Adam Neumann (WeWork)

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pages: 460 words: 130,820

The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion by Eliot Brown, Maureen Farrell

"side hustle", activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, Burning Man, cloud computing, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, don't be evil, Donald Trump, East Village, Elon Musk, future of work, gender pay gap, global pandemic, global supply chain, Google Earth, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, hockey-stick growth, housing crisis, index fund, Internet Archive, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, Network effects, new economy, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-oil, railway mania, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, San Francisco homelessness, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart cities, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, Steve Jobs, super pumped, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, women in the workforce, Y Combinator, Zipcar

Journal published its story: Farrell et al., “Some WeWork Board Members Seek to Remove Adam Neumann as CEO.” trekked to midtown to see Jamie Dimon: Maureen Farrell et al., “The Fall of WeWork: How a Startup Darling Came Unglued,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 24, 2019. meet his three closest investors: Ibid. filed into the carriage house: Farrell et al., “Fall of WeWork.” posted stories on Neumann’s ouster: Eliot Brown et al., “WeWork’s Adam Neumann Steps Down as CEO,” Wall Street Journal, Sept. 24, 2019; David Gelles et al., “WeWork C.E.O. Adam Neumann Steps Down Under Pressure,” New York Times, Sept. 24, 2019.

Needleman and Eliot Brown, “WeWork to Cut Around 17% of Workforce,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 21, 2019. filed an employment complaint: David Yaffe-Bellany, “WeWork’s Ousted C.E.O. Adam Neumann Is Accused of Pregnancy Discrimination,” New York Times, Oct. 31, 2019. still flying around on private jets: Jennifer Gould, “Ex-WeWork CEO Adam Neumann Flees NYC to Escape ‘Negative Energy’: Pals,” New York Post, Dec. 17, 2019. They were flying commercial: Jessica Bennett, “Ousted WeWork CEO Adam Neumann Travels to Israel,” New York Post, Dec. 27, 2019. EPILOGUE “My own investment judgment”: Phred Dvorak and Megumi Fujikawa, “SoftBank Founder Calls His Judgment ‘Really Bad’ After $4.7 Billion WeWork Hit,” Wall Street Journal, Nov. 6, 2019.

could find no single New York school: Eliot Brown, “Surfing, Schools, and Jets: WeWork’s Bets Follow CEO Adam Neumann’s Passions,” Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2019. cost up to $42,000: Ibid. “It was pretty much a mess”: Interviews with Shanklin, March–Aug. 2020. “more of a universe or village”: Hadley Keller, “Bjarke Ingels Group Creates a Miniature, Indoor Natural Ecosystem for WeWork’s WeGrow School,” Architectural Digest, Oct. 29, 2018. Adam Braun as the school’s chief operating officer: Rebekah Neumann, “Welcoming Adam Braun to WeGrow,” WeWork website, May 16, 2018. “would all sound so beautiful”: Interviews with Shanklin, March–Aug. 2020.


pages: 303 words: 100,516

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, barriers to entry, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, East Village, eat what you kill, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, index fund, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the High Line, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, zero-sum game

Adam, Miguel, and Rebekah were scheduled to host a panel; the vegetarian food trucks were told to hold off on serving meals, leaving their employees to fend off desperate bribes from drunk and hungry WeWorkers. For those attending their first Summer Camp, the crowd had a strange energy, erupting into a cheer of “Olé, olé, olé” when the three founders appeared onstage. An employee from India started chanting, “Let’s go, WeWork, let’s go!” Another, from California, screamed, “You’re changing the world, Adam!” Neumann had certainly come to believe in his ability to do just that. “The influence and impact that we are going to have on this earth is going to be so big,” he said, wearing a T-shirt that read LET’S MEAT IN THE MIDDLE. A few weeks earlier, after the shocking news that both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had died by suicide, Adam had stood up at a company town hall and told his employees that if they were ever feeling depressed or suicidal they should reach out to him directly.

Half a dozen tenants had kept offices at 154 Grand since it opened, nine years earlier, even though there were now many newer options nearby: one office at 154 Grand was being occupied by a WeWork employee who was managing the construction of a new location down the block. New York magazine had assigned me to write a feature story about WeWork, in part because Adam Neumann’s empire seemed to be slowly closing in: there were suddenly a dozen WeWorks within a mile of the magazine’s SoHo building, where Oscar Health, the health insurance provider founded by Josh Kushner, Jared’s brother, had a brand new Powered by We office. When I finished my tour of 154 Grand Street, I noticed that I had several missed calls from an unknown phone number.

In May, WeWork held a “bake off” among three firms—JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley—for the lead left position. JPMorgan was the top candidate, given the bank’s long history with WeWork. In addition to its 2014 investment, JPMorgan had assisted WeWork with various loans and other financing arrangements. The bank had also lent Adam $97 million in low-interest mortgages for the many homes that the Neumanns were buying, and helped facilitate a personal $500 million line of credit backed by Adam’s WeWork stock. Adam had taken to calling Jamie Dimon his “personal banker.” When it came time for JPMorgan to make its pitch for the lead left position, its bankers suggested that WeWork could go public at a valuation north of $46 billion and as high as $63 billion.


pages: 303 words: 100,516

Billion Dollar Loser: The Epic Rise and Spectacular Fall of Adam Neumann and WeWork by Reeves Wiedeman

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, barriers to entry, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, coronavirus, corporate governance, Covid-19, COVID-19, cryptocurrency, Donald Trump, dumpster diving, East Village, eat what you kill, Elon Musk, fear of failure, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, index fund, Jeff Bezos, Lyft, margin call, Mark Zuckerberg, Maui Hawaii, medical residency, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, prosperity theology / prosperity gospel / gospel of success, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, software as a service, sovereign wealth fund, starchitect, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the High Line, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, WeWork, zero-sum game

Adam, Miguel, and Rebekah were scheduled to host a panel; the vegetarian food trucks were told to hold off on serving meals, leaving their employees to fend off desperate bribes from drunk and hungry WeWorkers. For those attending their first Summer Camp, the crowd had a strange energy, erupting into a cheer of “Olé, olé, olé” when the three founders appeared onstage. An employee from India started chanting, “Let’s go, WeWork, let’s go!” Another, from California, screamed, “You’re changing the world, Adam!” Neumann had certainly come to believe in his ability to do just that. “The influence and impact that we are going to have on this earth is going to be so big,” he said, wearing a T-shirt that read LET’S MEAT IN THE MIDDLE. A few weeks earlier, after the shocking news that both Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had died by suicide, Adam had stood up at a company town hall and told his employees that if they were ever feeling depressed or suicidal they should reach out to him directly.

Half a dozen tenants had kept offices at 154 Grand since it opened, nine years earlier, even though there were now many newer options nearby: one office at 154 Grand was being occupied by a WeWork employee who was managing the construction of a new location down the block. New York magazine had assigned me to write a feature story about WeWork, in part because Adam Neumann’s empire seemed to be slowly closing in: there were suddenly a dozen WeWorks within a mile of the magazine’s SoHo building, where Oscar Health, the health insurance provider founded by Josh Kushner, Jared’s brother, had a brand new Powered by We office. When I finished my tour of 154 Grand Street, I noticed that I had several missed calls from an unknown phone number.

In May, WeWork held a “bake off” among three firms—JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley—for the lead left position. JPMorgan was the top candidate, given the bank’s long history with WeWork. In addition to its 2014 investment, JPMorgan had assisted WeWork with various loans and other financing arrangements. The bank had also lent Adam $97 million in low-interest mortgages for the many homes that the Neumanns were buying, and helped facilitate a personal $500 million line of credit backed by Adam’s WeWork stock. Adam had taken to calling Jamie Dimon his “personal banker.” When it came time for JPMorgan to make its pitch for the lead left position, its bankers suggested that WeWork could go public at a valuation north of $46 billion and as high as $63 billion.


pages: 329 words: 100,162

Hype: How Scammers, Grifters, and Con Artists Are Taking Over the Internet―and Why We're Following by Gabrielle Bluestone

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, Bernie Madoff, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Burning Man, cashless society, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, financial thriller, forensic accounting, gig economy, global pandemic, high net worth, hockey-stick growth, Hyperloop, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Naomi Klein, Netflix Prize, NetJets, Peter Thiel, placebo effect, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unpaid internship, upwardly mobile, WeWork

If there was ever a through-line to all of McFarland’s schemes, it’s that they occurred primarily over the internet, were valued not by their worth but by his enthusiasm, were targeted at his fellow millennials, and appeared to be designed to acquire as much money and attention in as short of a time period as possible. In that way, Billy was not unlike other start-up founders such as Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes or WeWork CEO Adam Neumann, both of whom also rode waves of hype to become rich and famous at the expense of their investors. But McFarland was a peculiar sort of millennial entrepreneur, one who started out just as Instagram began to gain attention—and with it, the rise of performative wealth among the underage scions who first sparked the Rich Kids of Instagram Tumblr page and subsequent reality television show.

And they never let the truth stop them from a good marketing campaign. A recent BookForum piece described one of these overhyped men as having “three key traits: he was tall, grandiose, and drank tequila.” Incredibly, this line referred to neither McFarland nor Musk, who’s been trying to launch an alcohol line called “Teslaquila.” (It was WeWork’s Adam Neumann.) But back to Musk. He’s considered a genius because he made a bunch of money on PayPal and once shot a car into space. But I’d argue his real talent is marketing and figuring out how to get federal subsidies to keep his companies afloat. Because when you really look hard at his legacy, it’s not as impressive as the headlines would have you believe.

Levin, "Re: William McFarland; United States District Court, Southern District of New York, 17-CR-00600-NRB and 18-CR-00446-JMF," letter submitted to court, August 20, 2018. 74. Alex Sherman, "WeWork’s $47 Billion Valuation Was Always a Fiction Created by SoftBank," CNBC, October 22, 2019, https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/22/wework-47-billion-valuation-softbank-fiction.html. 75. Adam Neumann, Baruch College Commencement 2017. Speech, Baruch College, New York, NY, June 12, 2017. 76. Kevin Roose, "Do Not Disturb: How I Ditched My Phone and Unbroke My Brain," New York Times, February 23, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/23/business/cell-phone-addiction.html. 77.


pages: 269 words: 70,543

Tech Titans of China: How China's Tech Sector Is Challenging the World by Innovating Faster, Working Harder, and Going Global by Rebecca Fannin

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, blockchain, call centre, cashless society, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, cloud computing, computer vision, connected car, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Deng Xiaoping, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, family office, fear of failure, glass ceiling, global supply chain, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, megacity, Menlo Park, money market fund, Network effects, new economy, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, QR code, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, sharing economy, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, WeWork, winner-take-all economy, Y Combinator, young professional

Within two years of plunging into the foreign market, WeWork bought Chinese coworking startup Naked Hub from Shanghai-based luxury resort operator Naked Group for a cool $400 million, a move that gave WeWork an immediate lift. WeWork scooped up 25 Naked Hub locations in Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong to add to its own 13 spots in China. It didn’t take long for WeWork CEO Adam Neumann to take a lesson from Naked Hub’s operation in trendy Xintiandi, which was making bundles of money from renting office space on a flexible, come-as-you-like basis, with no monthly contract. WeWork quickly launched the feature as WeWork Go, which lets China-based customers check for open desks by mobile app, go to the location, and register by QR code.


pages: 217 words: 63,287

pages: 661 words: 185,701

The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance by Eswar S. Prasad

access to a mobile phone, Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, algorithmic trading, altcoin, bank run, barriers to entry, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, Bitcoin Ponzi scheme, blockchain, Bretton Woods, business intelligence, buy and hold, capital controls, carbon footprint, cashless society, central bank independence, cloud computing, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, deglobalization, disintermediation, distributed ledger, diversified portfolio, Dogecoin, Donald Trump, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, eurozone crisis, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Flash crash, floating exchange rates, full employment, gig economy, global reserve currency, index fund, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, liquidity trap, litecoin, loose coupling, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, mobile money, Money creation, money market fund, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, open economy, passive investing, payday loans, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, price anchoring, profit motive, QR code, quantitative easing, RAND corporation, random walk, Real Time Gross Settlement, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, risk/return, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, smart contracts, special drawing rights, the payments system, too big to fail, transaction costs, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, WeWork, wikimedia commons, Y Combinator, zero-sum game


pages: 245 words: 75,397

Fed Up!: Success, Excess and Crisis Through the Eyes of a Hedge Fund Macro Trader by Colin Lancaster

Adam Neumann (WeWork), Airbnb, always be closing, asset-backed security, beat the dealer, Ben Bernanke: helicopter money, Bernie Sanders, bond market vigilante , Bonfire of the Vanities, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, buy the rumour, sell the news, Carmen Reinhart, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, collateralized debt obligation, coronavirus, Covid-19, COVID-19, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Donald Trump, Edward Thorp, family office, fiat currency, fixed income, Flash crash, global pandemic, global supply chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Growth in a Time of Debt, housing crisis, index arbitrage, Jeff Bezos, Kenneth Rogoff, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, low skilled workers, margin call, market bubble, Mikhail Gorbachev, Modern Monetary Theory, moral hazard, National Debt Clock, Nixon triggered the end of the Bretton Woods system, Northern Rock, oil shock, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Sharpe ratio, short selling, statistical arbitrage, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, two and twenty, value at risk, WeWork, yield curve, zero-sum game

Dress pants, button-down shirt and fleece vests. Walk around Mayfair or watch Billions. You’ll get it. Lifecoach prefers Hermès. Just look for the scarf. We are sitting at our normal table in the restaurant, waiting for the food to arrive. A headline has just hit on WeWork, and all of us are checking our phones. WeWork is run by a guy named Adam Neumann, and its largest shareholder is a company called SoftBank, run by Masayoshi Son.5 SoftBank has been pouring money into fast-growing tech companies. Masa Son famously lost $70 billion, the most money lost in stock market history, during the dotcom bust. He’s back at it again and swinging for the fences.


pages: 154 words: 47,880

pages: 404 words: 95,163