Looking back: First decade 21st century

By Tim Raetzloff | Jan 06, 2011
In 1962 Seattle took its first small step onto the world stage with the 21st Century Exposition.

The Seattle World Fair tried to imagine what the world would look like. Some of the predictions for the 21st century were wildly inaccurate, but some were prescient.

We do now have the video phones that were imagined in 1962, but who would have guessed that the phone could be carried in the palm of your hand.

Today we end the first decade of the 21st century.
How did Seattle do?

One measure is in the influence of our major companies. Microsoft, Amazon, Costco, and Starbucks are world names. PACCAR is one of the largest truck builders in the world.

Seattle is software, but Seattle is also retail. Amazon, Costco, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Zumiez, Blue Nile, CoinStar.and REI are all world leaders in their particular niche. 

Seattle has become the world leader in retail innovation.

How do companies compare to 10 years ago?

At the beginning of this decade there were eight Seattle area companies that had a market capitalization of 10 billion dollars or more, led by Microsoft at more than 200 billion dollars.

Market capitalization is measured by multiplying the value of one share of stock by the number of shares outstanding.

Four of the companies from 10 years ago no longer exist as public companies and one moved away.

Washington Mutual is gone. AT&T Wireless, VoiceStream Wireless, and Immunex were bought by larger companies.

Boeing nominally moved to Chicago.

Five of eight of the largest companies in the region are gone, but 5 new companies have replaced them on the list.

This year Microsoft leads the list, again with a value of more than 200 billion dollars.

Amazon.com is worth more than 80 billion dollars; Costco is at 31 billion, Starbucks at 24 billion, and PACCAR at 21 billion. Expeditors International is at 11.6 billion dollars, F5 Networks at 10.5 billion, and Weyerhaeuser is at 10.2 billion.

Only Microsoft, Costco, and Weyerhaeuser were on the list 10 years ago.

Ten years ago there were eight local companies with a value over 10 billion dollars, five of those over 20 billion, and one over 200 billion. Today there are eight local companies with a value over 10 billion dollars, five of those over 20 billion, and one over 200 billion.

Things change, and things stay the same.

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