The Rise and Fall of WeWork


The next stage was disillusionment. For the WeWorkers I spoke with, the turning point was at the company’s Global Summit, which took place in the Los Angeles Convention Center and featured appearances by the figure skater Adam Rippon and the twenty-one-year-old actor Jaden Smith. During Neumann’s keynote speech, he brought up his plan to create a floating WeWork, called WeSail, and to launch a WeBank. The architectural designer told me, “That made me very, very nervous.” One event was an onstage interview, conducted by Rebekah Neumann, with the Red Hot Chili Peppers front man, Anthony Kiedis. The event was mandatory, and thousands of WeWork employees filled the Convention Center and listened to Kiedis discuss his lifelong battle with heroin and cocaine addictions. The interview started to go off the rails. “At some point, it becomes clear that Rebekah has decided that she’s going to turn it into a sort of Dr. Phil session,” the designer recalled. She began pressing Kiedis on his recovery process and urging a solution. “She was asking, ‘Have you found your soul mate yet? You’ll be happy when you find your soul mate.’ ” Kiedis didn’t seem very receptive to the idea. The audience squirmed. “That was when it hit me,” the development worker said. There was no secret team of shadow executives. “There wasn’t anyone else running the company. It was just Adam and his wife.”

via The Rise and Fall of WeWork | The New Yorker