Pullout Jan 28, 2015 at 4:00 am

Who Are They? How Many Are There? How Many More Are On the Way?

A resident of the Lyric on Capitol Hill says, "Mainly everyone works for Amazon or Microsoft." Mike Force


Basically, Amazon is Gryzzl and Seattle is Pawnee.
@1 wins
$20-$60/hour? Is that actual compensation rate?
Most non-contractor tech workers are salaried. If the $60 is based on a 40-hour week, remember most tech folk are expected to work much longer hours. For contracted workers, most go through agencies, so there's the amount charged and the amount the worker actually gets.
Yes, tech folks are paid a lot, but an annual earnings figure would be more useful and accurate than an hourly.
The number of people Amazon imports is much higher than their expansion plans would suggest -- turnover for software engineers there is roughly 2 years. And, they don't leave Seattle when they leave Amazon -- other companies have moved into the area to hire the former Amazonians in Seattle.

So, if you are worried about too-rapid change, part of the story really is Amazon's terrible retention rates, as opposed to just their expansion.

People are people, tech jobs are jobs. Can we please stop trying to classify everybody as an imposter or an invader or a harbinger of cultural blandness, and fuckin' deal with the fact that Seattle is one of a precious few epicenters of the new economic environment?

Caveat, I do think Seattle is doing a damn sight better than the Bay Area, where rent, transit, and opportunities are beyond fucked if you're not making bank.
If you don't remember Dick Dickerson, you don't know dick about Seattle!

Oh, and get off my lawn.
It must suck to be the guy at Amazon who only makes $20 an hour (nominal; probably more like $10 if figured by the actual hours worked), and know that even though you have the polo shirt you're below the area median.
It's persistently irritating to see reporters and commentators endlessly regurgitating the idea that more development in this city will somehow result in more affordable rents. This supply-and-demand theory on paper seems simple enough, but the reality is that what's driving the rents up looks to be a complex stew of factors that include building costs, cost of living, developer/landlord greed, an influx of people who earn far beyond the median income and thus have no personal stake in preserving affordable rent... And what needs emphasizing is that what Seattle now considers "affordable" rent has basically doubled or trebled in the last ten years, while the earnings of the working-class, lower-middle-class, and poor people who desperately need that affordable housing (and whose work and cultural contributions enrich the city far out of proportion to their collectively modest incomes) have not substantively changed in that same period.
@4 Multiply by 2000 to get an annual wage from hourly. All those extra hours rarely count for this type of reporting.

$40,000 - $120,000
Microsoft was founded in 1975. The "tech sector" employee is hardly some exotic unknown new demographic.

You guys need to do better. This recent series of articles on "new comers" are a lazy pile of boring cliches. It's like they were recycled right from insipid Seattle Weekly Internet culture panic pieces from 1997.

Not only have wee seen all of this before. We've seen it multiple times.

At the peak of the Cold War/Space Race in the Aerospace industry you saw similar bursts of growth with Boeing - the high paying juggernaut of it's day - with most growth going outward to the burbs.

Sure growth is a huge problem. And you bet developers are exploited this for all they are worth likely to fuck up what little culture Seattle has left. But.

But. What you should ALSO be looking at is how Amazon is even more vulnerable than Boeing was. It isn't making anything. All it's doing is selling stuff other people make. Literally anybody can come along at anytime and do the same thing and Amazon could go TU in the span of a couple years like it never existed.
Soulless corporate zombies, each with their annoying shit-factory dogs. Just look at the pathetic urine-burned shrubbery outside those Ballard zombie/dog warehouses. $2k for a one-bedroom? Woof woof!
@6, We're right on the precipice of Bay Area fucked re transit and cost of living...at least for those who aren't $60 per hr software engineers.

@9, Good points

@11, Sure we had post war growth, but this city presumably was much more affordable to the working class, lower middle class demographics.
@13, totally. I'm a Seattle expat living in the bay right now, and yeah, Seattle is totally on-track to being the next SF.

But at least Seattle is building! Much of the bay area is populated with antidevelopment NIMBYs, and the majority of SF has a 3-story height limit.

As an aside, I gather the profit margins for developers are way higher if they build "luxury" units -- like, the fancier faucet / countertop / stove isn't a huge initial cost if they get to charge luxury prices afterward. I wish there were a good way to curb that.
"I'm not talking about the hundreds of Iraqi refugees Sydney has written about here, or the thousands of international students who are changing the face of our city's colleges."

Don't forget that a LOT of the tech workers are international too. Lots of Canadians and Russians and Indians, etc. The tech workers aren't one homogenous group.

@6 - And SF is actually doing far better than Seattle in one of those areas: transit.
@13 Sure. it was more affordable (for white people) growth. But all that growth was outward. The price we paid was it eventually became sprawl and racial segregation.

The cautionary tale should be - DON'T give away the good parts of the city to developers in the vain and empty promise they will fix our growth problems. They won't. It's GOOD we have all these high paying jobs. that's not the problem. The problem is we've reflexively learned to respond to growth spurts by panicking and then giving everything away to developers. Just blindly gutting neighborhoods to build more housing inventory has never made cities more affordable. Not with out serious market interference and government oversight. All it does is make the rich people more rich. And then the bubble bursts and you're stuck with an unlivable expensive shit hole.
@15, word, MUNI and BART are solid. Never count on Caltrain down the peninsula though. but to be fair, that's like taking public transit to, uh... Auburn.

No wait, fuck that noize, Palo Alto is SF's Redmond, and you can hella get a reliable bus to Redmond.
Brendan Kiley has an Amazon fetish. We're just like you dude, get over it. Seattle has been a tech city FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS. Good thing it makes front page of the Stranger every 6 weeks because the staff there has an fetish/envy surrounding Amazon employees and their fat wallets
Brendan Kiley has an Amazon fetish. We're just like you dude, get over it. Seattle has been a tech city FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS. Good thing it makes front page of the Stranger every 6 weeks because the staff there has a love/hate high school crush on Amazon employees and their fat wallets

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