Remember Seattleits, no matter how bad things get at least you don't live here.
The wholeworld is anxiously awaiting the release of Microsoft's Windows 7, set to drop on Thursday. Jon Talton says the newest operating system isn't just important for Microsoft, it's important for the whole region.
We need Microsoft to keep succeeding, especially as the global economy has been slammed by a deep recession causing dislocations and losses. Here, Washington Mutual was a casualty and Safeco was absorbed in a large out-of-town operation. Weyerhaeuser, once one of the region's leading corporate lights, hides diminished in its Federal Way offices awaiting the judgment of the Wall Street executioners.
But Microsoft, although mature, recession-battered and facing multiple competitors and crossroads, still stands.
It may be hard to fully grasp the relative level of prosperity enjoyed in the Emerald City. The national outlets do a good job documenting the country's slow spin down the toilet bowl, but until you actually leave the region it's hard to fathom just how much better life in Seattle -- thanks in large part to daddy Microsoft and the tech family its spawned -- is compared to the rest of the U.S.
Take the last two places I've lived. In Tennessee, the state has spent the past decade whoring itself out to a dying auto industry, only to be left with closing plants and counties where one out of every four residents is unemployed. And if it weren't for Detroit's existence, Cleveland would be America's poster boy for dysfunction and decay. The Mistake on the Lake's only growth industries are stripped-copper exports and the rightfully earned satisfaction the rest of the nation gets knowing they don't live there.
The decline of Boeing and the loss of WaMu are significant setbacks. And as Talton points out, a bright future is anything but guaranteed for Microsoft. But for the time being, it's nice for all of us -- every barista, real estate agent, news blogger, et cetera -- to be reminded how lucky we are to live and work in a place that still makes shit people want to buy.