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Behind Amazon’s HQ2 fiasco: How Jeff Bezos’s envy of Elon Musk fuelled an ‘ego exercise’ that blew up in his face [Video]

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When Elon Musk secured US$1.3 billion from Nevada in 2014 to open a gigantic battery plant, Jeff Bezos noticed. In meetings, the Amazon.com Inc. chief expressed envy for how Musk had pitted five Western states against one another in a bidding war for thousands of manufacturing jobs; he wondered why Amazon was okay with accepting comparatively trifling incentives. It was a theme Bezos returned to often, according to four people privy to his thinking. Then in 2017, an Amazon executive sent around a congratulatory email lauding his team for landing US$40 million in government incentives to build a US$1.5 billion air hub near Cincinnati. The paltry sum irked Bezos, the people say, and made him even more determined to try something new.

And so, when Amazon launched a bakeoff for a second headquarters in September …

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American entrepreneur Rachel Tipograph is the co-founder of MikMak, one of the fastest-growing woman-led startups of 2020-21.