This week, we discuss what compliments you get for your store-bought horseradish sauce and where in the world is Alanna. In true crime news, we talk about Weinstein’s convictions, Robert Durst’s trial, Covid 19 and we go to Lori Corner. We review WeCrashed and end up with an octogenarian bodybuilder.
WeCrashed is a six part Wondery podcast hosted by David Brown (Business Wars podcast) which documents the rise and fall of WeWork. The synopsis reads: “The founders of WeWork thought they were on the brink of making history. The company was valued at $47 billion dollars, it was ready for a huge IPO, and its charismatic CEO Adam Neumann thought it was going to change the world. Adam had a prophet-like vision for WeWork that he sold to some of the world’s savviest investors — but did his vision ever match the company’s reality?”
We are introduced to Adam Neumann and his company WeWork. It’s primary business was offering workspaces for other businesses to rent such as individual offices or hot desks. However, Adam made these spaces cool – situating them in contemporary buildings and hot locations with a huge range of office amenities and non-standard office amenities such as beer on tap and ping pong tables.
We hear about the atmosphere of the company which involved starting meetings at 7pm and then attending compulsory staff dinners after, group cheers and wet company retreats camping in England.
Co-working spaces start to get hugely popular and starting in New York, Adam expands WeWork across the world. They start making huge amounts of money and are receiving equally huge amounts of investments.
Adam’s business style is unorthodox to say the least but due to how well the business is going, everyone kind of skirts around their eclectic CEO and accepts his eccentricities.
However, when one of Adam’s investors tells him that he is “crazy, but not crazy enough”, things start to go weird. Adam starts investing in strange companies – such as ones who produce wave machines – and starts branching the “We” branding into schooling – WeGrow which costs $40,000 a semester. He introduces policies into his office such as no meat is to be consumed on the premises.
The company is valued at $47bn and is on the verge of becoming a public company – but this is when everything implodes. The numbers don’t add up. The company is spending money quicker than it is coming in and Adam’s increasingly erratic behaviour causes huge concern.
Eventually, Adam is asked to leave the company – but manages to secure a very expensive exit deal. Hundreds of people lose their jobs and WeWork attempts to recoup their business model to make it sustainable. This includes selling the $60m private jet that was bought for Adam (for ‘travel and meetings’) and selling the miscellaneous businesses that he purchased.
Listen now wherever you get your podcasts.
Bloomberg – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-09-26/wework-looks-to-sell-private-jet-3-side-businesses
Buzzfeed – https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/drumoorhouse/robert-durst-jinx-murder-trial-begins
NBC – https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/missing-idaho-kids-lori-vallow-due-court-officials-ask-public-n1151236
NBC – https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/missing-idaho-kids-bond-lori-vallow-reduced-1-million-n1151926
Sky – https://news.sky.com/story/he-picked-the-wrong-house-female-bodybuilder-82-beats-up-burglar-11870442
Wondery – https://wondery.com/shows/we-crashed/