Jeff Bezos says Amazon will announce HQ2 decision before the end of the year

  • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said that the decision for the company's second headquarters will be announced before the end of the year, but not Thursday during his interview at the Economic Club in Washington D.C.
  • He also hinted the new $2 billion philanthropic fund could expand in the future.
  • His decision to start Amazon in Seattle was in part motivated by Microsoft, he said.

If you were hoping to hear the winner of Amazon's second headquarters Thursday, try next time.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said the decision for the winner of the company's second headquarters will not be announced Thursday during his interview at the Economic Club Washington D.C.

"The answer is very simple," Bezos told David Rubenstein, the president of the Economic Club of Washington D.C. and the cofounder of the Carlyle Group. "We will answer the decision before the end of the year."

Bezos reiterated that his team at Amazon is "working hard" to choose the final winner of HQ2, but declined to share further information on the process. The company previously announced 20 finalists, including Washington D.C., northern Virginia, and Montgomery Country, Maryland.

"We will get there," he said.

Bezos also shared more details about his new $2 billion philanthropic fund announced Thursday. The fund, designed to help homeless families and create new preschools, will soon start "hiring an executive team" to operate the preschools, which will be run by Bezos himself, he said.

The size of the fund could potentially grow in the future, he added, stressing the initiative is still at "Day One." As the fund matures, and the team learns more about the business, Bezos said it would expand, as most of his other businesses have done in the past.

"I believe in the power of wandering," Bezos said. "All of my best decisions in business and life have been made with heart, intuition, guts — not analysis."

Bezos said that Microsoft was a major factor in his decision to start Amazon in Seattle when he founded the company. He said he was particularly interested in Microsoft's technical talent at the time, as Microsoft was known for having some of the most technically advanced workforce.

"I did locate Amazon in Seattle because of Microsoft," he said. "It's not a complete coincidence — there is some correlation there."

When asked about giving back, Bezos said plans to giveaway a lot of money in a non-profit model. But he also added that he's going to invest a lot of money in something that rational investors would say is a "really bad investment," like his space exploration company Blue Origin.

"If I can't make Blue Origin a for-profit thing, maybe I'll convert it to non-profit some distant point in the future, but I wouldn't want that," Bezos said. "I want it to be a thriving ecosystem more like UPS and FedEx."