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Miami vs Seattle: What could Amazon's Jeff Bezos be losing or gaining from the move?

caption: The Miami waterfront.
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The Miami waterfront.

Now that Amazon's founder Jeff Bezos has announced he is leaving overcast Seattle for the sunny skies of Miami, let’s take a look at what he's trading, gaining, or missing by making the move.

Company: Bezos is worth about $161 billion. Living in Miami, honestly, he’ll be slumming it. His big-bucks counterparts in Seattle are Bill Gates (about $111 billion) or Steve Balmer ($101 billion).

In Miami, the closest would be Ken Griffin with his paltry $35.4 billion, or Dave Tepper with $20.6 billion — how embarrassing. Makes me nauseous just reading such low wealth. What could Bezos possibly have in common with these peasants? Er, I mean, people. They’d have nothing to talk about. Can they even afford a sky fortress? Or to fund a colony on an asteroid? Bezos could. Seattle's higher class of billionaires delivers a clear win for the Emerald City.

Art museums: Bezos is trading SAM for PAMM. SAM has more than 25,000 pieces of art across 312,000 square feet, and a nine-acre park. PAMM is a popular choice for local art in Miami. With a smaller collection, it still draws hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Tie.

Taxes: The government’s price tag to live in Miami is 7%, while taxes in Seattle add up to just over 10%. The richest man in the world can stay just a little richer in Miami.

Cinephiles: Seattle has its beloved Cinerama, now called SIFF Cinema Downtown after its new owner the Seattle International Film Festival (I call it “SIFFerama”). This movie theater, yes, has chocolate popcorn, but also luxurious seats, movie memorabilia, amazing sound and picture. The Miami Beach Cinematheque is run by the Miami Beach Film Society. This theater also comes with an indie vibe, but on a much smaller scale with a humble 50 seats, and a few couches. The win goes to SIFFerama.

Breweries vs breweries: Both cities have a lot of breweries — a lot — each with their own funky labels and names. At first glance, you’re not really losing anything here, however, it appears that Miami breweries produce a lot of beers that aren’t IPAs. In contrast, Seattle brews about 99% IPAs (a statistic that I 100% made up). So Miami wins in this regard.

Pop culture: Sure Bezos lived in Miami previously, but that was when he was in high school. Things have changed.

To get up to speed, he can start with "Miami Vice" and jump straight into playing "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" for a more modern take. Then he can watch “Dexter” and “Burn Notice” to become aware of Miami's modern serial killer and spy community.

If he wants to reminisce about Seattle, he need only watch “Frasier.” Sure, the show is from the 1990s, but Seattle has grown quite nicely into Frasier’s world — a high class and expensive milieu, filled with craft wine and boutique cafes with menus that say “cornichon” instead of “tiny pickle.”

Burger joints: Seattle’s burger joint has historically been Dick’s Drive-In. Miami has quite a few, but if we’re judging strictly on burger shops with names people giggle at and make immature jokes over, then Miami’s Fukin Burger is the best comparison. This is a newer business, so only time will tell how successful it will be. Fukin Burger seems to have higher prices, plus I don’t see tarter sauce anywhere on its menu. Dick’s wins.

Cost of living: The cost of living is about 27% higher in Seattle than Miami with more expensive gas, rents, food, and so forth. So Miami wins here.

So who wins? No city wins. And not just because Bezos actually lives in Medina. Bezos is the richest person in the world! He could fly off to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam right now. He probably has a movie theater at his manse, and maybe a funny named burger joint, too.

Someday, Bezos’ closest neighbor is likely to be an asteroid — an asteroid with a decent tax structure, where he could afford to build his own burger joint, brewery, movie theater, and an art museum.

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