WeWork sounds like a real piece of work

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/09/18/wework-sounds-like-a-real-piec.html


WeWork is gonna give me some glorious Christmastime schadenfreude


Something is off about this one. Lindsay Baker had been brought on as head of sustainability and well-being two months earlier. Also, Neumann had previously started an eco-friendly workspace company. So, although that was a strong position that some in the new york office might not have expected, I’d bet the move had been telegraphed ahead of time and people didn’t believe it would happen. Whoever were in this huddle, it sounds like they didn’t read the memo if they themselves had to “settle on” sustainability as the rationale without even speaking with Baker.


FWIW, The Register posted something about the pending IPO a month ago:

Should be interesting to see what happens…


Ugh C employees that force IT to go fix shit in their houses are the worst. It should be seen as harassment and threats in the workplace.


Of course this is all an example of meritocracy, right? /s I’ve been reading similar articles to what @Bonivus_elderheart has posted. I won’t be pouring my money into WeWork anytime soon. The familial link to the Goop CEO is interesting too.


It sounds like he read Chicken Little and took the wrong lesson.


Beyond the CEO’s insanity, their “product” stinks. It’s all artifice. They fill their spaces with cheap furniture and art, plus the flow isn’t great. The lay reminds me of something a young architect would propose. Also, there are too few garbage cans in their offices.


I’ve been reading about WeWork lately, and though the company seems thoroughly fucked, there’s one thing that’s not clear to me… Do they own real estate, or are they taking out long-term leases from landlords? I’ve read it both ways in various sources and I can’t figure out how much real estate they actually own. If they do have significant real estate holdings, it could take them a long time to wind down as they gradually sell everything off. If they’re leasing, they’re fucked as soon as there’s an economic downturn and they can’t meet their lease obligations…


The Neumanns sound like a couple I worked for back in 2003. Everyday I rode my bike to work I hoped it would be the last day. They were vicious people and erratic but the internet bubble was about to burst so I kept dealing with it.

They had hired his younger idiot brother so that he would have money to literally get off their couch and get his own place. This younger brother had twice publicly screwed up assets to a big client. I was pulled in to work on the third delivery to the customer. I dropped the delivery into the correct network location on time. The idiot brother needed to get the assets and deliver them end of day Friday but was too dumb to navigate the folders correctly and so just went home without telling anyone he couldn’t find the assets.

On the following Monday I came in and the owner’s explained to me that the idiot had screwed up for the third time but they couldn’t fire him else he would end up on their couch again. So they were going to fire me instead even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.

I thought about it for a moment. The shit job market. My lack of any savings to fall back on to support my family. And I felt nothing but relief to never have to deal with their capricious and malicious whims.

Fuck all the corporate tyrants.


I vaguely recall reading some business pages that said it was leasing and this was a reason to be cautious about investing. I would not touch with a bargepole any firm run by such an obvious arsehole (if that’s how he treats employees) and his ‘WooWork’ wife.


I believe that the elevator pitch for this company was “Uber for office space”, so my reaction to this article about yet another raging arsehole with a fake-it-til-you-make-it (or not) underpants gnome business model goes like this:

Even Wall Street knows this is a mangy dog.

From what I’ve read it’s both, heavy on the leases at the moment. They have a few high-profile purchases “for show” like the Lord and Taylor building in NYC, but who knows how deep in hock they had to go to get it. Their plan is to raise a separate fund to buy buildings that would be leased to WeWork, but it already has the stink of self-dealing about it (including Neumann personally).


co-working space
a small kitchen


Saw this on Twitter – a screenshot of part of the WSJ article. Yow.


My recollection was that it was a mix of lease and owned properties.

I think the giant red flag is that there’s no contract for the CEO, and that one of the entities that they lease property from is fairly high up on the food chain of the company.

Edit: and @gracchus beat me to it.

I still wouldn’t invest in that place, due to the founder’s erratic behavior…


Neumann should have added a lottery for employees to guess who was laid off so that her annual salary could pay for McDaniels’ performance.


Oh, shit. Check this out from the Vulture article, a quote from their S1:

We have entered into several transactions with our Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Adam Neumann, including leases with landlord entities in which Adam has or had a significant ownership interest. We have similarly entered into leases with landlord entities in which other members of our board of directors have a significant ownership interest.

This company is just a shell for funneling investor money to the board.


My long time favorite from The Oatmeal.

Link to original and easier the view version:

And the poster for sale:


So accurate. I’ve found a middle ground in taking a break from home to work in the library, in coffee shops, in the park, and (less frequently) in clients’ offices.

The last is especially fun. The employees get all excited to have an outsider who still knows every detail of the business and all the players (venting and gossip!), and the executives or founders are grateful to slam out a number of action items with me in-person. When I walk in the door I feel like one of those “friend of the show” surprise guests who used to appear now and then on Carson. If WeWork can replicate that experience, they might have something worth paying a premium for.


And then some:

WeWork owner The We Company may seek a valuation in its upcoming initial public offering of between $10 billion and $12 billion, a dramatic discount to the $47 billion valuation it achieved in January, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.