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I watched President Trump on television for a bit Monday and heard him repeat a few times “there’s something going on” with Republicans in advance of the midterm elections. It was a calorie-free statement and a reminder that we live constantly in a reality-TV episode these days.
No tech company has internalized this message better than Amazon.com. In setting up a continent-wide competition for its second headquarters—even sturdy Toronto is in the mix!—the company created the greatest anticipatory business beauty pageant since, well, a certain real estate and licensing huckster created a phenomenally successful phony business TV show. (Long before there was fake news there was fake business.)
Amazon is about to crank up the anticipation. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday the company plans to choose two, not one, new headquarters cities. And the two are most likely Crystal City in Arlington, Va., near Washington D.C. and Long Island City in Queens, New York, the New York Times reports. Some will quibble that two new 25,000-person offices are what’s known as regional outposts, not a headquarters. After all, Amazon already has warehouses around the country. It also has significant offices in Northern California, both in San Francisco and in Silicon Valley, where its Kindle devices were born.
The Amazon announcement is expected any day, though it’d be shocking if it tried to compete with Election Day. (Sharing the news cycle is not good television.) It is to the company’s credit that it has gotten multiple municipalities to prostrate themselves at Amazon’s job-giving feet. They’ve offered billions in tax cuts and other ways to sweeten the pot.
There’s a big difference between the Amazon (AMZN) competition and reality TV, of course. Its business is real, and the stakes for its employees are high. No phony projects or artificial contests here.
And oh, the suspense.
Tech executives figure prominently at Fortune’s MPW International Summit Montreal today. These include WP Engine’s Heather Brunner, Barbara Humpton of Siemens USA, IBM’s Ranit Aharonov, and Caroline Louveaux of Mastercard. Follow the event at Fortune.com.