Review- The Cult of We
WeWork, let’s be honest, it was a sh*t show under the founder and CEO Adam Neumann and it’s hard to find a voice out there that says anything different. In fact it probably still is a sh*t show. Because of this, you normally get a good book and we have one. ‘The Cult of We’ by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell is well done and is able to make you shake your head but inform at the same time as they describe the biggest rise and fall this side of the Fyre festival.
If you don’t know the story of WeWork you’ve probably be living under a rock for the last few years. What was once a darling of some venture capitalists and some investment banks, this book reveals how greedy and unrealistic the company really was right down to the delusional founder. In the recent past, Silicon Valley and other startups have been talking about “making the world a better place”. This phrase has been used so much that the HBO show ‘Silicon Valley’ even poked fun at this moniker during their first season. The fact is, if you’re renting desks and buying buildings, you’re not changing the world despite what the founder and CEO thinks. WeWork as a company almost seemed insulted when they found this out.
The downfall on this company was the fact that the IPO didn’t happen. The S1 (the bible you have to put out before going public so people can get a feeling as to what the company is actually all about) was an unequivocal disaster. And when you think level of disaster, think Chernobyl. The book does a great job of not only walking through the why but also the reaction of WeWork (including Adam Neumann’s wife Rebekah) and how it seem like a shock that investors laughed off the company’s S1.
This book is a solid, entertaining read. Brown and Farrell do a great job of walking the reader through the history and through the inevitable Hindenburg moments. The story should impress you, upset you but also leave you unsurprised that this could happen in the era that we are in.