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Opinion

Sideways: WeWork hasn’t worked

The fiasco of the failed IPO of WeWork has embroiled some of the most prominent figures in global finance, including SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son and JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon.

Neumann Christ_780

WeWork founder Adam Neumann wasn’t the messiah, he was a very naughty boy

Experienced financiers were beguiled by WeWork founder Adam Neumann, who is often described as a ‘charismatic’ leader, but seemed more of a charlatan, with his outlandish claims for the transformative potential of an office rental firm that was branded as a technology company.

Earlier this year, Neumann expanded the ambitions of WeWork, which was founded in 2010 as a co-working office space renter in downtown New York, by announcing the creation of the WeCompany. 

“WeWork’s mission is to create a world where people work to make a life, not just a living. WeLive’s mission is to build a world where no one feels alone. WeGrow’s mission is to unleash every human’s superpowers,” Neumann said in a blog. “The WeCompany’s guiding mission will be to elevate the world’s consciousness.”

Nonsensical statements such as these did not deter Wall Street’s finest from pursuing business with Neumann, even though there were tangible warning signs about the fragility of WeWork’s business model, including high losses and its use of bizarre metrics such as “community adjusted” earnings that excluded many of its core costs. 


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