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🪓WeWork: The DEAD Cult of ‘We’
[#6] Tale of Chaos: We Cult. We Con. We Crime. With $47 Billion. 'We' all fall down!
“How do you change the world? Bring people together.”
“Where is the easiest big place to bring people together? In the work environment.”
—Adam Neumann, WeWork’s Vision.
In 2019, an Israeli Entrepreneur FAILED to IPO his $47 Billion Startup.
His OVERVALUED Unicorn Startup WeWork was once on the verge of BANKRUPTCY!
In the process, he sued his own company’s BIGGEST Investor.
That’s the melody of a debacle.
The epiphany of disaster.
A to-be-giant’s downfall.
The (K)ey Notes:
What’s the sound of money—burning?
What’s the sound of delusional—burning?
What’s the sound of WeWork—burning?
‘We’ shall find out…
WeWork’s story is where the money doesn’t jiggle-jiggle. It doesn’t fold.
It just burns!
The fraud flames rise high, ashes touch the very atom of delusion. And ‘We’ stare for it to work. Everyone does…
But it doesn’t work. All there left is a shallow cult.
A cult that’s DEAD. Or is it?
A real estate company can never be a tech company…Or can it?
TALE OF THE TAPE
Imagine long hair, a godlike aesthete, an enigmatic voice and accent & a vision to create a superficial cult.
anyone would be fooled to believe that…
This is JESUS.
THE HISTORY OF WEWORK
Meet Adam Neumann ↓
He was known as the Steve Jobs of WeWork!
WeWork was literally his shrine!
His Charisma was his USP — when he was in a room, he made everyone feel the presence and the energy that you can literally live on the moon or as they thought.
with his energy and his distinctive way of driving a conversation and deluding anyone that...
This is what has crossed his mind, voila it needs to be created.
This kind of reckless behaviour as a leader is short-lived — I don’t have to put a word for it, it happened.
how it happened, why it happened, and what led to that bizarre finale is the story of Adam Neumann & his “Noah’s Ark” startup — WeWork.
A question always lingers:
“was WeWork a legitimate business with a failed model or was it simply a rash Modern Day Cult?”
the devastating demise of WeWork can’t be just answered by connecting some dots in the arena of history
this can only be answered when we have all the puzzles to this maze right.
how it started, why it started, where it started & the life that happened between all of those moments
"Adam is always the epicentre in all of it."
in 2010, WeWork proclaimed the future of co-working space!
with Adam on the wheels & his counterpart Miguel Mckelvey as a 12th man,
founded the company with just one simple idea in mind — “working in an office should be a social networking activity & it should elevate a community around you”
the tone was set. but hold on a little rewind: this was not Adam’s first venture.
Adam already had failed two startups that didn’t even pilot to the public
a collapsable women’s heels & baby clothing brand “Krawlers” (these companies look like a revenge story from the ’90s. haha!)
it was a disaster — $2 million in sales, with $3 million in expenses, just wow!
in a more ironic turn of events, the slogan for Krawlers was: “Just because they don’t tell you, doesn’t mean they don’t hurt.”
with all these struggles in his pocket, he dropped out of his college program — and started working from a small office in Brooklyn — that’s where the first brick of unicorn was set.
along with his co-founder Miguel McKelvey, who started Green Desk in 2008.
empty cubicle offices filled Adam’s mind with the idea of making a renting business out of this.
this very inception, 2 years later turned out to be what we know as WeWork, today!
simply a business model where they lease an office long-term, give it a spin of make-up (renovate) and make the environment happening, sexy & more lit up & sublease smaller desks & offices on a short-term basis.
simple, isn’t it? normally in the modern world, this would be called essentially a commercial real-estate company…
little did we know — Adam had other plans!
Adam found there was a lack of communication and a sense of belongingness in the city where he established his first office!
he wanted to make it happening,
it would give a sense of community to those working on their premise, and it was true!
ACE OF SPACES
they somehow succeeded in doing that.
with their first location secure and up and running — three musketeers in line:
Joel Schrieber (a real estate developer and third partner in WeWork)
set out sail to expand WeWork!
It was all a buffet from down there; in 2012 just 2 years after wework’s existence, Adam partnered with high-profile property owners to purchase top skyscraper floors & turn them into condominiums!
adam went on a spree, and got bat-shit crazy!
ACQUIRE. LEASE. RENOVATE. SLEEP
ACQUIRE. LEASE. RENOVATE. SLEEP
ACQUIRE. LEASE. RENOVATE. SLEEP
this was the vision under Adam’s leadership.
ironically this pure vague method, in 2014 made WeWork the fastest-growing lessee of office spaces, slowly absorbing other continents soon!
Adam with this mammoth of speed grew to 50 locations worldwide!
and that’s how subtly he got a jump to his valuation to approx $15 billion!
now that’s huge!
WeWork slowly transitioned from being an underdog in the market to being dub as the most Innovative company in the world (boi oh boi, even I believed it at one point!)
by 2016, WeWork already had unicorn status.
what if I tell you that Adam was all about his hypes and promises that he sold to everybody?
was he buying time or he was so absorbed in himself that he was too ignorant to see the debacle in front of him?
well, we would never know, but we know one thing...
Adam with WeWork had a great run!
by 2018, he had outgrown everything that he possibly thought WeWork could be!
everything was just OVERVALUED.
WeWork office spaces locations: more than 250+ locations worldwide
WeWork office spaces owned: 44.8 million sq ft. of office space
WeWork valuation: that’s the most tricky, weird, and interesting part!
inK by iKyu.
After all of these milestones in the pocket of reckless Adam — what’s next?
Well, he was onto making a simplistic real estate company — why?
A couple of reasons:
his business was burning cash like tequila shots (something this company’s reputed for along with some pints of controversies!)
he needed to sustain the livelihood of thousands of people, whom he was selling only superficial targets, promises, and vision!
his deluded image of himself and his hyped-up image by his wife and his thoughts!
the only reason for WeWork's demise is the HYPE.
Adam hyped WeWork in such a way as to lure billions from investors who were looking to invest in disruptive startups,
which Adam was pretty much playing and had to keep afloat on!
the downfall starts when adam’s investors have no bandwidth to invest further
a superficial project of adam who is just selling projects and not delivering a profit as promised!
Rebekah had already been in talks when this all was happening, backstage!
she supposedly was the acting chief branding officer at WeWork.
they have showcased a power couple of the startup industry
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Rebekah was the one who came up with the slogan for WeWork as “elevating the world’s consciousness”
WTF — seriously?
"how much delusion & fallacy one can sell to oneself in order to lose touch with reality?"
Adam and Rebekah were living such a utopian life with whatever was going on inside their marijuana-intoxicated brains.
and surprisingly, money does give you supremacy,
as they listened, cause they hoarded a pool of money!
in order to save his sinking cult, Adam preyed his eyes on Japan’s top investor
who rose to fame from having a rags-to-riches story along with having honoured names of funding Uber and Alibaba, in their early days!
this was the “aha! Bitcoin” moment for Adam — he wanted SoftBank's support to get his “Noah’s Ark” floating.
Masa San, the owner of Softbank, the biggest investor in WeWork
took Adam’s superficial vision to skyrocket and unleash full madness!
WeWork's burn rate, after Masa’s Softbank investment of approx $4 billion nearing to 4million dollars a day!
4 MILLION DOLLARS!
THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY, MAN!
for Masa to gaze eyes on WeWork, Adam knew this needed to be showcased as a low-ticket, high-revenue-generating machine.
this is possible for a tech company, not a real estate company — now, imagine what this superficial messiah did, in order to get Masa to invest in his company.
he hyped and marketed WeWork as a tech company!
with $3.1 billion in hand, Adam became crazier!
alcohol was the culture — alcohol became oxygen for WeWork and adam’s fuel to thrive!
this rage, made Adam envision himself as the first trillionaire in the world!
I mean think about it...
distributing your image as a tech company on the surface where you are still old school real-estate giant won’t reap great results!
their business plan was flawed: WeWork's leasing long & subletting short strategy...
became the ultimate poison for their profit (as if there was any!)
adam’s rash practices also came into the public eye when the investigation reported that he patented the name “we” and then licensed it in the name of WeWork; similar to a few of his buildings.
all of this compounded to one thing — this loss can’t be taken all privately!
“WE need to go public”
—all investors agreed at once.
that’s where everything disintegrated.
With Masa's backing with the biggest investment and Adam’s imaginary ideas floating around — WeWork was overvalued at a valuation of $47 billion dollars!
that number was hanged to death when WeWork financials were looked at close
result: the company’s actual worth was $10 billion dollars only!
the company was shedding money like water.
they went from about to reach Mars to going straight down to duck in less than 6 weeks!
in the midst of all this—many lawsuits started to surface:
gender discrimination and sexual harassment are being talked about in public, but many are unheard, still.
with everything in the red zone
from the IPO to investors, the employees, to the other branches of WeWork
which was supposedly changed and merged as a conglomerate called “The We Company”
which resulted in the creation of different products of the same company along with WeWork.
welive, wegrow & WeWork labs being in top-shelf active!
Adam had a vision, along with Rebekah:
“WeWork will create a world where people make a life and not just a living.”
they achieved that but with a limit.
and that’s how it all ended in a jiff.
in 2019, WeWork unravelled heavy losses and discrepancies in the distribution of power stating that Adam holds most of the rights!
Softbank lost confidence in Adam’s CRAZE
and wanted him out as the CEO of WeWork (typical Steve Jobs moment, isn’t it?)
On September 24th, 2019 — adam Neumann officially stepped down as the CEO.
creating a ruckus of events along with him.
he took a billion-dollar payout and moved back to its root
leaving all his employees estranged and investors devastated. many lawsuits flying around, still!
WE ended its superficial bull run with an estimated net worth of $800 million & made it to an IPO with much less valuation than broadcasted earlier!
WeWork has always believed that we are better together, and a large part of that is learning from others through meaningful connections and experiences.
The story of WeWork is a symbol of the disgrace of how visionary CEOs with no substance and only vagueness can destroy the vision for the world.
“The one thing we learned about community; is you can't force community.”
Adam might be right, but a hypocrite in the end is just one blow away from being fragile.
Adam was fragile.