Seattle has become home to some of the leading global technology companies. After Microsoft and Amazon, companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter have set up their offices in the city of Space Needle.
Next in line is online travel expert, Expedia, as it relocates its corporate headquarters from Bellevue, Washington to Seattle.
Nearly a year ago, Expedia bought American multinational biopharmaceutical company Amgen's Seattle campus, which is located near the waterfront area of Seattle.
Expedia closed the deal at USD 228.9 million and announced that they will shift to the new office by 2019. The company has many ambitious plans for its new headquarters, which will be built in three phases. The entire project would take 15 years and millions of dollars to complete.
In an interview to The Wall Street Journal, Mark Okerstrom, Expedia's chief financial officer, shed light on their move. Here's why I think their move may or may not work in their favor:
1. Attract IT Talent
Among the key drivers for Expedia to set up operations in Seattle is the fact that it houses some of the most progressive tech companies and that they could lure talent from within these companies.
In other words, Seattle is a good spot to poach talent and Expedia wanted to leverage the opportunity. But poaching may also work the other way round.
With leading tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft based out of Seattle, it may be difficult for Expedia to retain its own employees. One would be lured by the perks and opportunities offered by companies that are considered the best places to work.
2. Face-to-Face Collaboration
"There's no substitute for getting people together in a room with a whiteboard or in a beautiful location and allowing them to just brainstorm on the art of the possible," Okerstrom said.
Beautiful words indeed, but in a time when people are using telecommunication and trying out virtual teambuilding, this tech giant wants to brainstorm in a conference room with a white board! This could be a regressive step that can ultimately affect their main goal of attracting IT talent.
3. Employee Engagement Activities
"The people around Expedia who love playing on our ping-pong tables would be devastated if we took those away," replied Okerstrom when asked about the perks.
Like many tech companies, Expedia also boasts of its employee-friendly facilities and amenities. The waterfront campus will be surrounded by lush green spaces to encourage more people to pursue outdoor activities even at work.
But spending millions of dollars for creating an idyllic horizontally-sprawled campus to play Ping Pong or walk is just stretching it too far.
4. Choice of Location
The ex-Amgen campus boasted advance and specialized laboratory equipment. It was ideal for a biomedical or R&D company.
Expedia would have spent thousands of dollars to strip off all remnants of the old bio-med company and refurbish the campus to suit its needs.
What's more surprising is that the waterfront is not one of the four hot areas for tech talent in Seattle -- South Lake Union, Pioneer Square, downtown Seattle or the University District.
The company has already acknowledged problems like traffic and commutation, and is most likely to invest in shuttle services for employees.
All the above points combined with the fact that the company posted $12.5 million loss and missed analyst expectations makes one wonder about Expedia's grand plans to move to Seattle. All they can do now is hope for the best!