WeWorked, Until It Didn’t

As WeWork plummets, Adam Neumann is on the comeback tour

Stephen Moore
6 min readMay 3, 2023
Image: Badly edited by author

“The We Company’s guiding mission will be to elevate the world’s consciousness.”

Those were actual words written in WeWork’s S-1 filing that not only derailed the company’s splashy IPO, but triggered the domino collapse that resulted in founder Adam Neumann being removed and billions of value being wiped out almost overnight. It marked the end of a spectacular tale of startup boom and bust, venture capital greed and uncontrollable egos.

For a quick recap, Adam Neumann created WeWork, his co-working company (sorry, a “tech” company) that eventually hit a peak valuation of $47 billion. The extraordinary figure was thanks to three factors:

  1. Moving at breakneck speed and burning through cash to suck up buildings and properties — often taking them on long-term leases at inflated prices — it attempted to grow so big it couldn’t fail.
  2. WeWork framed its business as a tech business to capitalize on the frothy market, pointing to its service offerings and data collected on its member’s work habits as proof. It somehow worked.
  3. The now-infamous investments by SoftBank, which spiked WeWork’s valuation, but also spiked Adam Neumann’s ego, and all but set off the downfall.



Stephen Moore

Writer, editor, part-time furniture maker. Subscribe to Trend Mill for critical takes on our dystopian metaverse hellscape future - https://www.trend-mill.com