Podcast review: Foundering - The WeWork story - Bloomberg Technology <I listen so you don’t have to>
You will have been hiding under a rock if you have not been aware of the meteoric rise and subsequent crazy crash of coworking company WeWork and its charismatic and decidedly ‘marmite’ founder Adam Neumann.
Not only is this a roller-coaster ride of a tale, but there are some great observations:
1. The Founder Myth: is this the end of the seemingly endless rise of tech company founders and their ‘god-like’ status, where in the face of their business losing money year-on-year, investors keep ploughing funds into them, convinced of a massive return?
2. Practice what you preach: as a company founder you need to stay true to your purpose: Neumann’s insistence on paying low salaries to his staff flew in the face of his decision to buy a company G650 jet ($65 million) for private use, sell his privately owned “We” trademark to the company (for $6 million) and buy buildings and then rent them to WeWork.
3. Paid to leave: Ultimately Neumann was paid $1.7 billion (more than the GDP of several small countries added together) by major share-holder Softbank to leave WeWork - even though the company was losing money, hand-over-fist.