‘Billion Dollar Loser’: The collapse and possible reinvention of WeWork and Adam Neumann

Business

NEW YORK (NewsNation Now) — The pandemic has forced many to re-image how we work in the last year, but even before COVID-19, the idea of a flexible office space was already taking off.

WeWork launched in 2010 as a commercial real estate company offering shared office space for people and entrepreneurs.

A failed IPO attempt in 2019 culminated with the ouster of its co-founder, Adam Neumann, and forced the company to re-structure.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 13: A WeWork office facility stands in the DUMBO neighborhood in the Brooklyn borough of New York City on September 13, 2019. WeWork has chosen to list their IPO on the Nasdaq with a September 23 trading debut. The company is now considering a valuation of potentially less than $20 billion after being previously valued on the private market for as much as $47 billion. The company has also reduced CEO Adam Neumann’s voting power after receiving sharp criticism of their corporate governance. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Now, WeWork is under new management and trying to go public again. Neumann also appears to be plotting his next move as well.

In the book ‘Billion Dollar Loser,’ author Reeves Wiedeman details what he calls “the epic rise and spectacular fall” of Adam Neumann and WeWork.

“What WeWork became, and what Adam Neumann became, was something that aspired to be much bigger. By the end of the last decade, this was a company with a mission statement to elevate the world consciousness,” said Wiedeman.

He spoke with over 200 people for his research on Neumann and WeWork. Wiedman said that through his research, he came to believe Neumann didn’t intend to scam people with WeWork.

“He not only saw WeWork as not only a way to get rich. He saw it as a company he believed, rightly or wrongly, was going to make the world a better place,” stated Wiedman.

According to Wiedman, Neumann is scouting a similar industry to WeWork for his comeback career move.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – MAY 10: Adam Neumann Founder of WeWork speaks on stage at the WeWork San Francisco Creator Awards at Palace of Fine Arts on May 10, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for the WeWork Creator Awards)

“He’s making investments right now. He’s making investments, some attaching his name to, some quietly, many of them in the real estate world. He’s particularly interested in the residential world,” said Wiedman. “So WeWork was a look at the office space and trying to reimagine that. And he seems to be leaning into if you can figure out a way to reinvent the apartment building that would be a big way to build a big company.”

WeWork continues to attempt to reinvent itself. It had a new IPO attempt in late 2021 and worked to capitalize on the shift in workplace environments post-pandemic.

“In a bigger picture way, they’re trying to present themselves as the office of the future, the post-pandemic office. Arguing we already know how to offer flexible office space, we know how to offer it in different sizes and shapes. And to fit your needs,” stated Wiedman.

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