The WeWork documentary is out - only watch if you need extra reality checks about the world today

Totally unplanned, this past weekend I had a mini marathon of watching highly cringy documentaries, and the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn was no less disturbing than Seaspiracy or Human Nature (highly recommend the latter one for slow viewing).

The news of the demise of this fake tech company which was in fact a real estate company came in already a couple of years ago, but what the documentary does is showing you the granularity of it, the unfolding of events through the eyes of the core people deceived by it all. The face of impostors and greedy people, and of course the ruthless face of the capitalism. Like @johncoate put it back when the news first break out back in the day:

how did this guy convince the head of Softbank to invest so much money? He must be a gifted bullshitter. And it’s the greed pheromone, so seductive.

To me, it was even more touching because it was in 2012 that we started edgeryders with a similar understanding of our Y Generational quest for work with meaning, for community and collaboration. To see how these concepts mean almost nothing else today because they were so abused by the likes of those above, is deeply saddening.


In the quest for more money some will co-opt anything, especially good feeling things like community and cooperation. Wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Found this review about the movie

What do you think?

How does edgeryders stick to its quest?

1 Like

I just watched it. Too many impressions to summarize yet. It is a kind of ultimate cautionary tale. One of those cautions is, if you hear someone who in their talk or whatever suggests that capitalism and spirituality are fully reconcilable, run as fast as you can away from there.

Soon enough it leads to what one of the people interviewed said, “at some point you begin to believe your own bullshit.” That is a phrase I have used in one context or another for 25 years. I can hardly think of a better example of it than what is presented in this film.

One clarifying moment was when a wework lawyer is at one of their big showy binge-drinking summer partyfests, an older hired usher there says to him, “let me ask you a serious question. Is this some sort of cult?” Sometimes the humble outsider is the one who sees through it all.

One thing that bothers me overall about the situation as it sits now, is a kind of smugness that the capitalists system will always right itself and carry on. But one thing the film points out is how much psychic (and economic) carnage resulted from enticing so many true believers and then leaving them with nothing but a hollowed out shell of what they believed was their emerging reality of a better and more friendly, secure world. Meanwhile the charismatic founder and his wife, pocket many millions and go to one of their many houses in places like the Hamptons where everyone is super rich (I have been there…) and plot their next “world changing” project. Cult indeed. Good luck with your next batch of suckers.

1 Like

Hi @xaver, hope you are well! I am slower in answering these days, apologies.
I can only speak from a personal perspective: I worked very hard for that and enjoyed being able to share work on different projects with people across the world. Collaborating with a sense of autonomy and freedom that a community setup gives you has its perks, but also many difficulties, so like everything, ups and downs.

In the case of WeWork, I think they took more the startup story and that one I really am not a fan of! more on this if needed but I think the doc speaks for itself :slight_smile:

The problem is that no one really pays for this…
Too often these failed startup stories don’t have any redemption or cost paid by people who did wrong… that’s heartbreaking. Beyond that, no analysis is ever gonna give you anything but bitterness. The Fyre Festival story (similar documentary!) was another one of those, the exception being that you can’t really be so sorry for all the rich kids. Bleah.

Remember “greed is good” from the movie Wall Street? Many still believe it and live their lives accordingly.

The kicker line from the film: “now you know what refugees go through every day” - a comment from one of the festival scammers-in-chief to entitled brats :laughing:

Jokes aside, there are always humans who will engage in this kind of scam.

At the Plantin-Moretus house, a museum dedicated to a family of book dealers and printers in medieval Antwerp, one piece particularly caught my attention:

In terms of sticking to the quest @xaver , I think the initial function was to create space for discussing and making sense of what was happening - one that allows for a range of different responses to the “ok, so what now?” questions. These things move in cycles of searching, listening and pathfinding/experimentation.

Right now, that cycle has kicked off again with Witness.

“there’s no business like God-business”

The last time I was in New York with UNDP, I was presenting SSNA as a candidate tool for their new network of acceleration labs (if memory serves). One of my fellow presenter was a guy from WeWork. He had the idea of having clients of WeWork (users of the co-working spaces) do small videos, that would yield ethnographic insights to make the space better. I remember raising my eyebrow, because that is a VERY expensive way to gather data.

He then was recruited by Goldman Sachs. The whiff of BS was distinct.

Well said. It is saddening indeed.

1 Like

Indeed it is. But for me it is one point in a long chain of seeing peoples’ best values and highest aspirations coopted by greed clothed in appealing rhetoric that reduces them into cheap slogans.

Also massive amounts of alcohol, such as they imbibed at those camps didn’t do much for their collective intelligence.

1 Like