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Amazon Web Services chief Jassy on HQ2 plans: ‘That’s above my pay grade’

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy talks to Bloomberg TV at the GeekWire Summit 2017. (GeekWire screenshot)

As cities across the U.S. fall all over themselves to pitch themselves as the best destination for Amazon’s second headquarters, sounds like they don’t need to waste their time lobbying Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy.

“That’s above my pay grade,” he said, smiling in response to a question from Bloomberg TV’s Emily Chang at our GeekWire Summit regarding whether or not he was pitching his home town of New York as a possible site for HQ2. According to Chang, Amazon’s Jeff Wilke jokingly lobbied for his hometown of Pittsburgh (although he was much more circumspect while on stage), but Jassy wouldn’t take the bait.

“I think none of us really know at this point where it’s going to be, we’re in the middle of the process,” he said.

Earlier in their interview, also Jassy pointed out that AWS has long been a global organization.

“Already in AWS, while the majority of people are here in Seattle, we have teams all over the world,” he said. “We have teams in Virginia, we have teams in Boston, we have teams in Dublin, we have teams in Cape Town (South Africa). The original EC2 product (the basic cloud compute service) was built by a team in Cape Town.”

Jassy also talked about the types of employees AWS likes to hire, regardless of where they live.

“We disproportionately index for hiring builders. And when I say builders I mean people who like to invent, people who like to look at different customer experiences and assess what’s wrong with them and reinvent them, and people who get that look at launch is the starting line, not the finish line,” Jassy said.

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