Tags: wework | management | millennials | gen z

Millennial Worship Behind WeWork Mirage

Millennial Worship Behind WeWork Mirage
Adam Neumann Founder of WeWork speaks on stage at the WeWork San Francisco Creator Awards at Palace of Fine Arts on May 10, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Kelly Sullivan/Getty Images for the WeWork Creator Awards)

By Tuesday, 24 September 2019 12:08 PM Current | Bio | Archive

During a recent installment of the Goldman Sachs interview series, “Talks at GS,” Rosalind Brewer, COO of Starbucks, told the audience: “One of the things I realized is that you have to manage people the way they want to be managed.”

Seriously? How is that management?

It isn’t. It’s baloney. It’s a lie. Walk into any highly regimented Starbucks, and you’ll see the burned-out human robots at work.

Why did Brewer make such a ludicrous statement?

Simple: Corporate virtue-signaling, which has become the unfortunate norm these days.

I wrote about this phenomenon one month ago, in a column about 181 woke CEOs of the Business Roundtable professing a “new purpose” of the corporation, especially devotion to “community affairs” (translation: gun control and fighting climate change). In fact, the CEOs’ disingenuous ruse to deemphasize profits was a ploy to ameliorate Millennials and Gen-Zers.

Elliott Management, an investment firm, owns roughly $3 billion (1%) of AT&T stock. Elliott wants AT&T management to shape up or ship out, including dumping acquisitions DirecTV and TimeWarner. Elliott’s demands are about profits, profits, profits — not gun control and fighting climate change. Reality.

Enter WeWork.

WeWork, which lost $1.9 billion in 2018, provides ethereal office space for enlightened Millennials and Gen-Zers. The company rents office space (100 cities in 29 countries), typically in a skyscraper, then converts that space into a utopian dream and re-rents it to woke entrepreneurs. The company’s promise:

“Give our members flexible access to beautiful spaces, a culture of inclusivity, and the energy of an inspired community, all connected by our extensive technology infrastructure. We believe our company has the power to elevate how people work, live, and grow."

Reality Newsflash: An entrepreneur should rent the cheapest space he can find and scrimp, scrape, and survive on Spartan amenities until the company becomes viable and profitable. Comfort then grows with the bottom line.

But, that rarely happens in the modern, cushy world. Millennials and Gen-Zers, many of whom still live with their parents, bristle at the hardships of the real world — and, therefore, are rarely forced to experience them.

WeWork is an extension of Mom & Dad’s home, not a business. That’s why an unproven entrepreneur cannot afford WeWork’s utopian dream.

WeWork’s IPO, consequently, is in dire jeopardy. It has been postponed from this month, as the company’s value has tanked in the past few weeks from $50 billion (based on what?) to $20 billion (based on what?).

Now, Masayoshi Son, CEO of Softbank, WeWork’s largest investor, wants Adam Neumann, WeWork’s embattled CEO, to leave — because of his alleged eccentric behavior and drug use.

The question is, why are WeWork’s investors waking up now? Neumann’s erratic behavior isn’t new.

Answer: Neumann didn’t and can’t deliver profits.

WeWork’s business model, which violates all economic principles, has been exposed publicly because of the delayed IPO. The model doesn’t work and was obviously flawed when investors, including SoftBank, funded this mirage.

So, why did they fund it?

The inexplicable, pathological, universal worship of Millennials and Gen-Zers. This is now a worldwide disease, invented in America. The gullible investors, otherwise pretty savvy, evidently believe that whatever these overgrown tikes do and say is golden.

But, if companies like Google will terminate a $250-million project for the U.S. military, because their young employees didn’t like it, yet perform the same kind of work for the Chinese military, they’ll do almost anything to mollify the Millennial Mob.

Perhaps the adults should revisit what it means to be an adult.

Managing people the way they want to be managed is the epitome of silliness: it can render managers useless and kill a company. The idea is a politically correct hoax, and corporate executives must stop uttering it.

Millennial worship hurts companies by leading them down unprofitable rabbit holes. And, it especially hurts Millennials — because they’ll never grow up. Then what? Who will raise and manage the next generation? Robots?

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Perhaps the adults should revisit what it means to be an adult.
wework, management, millennials, gen z
Tuesday, 24 September 2019 12:08 PM
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