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Purporting to have learned valuable lessons from the boom-and-bust fiasco.

I woke up the morning after Caitlin’s pronouncement and resolved never to look back. I feared that I would be turned into a pillar of salt by the Caitlin-mediated god offering me redemption. I pictured Seattle as a smoking ruin, to be instantly forgotten and fled in search of some relatively prelapsarian city—like Seattle before the boom—and I was wary of plunging into my self-pitying spiral again.

As if to acknowledge the wisdom (and maybe even the virtue) of my decision, a job suddenly materialized. One week to the day after my unemployment compensation ran out, after five months of unemployment, I began work writing newsletters, fliers and web pages for the King County Department of Transportation. Cosseting commuters. My office, it turned out, was in Maynardtown—a short walk through Pioneer Square from the ferry terminal—with a view out to the south, looking directly at two classically vulgar Paul Allen vanity projects: the new Seahawks football stadium and the new buildings around the Allen-restored old Union Station. I would have expected to view them as horrifying, if not downright threatening, encroaching as they were on the edge of the sacred center of Seattle. Instead, from the safety of my Maynardtown perch, in my new state of mind, they looked a world away—as harmless, now that the boom was over, as they were ostentatious. They looked more like the ruins of a fallen, bloated Empire than new monuments to a new Emperor.

In a way, they were ruins—the boom they pretended to honor had gone bust before the paint on the football stadium was dry, and Amazon, the primary tenant in the Union Square project, was laying off employees by the hundreds. It was as if Allen had built them not with the intention that they have a useful life before fading to ruin, but simply to be ruins. He wanted to leave a stain on the landscape that would immortalize him. I couldn’t look at them without thinking of Jonathan Raban’s line about the Pyramids: “Mr. Big was here.”

In the cold cleansing light of the technology bust, all the boom-delivered dangers to Seattle looked faded, worn, weakened. Gleaming new office buildings were plastered with vacancy signs that looked like white flags of surrender. The big success stories of the boom—Microsoft, Starbucks—had become just another part of the corporate scenery. Their novelty worn off, their growth curves flattened, their competitive environments completely changed, their founders grown into middle age, they had lost their novelty, their charm, their power. They were reduced like their corporate elders to a kind of white noise in the background. They were faded celebrities—still there, still glittering, but no longer vibrant, no longer leading the way to a glorious future, no longer objects of fascination, no longer dangerous.

I saw firsthand one morning how precipitous the fall can be from glamorous startup to establishment white trash. I was standing in a Pioneer Square Starbucks, at the corner of First and Yesler, when I saw a tourist couple walk in. The man was a classic: in his 70s, sporting a straw fedora, loud shirt, oversized Bermuda shorts, and black socks and shoes. He looked like the result of a collaboration between Edward Hopper and David Hockney. He and his wife took only two steps into the Starbucks theme park before he stopped, enraged. “Let’s go get coffee somewhere else!” he said. “I don’t want to go to a franchise .”

Questions & Answers

Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Seattle and the demons of ambition. OpenStax CNX. Oct 26, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10504/1.4
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