WeCrashed - Building A $47 Billion Dollar Company
WeCrashed is one of the newest Apple TV+ original series. It is based on real life events and tells the story of WeWork, a global brand company who took on a mission of changing the workplace environment. Before watching this show I haven't heard about WeWork or We company. After watching first seven episodes, I am more curious about the fate of this company. Unlike Netflix, Apple TV+ doesn't provide all episodes of the season at once. That is kinda of annoying that they only make one episode available every week.
As the name of the show suggests, this story should not end well for the company. There is a hint to this in the beginning of the series as well. I don't like the ending to be revealed, regardless the story is based on true events or not. But I still find the story of building a company from scratch that becomes worth $47 billion dollars. I you like stories like this, you may find this show interesting as well. However, I should also point out it is not one of the greatest series ever made. Some parts are very slow moving and boring. Overall, I do like the story and want to see how it will end.
SPOILER ALERT: Since not many people use Apple TV+ and probably won't watch the series, I will not try to avoid spoilers. If you dislike spoilers and planning to watch the series, please stop reading here.
This is a story about passion for building something new. This is story about love. This is a story about friendship, partnership and commitment. While the main story is about the WeWork and We Company network, the true story I see is about three individuals that have nothing in common.
Adam Neumann is a young entrepreneur who has many ideas for a business, has big dreams, and confidence to build something, anything. He is the founder of WeWork. Rebekah Neumann is Adam's wife and chief branding officer of the company. Before Adam and Rebekah married, Rebekah lived a simple life and had passion for yoga, healthy life style and spirituality who didn't care much about building business or money. She had a powerful skill of motivation. Miguel McKelvey is a young architect who becomes fond of Adam's vision, believes in Adam when nobody else did, and become a co-founder of WeWork.
All three of these individual who seem to have different world outlook, different approach to life, and very different personal characters. There are certain things they are good at, really good at. But all three have weaknesses when it comes to building a business. I think if any of them never met each other and lived their lives without meeting each other, WeWork would never be possible. It is this unique combination of three individuals, and universe bringing them together WeWork was able to become a $47 billion dollar company despite all odds.
Even before WeWork, Adam came up with different products and tried to build various businesses. None of them worked. But he kept pushing and exploring different avenues and ideas for a business. Nothing seemed to work. He would give pitches about a business idea whenever he would get an opportunity. Miguel came across one of Adam's presentations, and seemed to like his ideas. But he is just an architect and doesn't have money himself to invest. However, when Miguel finds out Adam needs a cheap office, Miguel has an idea. He offers a small storage closet in the building he works for cheaper rent, just to help Adam. That's how they start their friendship.
Adam, quickly realizes Miguel to be a good partner in his endeavors and start collaborating with him and when he first has an idea of Green Desk, a shared workspace he offers Miguel to be his partner. Interestingly, Miguel accepts the offer, although chances of this business idea to become a reality were very low. The idea of Green Desk become very successful. It allows building landlords to turn empty spaces nobody was renting into profitable square footage. While it was great idea and becomes a successful small business, Adam is not satisfied. He want to build something a lot bigger. When the landlords they partnered with decline the idea of expansion, Adam and Miguel sell their business and move on to building WeWork.
Miguel's commitment and loyalty to Adam becomes evident every step of the journey. Even when Adam decides to build a new company WeWork, he manages to convince Miguel to spend his money from Green Desk in WeWork. Miguel is not a leader or visionary. He doesn't like take risks. He like to make educated and calculated decisions. Adam on the other hand likes to live in his dreams and has a passion to turn risky dreams into reality, even though there is no evidence his ideas will work. That's why I believe having Miguel on his side made a big difference in the success of Adam's decisions. At the same time it is impressive how despite being very conservative and not liking taking risks, Miguel fully trusts Adam and easily convinced by Adam. This kind of relationship between the two is displayed throughout the story.
Third important player in this trio is Rebekah. Adam and Rebekah meet each other before any of Adam's ideas become successful and when in fact Adam was broke. Despite being totally different kind of people with different worldview, they fall in love with each other. This relationship plays a great role in Adam's business endeavors, because Rebekah is the one who is able to motivate and inspire Adam. She is able to help Adam in focusing in the vision that matters to him the most and abandon the ones he doesn't have inner connection to. Without Rebekah, Adam would keep coming up with new ideas and chasing dreams that would never come true. When Rebekah was able to bring the best out of Adam and get him focus on something that is important for him and dedicate his energy to that, Green Desk was born and then WeWork.
At the every step of building WeWork, its expansion and challenges Adam faces, Rebekah is always close by motivating and providing moral support. It is with this help Adam is able to show perseverance in accomplishing his goals. Adam and Rebekah do have some troubles in their marriage too. However, Adam's love always shows how much he cares about his wife and he always tries to show that his wife and family are the most important things in his life. There is a moment in their life when ego takes over they fight over who played bigger role in building WeWork, but in the end they are able to overcome these troubles and show that they are stronger together, and their commitment to each other is more important than anything else.
I find the story of these three individual very powerful and interesting, rather than the story of a company becoming super successful and then ending up losing a lot in value. But that story is interesting as well. It explores the world of capital investments, legal bureaucratic processes, and greedy bankers. One of the bankers that had close relationship with WeWork is JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon. Him and his bank are one of the early backers of WeWork. The most important investor in WeWork is SoftBank CEO, Masayoshi Son. His large investments in billions of dollars is what makes the valuation of WeWork crazy high to $47 billion dollars.
What still puzzles me is how such a smart investor like Masayoshi Son, who made a lot of money as a result of his bet on Alibaba, invested too much money in WeWork and put too much trust in Adam and WeWork. It is not clear if this big investment clouded Adam's judgement in growing the company, or would Adam still pursue the idea of making WeWork a trillion dollar company. Adam strongly believed with no justification that WeWork would become a trillion dollar company. This is expressed several times in the series. But always, the reason give is Adam wants Masayoshi Son to profit from WeWork even more than the profits he made in Alibaba.
The show has not finished yet. But again, because of the name of the show and how it started, it is more likely everybody who invested in WeWork will end up losing their money. More so, Masayoshi Sun. It is highly unlikely this story will have a happy ending, at least when it comes to money. But I do very much like to see happy ending in the lives of people who took part in this story. One of the mistakes this business endeavor might have made is that they stated pursued many unrelated ideas with attached the word We in front of them, instead of focusing in their core business of WeWork. For some reason they thought We was the secret sauce of the company but not the original idea of WeWork, new way of sharing workspace and making unrented spaces profitable.
They created We Company, that was intended to be a network of We business in different directions. Adam even trademarked the word We and received fees from the company he ran. lol. That part kinda seems like scamming his own company. If you believe in the success of company and if you are the CEO, why would you want to charge your company for your own trademark. Have you seen WeCrashed yet? Let me know what you think in the comments.
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