If Adam Neumann had borrowed $100,000 from a bank to carry out his idea of folding stilettos, no one would know who he is today. Well, maybe the sheriff responsible for in knows. Neumann didn’t stick with the flip-top heel, instead founding a co-working space company called WeWork, claiming that it’s technology that can turn modern work life into one big party. And then he spent billions that didn’t belong to him. So he’s not remorsefully paying off debts, but instead is the subject of a new Apple series and is played by Jared Leto. The series, which revisits his story with a slightly petty sense of humor that you can afford when you have a real tech company behind you, is called we crashed.
Neumann has achieved dubious fame as a CEO, at least in the US, but the story has made fewer headlines here: He founded WeWork in 2010 with some money from his father-in-law and the savings of his business partner, and a few years later , the company was valued at $45 billion. WeWork wanted to go public: take a look at the books. The bubble burst. Investors called for Neumann to resign as CEO, and in a rather spectacular deal, the man who had burned through billions of dollars went out of business while others turned the company back into what it always was: a kind of agency. of commercial real estate.
By far the best series seen on Apple+ so far
we crashed, which arrives on Apple+ starting Thursday, is fascinating if only because this series is exciting, even if you know all of that: It’s by far the best of any Apple series to date. Entertaining, the actors are great. Above all, however, eight episodes are spread before the eyes of the viewer, which is not the case with the wonderful world of investors and companies that have nothing to sell but soap bubbles. In a smart way that’s easy to follow.
Other startup founders also failed, although they weren’t as revolutionary as they claimed, and Uber’s CEO was also thrown out of court. But not as cinematic as Adam Neumann and his wife Rebekah, two truly outrageous characters and for every photo shoot request from vanity fair have at any time. They talk about union and fire anyone who resents it. At a time when Wall Street considered him a wunderkind, Neumann shuffled barefoot through Manhattan, his long black hair blowing in the wind. Jared Leto is perfect for this balancing act between charm and madness, but in the original he exaggerates Neumann’s accent a bit: Neumann, who grew up on the kibuzz, is Israeli.
Neumann claimed to have a welcoming solution to the gig economy after the 2008 crash: WeWork, he promised, would become the gathering place for all the lonely souls who now had to find a job. with inexhaustible sources of cappuccino and alcohol: a perfect setting for a series. And these characters! The Neumanns believe their pranks will come true if they believe in them enough themselves. Anne Hathaway plays Rebekah Paltrow Neumann as a smitten bitch with a hint of megalomania, and yet episode after episode you get a closer look behind this self constructed of yoga and pretense: she flopped on Wall Street, she had no talent as an actress, and he cannot bear the shame that his cousin Gwyneth has made a career. Adam has charm, but math isn’t his thing. And somehow she sees her potential in this poor man, who was able to talk her into a date even though she didn’t want to; together, the two devised a convoluted company philosophy that sounds a lot like a cult. And that’s how the company develops: Like a cult, the “we” in “WeWork” is just Adam and Rebkah, mixing a cocktail of kibbutz wisdom and rambling that gets a lot of people drunk, from which you get more rationality. suppose. A chain of value is not in sight.
The employees have a party life, but they are poorly paid.
Thank God it’s Monday! That’s the creed: Working at WeWork, in WeWork-leased offices, shouldn’t feel like a job. Spoilers: this didn’t work for Neumann employees, nor for his tenants, sorry: members. Neumann employees participate in the official party, but their working days are long, the pay is poor, they are cheated with actions that should one day enrich them when they become public. Neumann was no longer there when the company went public. The horn fell off the unicorn, to which Neumann compared himself, and what remained was a white horse.
we crashed is based on an Apple podcast of the same name, which looks at the rise and fall of the company and its major players in six episodes. The film adaptation, directed by Lee Eisenberg and Drew Crevello, is based on the podcast but imagined behind-the-scenes aspects that no one had ever had, like Neumann’s marital disputes; and surrounds the two with fictional characters: America Ferrara plays a branding specialist who Rebekah befriends and then promptly hires Adam, Anthony Edwards, an early big investor. But the key data is correct. Ultimately, Neumann’s departure was golden, as the podcast once said, “he got an unbelievable amount of money for losing other people’s money.” However, some things in the series cannot be told as cheaply on any podcast as a dramatized series. Case in point: One of several projects that has nothing to do with real estate is WeGrow, a private school that Rebekah only started because her daughter couldn’t get along anywhere else. When the lights go out there, a father shouts: But what will become of my daughter’s scholarship now? And in a fraction of a second you can guess how much damage has actually been caused, even beyond the investors.
To be fair, long before that, business journalists had raised the possibility that WeWork might simply be an overpriced real estate company. Somehow, however, Adam Neumann managed to pass off his Mitwohnzentrale as a technology company. So you know at the end of we crashed To a certain extent, how it happened: the more investors fell in love with him, the more diligently they tried to keep the legend alive, uncritically and even more money, especially the head of the Japanese company Softbank, which then after WeWork had than to be accused of making “dumb money” among the people. The head of Softbank gave Neumann 4.4 billion in the series (that’s what an episode is also called) without looking at the WeWork books. And only in a film adaptation can it be so wonderfully understood why he throws away a few billion later, hoping he never has to admit his mistake.
WeCrashed, available March 18 on Apple+.
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