Civic News

What the tech community thinks of Delaware’s Amazon HQ2 pitch

It as a big topic of conversation at our quarterly stakeholder meeting.

Newton A. Buchanan, the "Options in Delaware" guy. (GIF via YouTube)
We know what Delaware’s leaders think of Amazon HQ2. But what does the local tech and business community think?

Our sample is small, but the reactions from attendees at our quarterly stakeholder meeting on Nov. 2 were supportive of the pitch, whether or not they were full-on HQ2 cheerleaders.
The pitch, if you haven’t seen it, is a two-minute video by Short Order Production House called “Options in Delaware”

In attendance was Zach Phillips of Short Order, who created the video.
“It was something I’d wanted to do for a long time,” Phillips said. “I’m always pitching Delaware because I’m dug in here.”
The big issue, really, is that people outside of Delaware know nothing about the state. “We didn’t just want to talk about incorporation and perks,” he said. “We wanted to show what it’s like.”
When it became a reality, it had to be done quick. “You plan to do this for years and then you get the call to do it next week,” he said of the hectic production schedule.
They did 30 shoots in a week. Some went smoother than others — after scouting a spot at the Port of Wilmington, they found there was no boat there on the day of the shoot. The tanker was added in postproduction (which makes narrator Newton A. Buchanan‘s quip “that’s a big boat!” even funnier).

It was great that it wasn't bowing down to Amazon.

“When I was overseas, that’s all people knew about Delaware,” said Carla Stone of World Trade Center Delaware. “There’s the old joke, ‘Dela-where?’ When you tell people it’s right between New York City and Washington, D.C., they know where that is, and they realize it’s a great location.”
“I put location, proximity to Philly and New York in the video several times,” said Phillips. “Delaware has a tendency to not want to be seen as an offshoots of other places. Wilmington doesn’t want to be a suburb of Philadelphia. But our proximity to these other cities is something we should use to our advantage.”
But the best thing about the pitch, all seemed to agree, is that it’s not just a pitch to Amazon.
Where other cities have tried things that are embarrassingly extra, from Tucson presenting Amazon with a 21-foot cactus (ignoring the general rule that gifts are a big no when courting a business) to an Atlanta suburb’s offer to rename itself “Amazon, Ga.,” Wilmington’s pitch was pretty chill.
“It was great that it wasn’t bowing down to Amazon,” said Nick Matarese of The Barn Creative. “Yeah, we want you, Amazon, but we don’t need you. If you want to come on down, we have these awesome things. Everyone wants to date the girl at the bar they can’t have. This wasn’t that.”
The general consensus? “We’re not desperate.” Maybe because Delaware’s chances are slim, or because an Amazon HQ isn’t the end-all-be-all, or a little of both.
Delaware decided to make a general video that can be used over and over to show off what the state has to offer, because there are a lot more fish in the sea than just Amazon. We’re good with that.

Companies: The Barn / The Kitchen / Amazon

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