Amazon Primed: Everything’s Bigger in Texas, and at Its Best in Dallas

Opinion

The Dallas Cowboys. JR Ewing. Oil and Gas. These are all part of the history and legacy of Dallas, and perhaps many people’s first thought of our part of the world. The region has grown and diversified, but what has remained is its pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit. There are many reasons on paper why Texas generally, and Dallas specifically, are the right fit for Amazon’s HQ2.

Let’s start with geography: central location and easy access to both coasts (and the world) via the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport—which also happens to be the first carbon-neutral airport in North America and is the size of the island of Manhattan. The city’s moderate climate and business and tax-friendly mindset has already attracted 21 Fortune 500 Companies to place their headquarters in Dallas, and that doesn’t include the other technology companies that have a major presence in Dallas because of its competitive cost of living, access to talent, the largest arts district in the US, and the largest light rail system in the country.

One thing that people don’t realize about Dallas is that it is a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, the likes that few other metropolitan centers can match in the country. There is no true innovation without people, and at the heart of Dallas is its people, who are both welcoming and operate in the spirit and practice of collaboration. It is possible to get ideas heard and things done in Dallas more quickly than in any other major city in the country. Dallas is the smallest big city you’ll find. I moved back home to Dallas because I knew that the network of innovators, investors, and decision-makers were available and accessible, and want to enable the success of the next generation.

Creating the Dallas Entrepreneur Center and engaging the regional startup ecosystem has created the kind of tight community that here in Dallas we always knew existed but, in contrast to the bravado associated with Dallas, don’t brag about as much as we should. These types of organizational partnerships across sectors are what have allowed Dallas via the Dallas Innovation Alliance to create the fastest smart cities project in the country—from ideation to installation in less than a year. One of the most exciting things about Dallas is that despite its mind-blowing growth and maturation, it has yet to reach its full potential.

There is tremendous opportunity to create a partnership with Amazon that catalyzes this potential for an entire community. Greenfield, blue-sky sites, minutes from downtown Dallas, offer direct access to light rail, the largest planned urban park in the country, revolutionary approaches to consumer air taxis (like Uber Elevate), and a blank slate to co-create a model in urban design and smart infrastructure that rivals any other place in the world. The spirt of disruption, service, and customer experience that has made Amazon a worldwide leader in innovation will find a welcoming home here in Dallas.

Trey Bowles is the founder and CEO of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center. Follow @treybowles

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