Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • Found this article from Vice fascinating. A first hand experience of working remotely from a shared office at WeWork:

      The final few sentences felt like a nail in the coffin for getting that "community feeling":

      Honestly, I could have gotten it for free at a local library or for the price of a $5 cold brew at a café near my apartment. Sharing a space with other remote employees working alone did not build camaraderie or community so much as it underscored how isolating it can be to work alone all the time, and how badly I wanted to be around other people again. At the end of the last day I spent at “my” WeWork, I slipped a couple of branded mugs in my backpack and walked out briskly without saying goodbye to anyone.

      Maybe this is a one-off experience, so I'd love to hear from others who've actually worked remotely at WeWork offices. Did you get a community feeling there, have you made any meaningful connections or friends?

    • It just goes to show that "remote" working of any sort (whether at home, or in a serviced office space) is not for everyone. I have worked independently and from a home office for over 10 years and find it entirely suits me because I can focus 100% on what I am doing, which most often involves fine detail - either numerical (building or interrogating financial models) or legal (negotiating financing documentation). For me, that level of focus is what enables me to get things done properly in an environment that does not forgive error or complacency.

      However, this does not mean I am isolated. I get into the City on a regular basis to check on with people in my network - in fact, I plan my working week to allow this.

      I think the secret is in acknowledging that keeping in touch with colleagues, competitors and so forth, is part of anyone's workstream. When you are located in a bustling office, you do not consciously appreciate this as the people are "just there". By the same token, when some people find themselves working remotely, they forget or fail to recognise that social contact is part of what they do. Consequently, whilst they will allocate due time to finishing off that presentation for a prospective client, they do not allocate time to getting out to see people.

      For me, it works. When my schedule say "focus", I can do that to the best of my ability. When my schedule says "mingle", I get the train into the City and meet people for coffee, or whatever. Going to industry seminars or conferences works equally well.

      Working remotely is not a binary state; it can be the best of all possible worlds. It just needs a different perspective on time management.

    • I've never worked from a WeWork. I work from home and imagine a similar experience. In my mind, co-working spaces give the illusion of community, but rather they are the furthest from it. Just a stream of professionals coming and going. Though, it seems like WeWork is great for corporations looking to provide desks to traveling employees or to build-out satellite offices.

    • I'd love to hear from others who've actually worked remotely at WeWork offices

      At my last company we had a tiny office in the back of a lawyer's office building at the end of Van Ness in the Marina. Really nice family. They were willing to rent to us when we had no credit history and the business was less then one month old and we were all 25 or younger not sure what they were thinking honestly... they had a 500 square foot office (closet) for us in the back. Not sure if they ever found someone willing to rent it after us but it was perfect for a bootstrapped startup with a fuzzy business plan.

      After almost 5 years there we finally felt comfortable spending more than $1,200 a month on rent and splurged for a four person fishbowl office in the new 535 mission street building that went up next to the Sales Force tower. We had to call in a favor from a friend of a friend at WeWork to get the last open space they had, they sold out almost six floors right after opening.

      To this day it's still the nicest WeWork I've personally seen. When we moved in it was the first time in 8 years in SF where I felt like I was part of the tech scene and maybe we'd made it.

      All glass windows, tall ceilings, important looking security folks downstairs, they gave us fancy badges that beeped when we wanted to access the elevators, bike parking in the basement and a really fancy WeWork lobby on the 14th floor that always impressed our guests with 3-4 receptionists waiting when the elevators opened up, huge leather Restoration Hardware couches, ping pong tables, multiple beers and fancy coffee on tap that even @Vilen would drink. and tons of light, all glass windows everywhere.

      I hated having visitors at our last office, at our new WeWork we invited everyone including the company that acquired us. We'd book huge conference rooms with all glass views looking towards the bay and the new Transbay terminal that was being constructed. Our eventual acquirers loved the space and I knew it made a really good first impression, they probably took us more seriously...

      From a lean, bootstrapped business perspective I also really liked that we could cancel with one month's notice (unlike our previous minimum 1-2 year commitment) and they were willing to take our credit card for the security deposit (points!).

      We never really got to know the companies next to us. It's kind of weird because it was a fishbowl, I sat within 50 feet of probably 50+ humans for hours a day, knew what they looked like and never spoke to them ever. At one point our neighbors put up big white boards between our glass windows to block our view into theirs, I kind of liked it when they did that. I didn't always want to know that people could be watching me all day from either side.

      I would say that we (my two partners) never met most of the people around us because we didn't go to the happy hours or meet ups or those WeWork camping retreats. After building a business for several years (and there were a lot of companies on our floor we didn't really understand what they were doing) we just wanted to work hard during the day and go home to workout and relax. All the other perks that were suggested in the end didn't mean much to us.

      Still very thankful for that WeWork space. They had us as tenants for about 24 months in their glass house that is WeWork.

    • The news about WeWork keeps flowing fast & furiously and I haven't been able to make sense of it. Some reports say they will run out of money next month, some say the 2nd quarter of next year, some say Softbank's problem solver will save it with layoffs, bank debt and asset sales like the $65 million private jet they own.

      And then there are reports of the lavish lifestyles and all the mansions of the founding couple. It just seems incredible that one of the nation's hottest startups of just a few months ago is now getting talked about this way.

    • Seems to me a strategy is for Softbank to let this go to bankruptcy or basically close to it and then put money into it. I don't think WeWork should die but it's not a high growth opportunity.

      Based on my very loose recall of the S-1 of rental revenue vs lease expenses it should generate about $300MM in gross income right now... maybe it can generate a small profit but I think you could argue the business is worth $1.5B, 1x revenue, maybe Softbank puts in another $1.5B for another 50% stake at $3B post.

      Not sure the upside revenue on the current locations, perhaps with current facilities they can do $2B and generate 20% margins, so 2021 they might be worth 5x $400MM with steady growth upside from there?

      Unfortunately all the early employees will basically get wiped out and the founders will as well although they should. (I wonder if Adam Neumann ends up close to broke after he liquidates the buildings he borrowed against his stock to buy?)

      Perhaps of the $1.5B Softbank puts in they could allocate 20% of that to go towards employee bonuses especially to those who have been at the company and had their entire stakes wiped out that were probably worth millions before.

      (1) Cut all expenses except those to operate the current facilities

      (2) cut head count down to only those directly involved with the actual wework offices (minimal tech, marketing, etc etc)

      (3) maximize occupancy in current locations and generate positive cash flow. Cut locations that can't turn a profit, consolidate customers into nearby locations

      (4) Once cash flow positive start investing in buying real-estate to do build outs in strongest markets (NYC, SF etc)

      Just some napkin math and thoughts.

    • I don't think WeWork should die but it's not a high growth opportunity

      The Planet Money podcast from NPR did a show called Unicorn Cowboy (referring to Masayoshi Son, Softbank founder), last week that talked about Softbank's investing strategy:

      [Softbank's] notion was, hey, let's take the average venture capital financing, and let's increase it dramatically, and we're going to give the companies we invest in an unfair advantage.

      It seems like bailing them out from bankruptcy continues that philosophy. That would be the unfair advantage other VC firms would not offer.

    • It seems like bailing them out from bankruptcy continues that philosophy. That would be the unfair advantage other VC firms would not offer.

      yea, in the end softbank gave them the rope to do this to themselves and to protect a $10B write down they should probably put in another 10% to own 80%+?

      Not sure if wework ever becomes worth more then the $12B they'll have invested but maybe they can recover half in a few years.

    • As a defender of capitalism, moments like this really anger me. Mind you, whatever this episode describes it is certainly not capitalism. It's something else.

      Softbank really need to issue some sort of rationale for letting Neumann off with a pay out, when it is far more likely they should be suing him.

      Perhaps it is all about bodies, where they are buried, and who knows.

      All I know is that this gives the real capital markets business a bad name, and that can't be good. Like politics, we have to have confidence in our institutions. I'm British, so WeWork and Brexit at the same time is bashing my confidence just a little!

    • I honestly have no idea why Softbank is valuing it this much when there is no competition to keep it solvent. They're six weeks away from bankruptcy I'm literally dumbfounded that they basically didn't just let this go to chapter 11 or the brink of it and then they could basically own the whole thing for far less then they're putting in now.

      at first I was somewhat happy to see they're offering to buy 30% of the stake from all employees except that the $20 per share apparently leaves many employees underwater still... so this really only helps the early founders, employees... and investors to make a nice return. Don't sue and you get 30% paid.

      To me my only rationale for this is (a) Softbank is trying to save face and not have to write down the whole thing (look it's still worth $8B and we own 80% of $8B!) or ....

      (b) one has to wonder what Adam Neumann and Masayoshi Son were doing at their late night parties. I'm not even kidding part of me can only rationalize the buy out as a payoff to STFU about some things Son would rather we all not know about that might compromise him and vision fund. A tender to buy 30% of all shares sounds like a fair compromise until you think about the reality that this company would be dead broke before the end of the year.

      anyone else feel a little sick over this?

    • Yes.

      It seems like saving face is what Son has to do to raise his second mega-fund, the Vision Fund 2.0. I can only imagine what investment banks and Saudi oligarchs are saying to him after his pitch, "But what about WeWork?"

    • I would have thought that WeWork will damage the all in return on Soft Bank's current fund so badly that raising future money is out of the question.

    • He's determined, but investors have the same concerns we do:

      Son is still determined to go ahead with Vision Fund 2 even though some lieutenants have urged a delay, the two people with knowledge of SoftBank’s internal discussions told Reuters. But it is likely to be far smaller, at least at the outset, than the $108 billion that SoftBank said it had lined up when it announced the fund in July, these people said.

      Major investors have yet to sign on, leaving a $38 billion pledge from publicly traded SoftBank Group itself as the only large commitment, according to the sources. And the size of that pledge may itself be in doubt given some of the recent investment setbacks it has suffered and the lack of available cash on its balance sheet, according to a Reuters analysis.

    • I love this guy...

      "I can’t wrap my head around what happened at WeWork. It simply makes no sense. There has to be more to the story. Below is one (conspiracy) theory about the story of We. I have no evidence this happened, but also no evidence it didn’t. Regardless, it would make for an awesome Season 8 of Homeland. "