Should Business Follow Data or Gut Feel?
Hello welcome to another episode of the duct. Tape Marketing Podcast, this is John Jansen, my guest today's Reeves Wiedeman. He is a contributing editor at New York magazine. Also featured in New Yorker New York Times Magazine Rolling Stone Harper's, and we're going to talk about a book that is fairly new called billion dollar loser, the epic rise and spectacular fall of Adam Newman and we work. So reeves welcome to the show. Thanks for having me. So. Why don't you give away the ending for for for people that that may be have followed this story Kinda give us the like. Here's you know here's what was going on at the high level. Here's what happened. Yeah. Fair enough while while a lot of people may know it but but the the the short version of the rise of we work in an office leasing company started in New York City that in the course of a decade expanded all over the world The basic business premise was slicing up large office spaces into small glass. Rent out. By Twenty Nineteen they had more than four hundred locations around the world A also had apartments they had started in elementary school. and a variety of businesses that required a lot of money and so eventually in in thousand nineteen, they decided to go public at of gob smacking forty, seven, billion, dollar valuation and in pretty spectacular fashion over over a few weeks in the summer and fall of last year the. Collapsed out of Newman, the company's founder was was ousted and He's spending most of his time surfing. So you know and the future for him and for the company's still remains to be seen, but it was pretty pretty remarkable rise in in a pretty shocking and swift fall. So the at the from the highest evaluation to like when it all shook out, what did it shed about eighty percent ninety percent You're GonNa make me do some math but you're outright it. It got up to forty seven billion at least in this theoretical way, and and this past spring Softbank, which is, is we were primary investor mark it down to just under three billion, two, point, nine, billion so a. Pretty shocking loss value in a very short amount of time. So. What was it? You did a series of interviews with adamant obviously a lot of other people that show up in the book but what what was kind of the timeline for your interviews because it was really pre crash, right? Yeah. I mean, we when I was I work at New York magazine and we had I decided to do this story at the beginning of Twenty nineteen in the. Reason we did it was was because we work with growing so fast, and because it it suddenly was was everywhere. We have an office in in Soho and in New York and suddenly there were half a dozen of them just a few blocks of where our office was and so we saw it as kind of a success story. We knew there was sort of strange things about the company and. It became very clear to me as I as a after interviewing Adam Newman last April April Twenty nineteen shortly before the IPO was announced. And then talking to people who'd worked with him some members of his executive team that everything that was good and bad about we work revolved around Adam Newman. He he was the visionary. He was the sort of branding expert and he was the. That, was driving company, and then as it became clear, he was also kind of embodied a lot of a lot of what what went wrong. So my only instance as I did work out of we work in Dumbo one time. A few years. Was it nice. Yeah. It was nice. It was like all the kind of. HIP places in that part of town. Are. Very minimal decor. So. It's interesting. You brought up that idea of all good things and bad things because in reading through the book you almost. And and maybe other people. Have covered it this way to that it wouldn't have happened with him and it wouldn't have crashed with with him without him. I think that's exactly right and that's when when we wrote my first story and this was when the company was still on the rise we. I didn't come up with this but but the title one of my bosses did was with the I and we and and and you know it's just everything about this company. was. Just, CER- wrapped up in in in Adams great qualities which which company grow and then things kind of centered off off the rails.