Once a blue-collar outpost, Seattle, home to Microsoft, Amazon, and hundreds of startups, transformed into one of the world's major innovation hubs in less than twenty years. As other cities try to solve the riddle of creating vibrant economies, many have looked to Seattle as a model for tech-driven urban renaissance. However, that success comes with skyrocketing housing costs, increasing homelessness, public safety concerns, persistent racial inequality, and a widening gap between the haves and have-nots. Against that backdrop, big tech has become a popular target.
Tom Alberg, a venture capitalist who was one of the first investors in Amazon, draws on his experience in Seattle's tech boom to offer a vision for how cities and businesses can build a brighter future together. He explores ways that cities can soar to prosperity by creating the conditions that encourage innovation. Like flywheels, livable cities generate momentum by drawing creative citizens who launch businesses. Success attracts more talent, energizing local economies and accelerating further innovation. Alberg emphasizes the importance of city governments and tech companies partnering to address civic challenges. He reflects on why the benefits of the tech boom have not been distributed equally and what business and government leaders must do differently to ensure inclusive growth. The book also examines success stories from smaller cities and their lessons for other up-and-coming tech hubs. Demonstrating the need for innovative thinking that encourages livability alongside economic growth, Flywheels is timely reading for everyone from mayors to business leaders to engaged citizens.
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Foreword by John Stanton
Part I. Prelude to Jeff Bezos's Day 1
1. Opportunities and Challenges of Cities
2. Foundations of the Economic Flywheel
3. Seattle's Flywheels Begin Spinning
4. Microsoft and Amazon Innovate to Success
5. On the Precipice of the Future
6. Investing in the Future: Talent and Capital
7. Models for Success: Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and Kansas City
8. Livable Cities
9. Public Safety and Privacy
10. Homelessness and PreK-12 Education
11. Transportation and Environment
12. Government and Business: Conflicts and Cooperation
13. The Future of Cities
Note on Sources