The downfall of a utopian dream.
The Hulu WeWork documentary (full title WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn) highlights the rise and fall of what was once considered the business world's Next Big Thing.
For the uninitiated, WeWork is a real estate company that sells co-working spaces to would-be entrepreneurs in major cities. It was founded by Adam Neumann, a charismatic leader who was raised on a commune in Israel. His hope, or so he said, was to transform society by applying the principles of a commune to the office space.
Eventually, WeWork branched out into co-living spaces called WeLive and even schools called WeGrow with the help of Adam's wife Rebecca.
As the documentary shows, he maintained a cult-like following as he hosted seminars and summer camps for the people who lived and worked under the WeWork company.
Despite his ability to hook people in and provide a narrative that his operation would transform society as we know it, his company was overvalued and never profitable. WeWork was growing rapidly and accepting investments in the amount of billions of dollars even while they were deceiving people by inflating figures about the company's profitability
One man's unfounded hallucination that he was a god-like figure who could transform the world with his company was not only tolerated by those involved but actively encouraged by a system that rewarded such narcissism.
When the dust settled and Adam was forced out of the company, he left relatively unscathed, still a wealthy man with hundreds of millions in assets.
Hulu's WeWork documentary does a fine job at telling the story of Adam's rise and fall, ultimately calling into question whether a commune-style business of “we” can truly be profitable in the capitalistic world of “I” that is built to overlook the failures of men like Adam Neumann.
Where to stream: Hulu
Best for: Fans of docs about Fyre Festival or Elizabeth Holmes
Shall I Stream It? Yup.
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