As my long term readers know, I love books about failed companies and WeWork is clearly one of the most spectacular failures in the recent times.
The book focuses initially mostly on the founder Adam Neumann, who grew up in Israel and didn’t achieve much there before going to the US. There he started a first business trying to sell baby clothing which was not too successful. He then met his co-founder Miguel McKelvey in the elevator of the building where both were working. Co-founder Miguel was intrigued by the fact that Neumann used to walk around barefoot and talked to everyone.
WeWork as the AWS of Commercial Real Estate
A lot has been written in the past few days about the upcoming WeWork IPO. I had linked to a few articles on Saturday and FTAlphaville has some pretty sarcastic but good coverage as well.
Yesterday then the always brilliant Stratechery came out with in interesting post. Ben Thompson thinks that WeWork could develop into something like AWS (for real estate) which now is repsonsible for most of Amazon’s profits. But he clearly acknowledges there are a lot of governance issues etc. etc. The “WeWork is like AWS” story is nothing new and is mostly pushed by WeWork itself and combined with what they think is the adressable market (hint: all commercial real estate globally) could justify almost any valuation.
WeWork’s actual product: Open Plan offices (for start-ups and wannabes)
What I have been missing in the whole discussion so far is a look at WeWork’s actual product which in my opinion is the following: