’ll ultimately end up changing your results at the end of the process. This is the core of FPG’s behavioral change method.
What Amazon is basically providing to the city it chooses, whether its citizens realize it yet or not, is a reprogrammed results matrix.
Amazon fundamentally changed Seattle when it exploded in both population and economic value. Seattle’s downtown is dominated by Amazon, and its enormous campus sprawls out in a densely packed urban area. And then there’s the fact that 7.5% of the city’s entire working-age population works for Amazon.
But Amazon also changed Seattle’s popular opinion, both internally and externally. Before Amazon sold its first book in 1995, Seattle was an out-of-the-way port city of about 530,000 without much of a professional reputation beyond Boeing. Now, Seattle is the fastest growing major city in the United States and is one of the true tech meccas not just of the country, but of the world.
Today, people are moving to Seattle in droves unlike any other city, not just because of Amazon but because they believe in the city; they believe it’s cool, that it has 21st century job opportunities and that it’s growing and on the cutting edge. Amazon didn’t create this image itself, but the company had a bigger role to play in shaping it than anyone or anything else.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. Our beliefs have more to do with our success than our behaviors, and the fact that just about everyone believes in Seattle as a city worth living in – despite the gray clouds and the rain – means that Amazon had a big hand in using its platform as an innovator to change people’s beliefs about Seattle.
That’s not only why almost 300 cities are over the moon about even the possibility of hosting Amazon’s next corporate hub. It’s also why we do what we do at FPG. It’s all about overcoming past programming and changing beliefs to help people (and in Amazon’s case, entire cities) to realize they’re enough.
And when we realize we’re enough, untamable personal and professional growth is never far behind.