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Let's talk about Amazon, Apple, New York City, and Austin, Texas.

New York got half of Amazon's HQ2 pseudo-headquarters, but the cost was high: $3 billion reportedly for a guarantee of 25,000 jobs. And now the deal faces a serious backlash, with the New York City Council holding hearings and demanding a renegotiation. (They're not likely to change much, but it tells you how the council members think their constituents feel about the whole thing.)

Juxtapose that with Austin, which has paid a comparative pittance to entice Apple to build its largest employment hub outside of Cupertino, California: 15,000 total jobs.

In fact, Apple is doubling down on an expansive workforce, adding a few thousand more jobs in Seattle, San Diego and Culver City, California, and hundreds more in New York, Pittsburgh, Boston, Boulder, Colorado, and Portland, Oregon. 

All of which leads to some obvious questions: Here you have the #1 and #2 tech companies in America on any given day. They both need to expand and employ thousands of people. Do cities need to offer big breaks to get them to build and create jobs? 

And if governments are going to spend this kind of money -- $125,000 per job in the case of Amazon and New York -- maybe it would be better to spend it in smaller chunks, boosting a wider array of startups, small businesses, and even existing firms.

Only problem: Smaller businesses don't have the kind of massive marketing, public relations, and lobbying budgets to make these kinds of deals happen in the first place. 

Here's what else I'm reading today:

Half of Google's workers aren't treated like the other employees

An internal training document reveals that Google's temp workers, vendors, and contractors (known internally as TVCs) are treated very differently than its full-time employees. Perks like free Google t-shirts? Only for full-timers, who make up 50.05 percent of the company. Google's all-hands meetings and professional development training programs are similarly exclusive. It's due to concerns over information leaks and the risk of being identified as a joint employer (which would cost Google a pretty penny).

Could you give up your smartphone for a year?

If so, you could win $100,000 in a contest hosted by Vitaminwater. Ironically, you can only enter by posting a photo to Twitter or Instagram--and if you're selected, you'll have to pass a polygraph test once the year ends. Science says spending less time on your phone will make you happier, so ditching the phone could be worth your time, whether you win all that money or not.

Americans aren't retiring at 65 anymore

Median wages have barely changed in 20 years. Many employers offer 401(k)s instead of pension plans. The result: Nearly 10 million Americans over the age of 65 are still working today. Luckily, Americans are also living longer than ever before, but that's hardly an excuse--especially for workers with health issues or disabilities.

The 8 best brand moves of 2018

Every once in a while, an inflection point for your brand comes along. How you respond can make or break you. Toyota, for example, gave a free truck to a heroic nurse whose car got torched during California's deadly Camp Fire. An IKEA in Catania, Italy, literally went to the dogs when staffers opened the store's doors to local stray canines. They're just two of the many companies that handled those moments perfectly in 2018.

These co-founders really want to get into your bathroom

Need a new bathroom? If you live in New York or New Jersey, new startup Block Renovation promises to simplify your renovation process: no more bidding wars, upcharges, or unexpected results. The most interesting part isn't what the company does, though. It's who the company's founders are: Luke Sherwin, one of Casper's five co-founders, and ex-Rent the Runway executive Koda Wang. Keep an eye on this duo.