The One With All The Money
What happens after the S-1 statement is released?
Episode 8 of WeCrashed begins this finale with the WeWork offices scrambling after the S-1 statement. Several of the workers are incredibly concerned and head off to see Rebekah and Adam, broaching the subject carefully about how concerned the investors and those on Wall Street are. The investors are losing confidence in the IPO and even worse, news of the late-night frat parties are spreading like wildfire.
Adam shrugs it off as a bit of bad press but Bruce explains to him that WeWork is about to become a public company. This is no longer a matter of following Adam’s charismatic words, the evidence is stacked against this man and everything is about to come crashing down. The media is not falling for his glitzy, glamorous façade anymore.
How does Adam’s fallout begin?
On Wednesday September 18th 2019, the news run with a story that Adam is about to destroy WeWork. The only solution here, and the only viable way to try and save the company, is to take Adam and boot him out. The board of directors vote on it too. When Rebekah finds out, she brings in all of her lawyers and tries to stop this.
Now, there is a clause in their contract that allows them to do a “supervote” which essentially grants them more power over everyone else on the board. Rebekah contemplates whether they should just get rid of the board of directors completely and make their own board of yes men. That’s something that’s not going to do well and it’s only exacerbated by those same lawyers warning of a big legal fight if they’re not careful.
When Adam and Rebekah head back to the office, they don’t have the same presence and energy to move the crowd. Their employees are angry and upset over the promise of an IPO that’s no longer going to come to fruition. Even Bruce is angry, and given he used to be one of Adam’s most vocal supporters, that’s quite the change.
Jamie gives Adam the sobering reality of it all, pointing out that he is his own worst enemy. Given he’s still appointed as CEO, no one is going to buy the stocks.
Does Adam step down as CEO?
With Adam’s life spiralling out of control, he catches up with Miguel in the quiet recesses of the late night. No big parties, no fanfare; just two co-founders talking about the company they made. Miguel points out that Adam doesn’t deserve this but his kind attitude is enough for Adam to do the right thing and step down as CEO.
Over at the offices, news of this spreads, as does word that Bea has been accepted to Harvard Business School. Her admission essay was actually about WeWork and how not to start a business, in an ironic twist of fate.
At WeWork, Cameron is now the new CEO and he smashes the workers hard, encouraging them to put down Adam’s childish fantasies about saving the world. He tells them to embrace hard work and double down on the idea that this is a shared community space. Y’know, what this company was actually designed for!
Does Cameron change WeWork’s fortunes?
Two days later, the company faces another big crisis. They’re still bleeding money despite offing most of the big assets. Layoffs are not going to work, given severance pay would need to be dished out and WeWork can’t even afford that.
Most of the big problems here stem from the fact Adam agreed to an accelerate expansion out of the IPO just prior to him stepping down. He’s locked the company into contracts to double the size of WeWork and in doing so, is on the verge of finding investors coming down hard on him.
How does Adam get away with a massive payout?
Investment seems to be a no-go either. Although Adam has stepped down as CEO, he still holds the majority shares to vote at the company, meaning no one is going to offer up a cash injection while that’s still in place.
It would appear that Adam’s goal here is to paly a dangerous game of chicken with Masa. Masa himself is looking to expand his own business portfolio, and some of that rests on WeWork being a success. Or at least a functional business that doesn’t completely crash like it’s about to.
In the middle of the night, Masa blinks first and phones Adam, offering to pay him 500 million for him to sell his shares. Adam refuses. However, he does get a massive windfall, or a “golden parachute” as the news calls it when he renegotiates a different rate. Adam gets to ride away into the sunset with stacks of cash while SoftBank takes 80% of the company’s shares.
How does WeCrashed Season 1 end?
At the Dead Sea in Israel, Rebekah receives an email regarding her K-12 curriculum for her WeGrow program. It’s going to go ahead after all. However, Masa rings and asks a simple question. “Who wins in a fight, the smart one or the crazy one?” This is a trick question though. The real winner is that one with all the money and Masa promises that there’s no way Adam is going to get his buyout. “Next time we speak, it’ll be through our lawyers.” He promises and hangs up.
As the episode closes out, we learn that WeWork actually did go public but at a valuation of $9 billion instead. Unfortunately those in the dirt are the lowly employees, who were left with nothing while Adam rides off with a good deal of money and the ability to invest in a new company.
The Episode Review
A fitting end for Rebekah and Adam is mired slightly by realizing that when it comes to capitalism, rich people always come out on top. Despite running WeWork into the ground, Adam lands on his feet and even manages to invest in another company. It’s crazy to think that a lot of the employees were left with nothing, and while the company has actually gone public, it’s nowhere near the behemoth it was promised to be.
WeCrashed has been overlong though, there’s no getting around that. The show could easily have been cut down by a good 3 or 4 episodes and some of these chapters have just meandered on unnecessarily.
Having said that, the past few episodes have been pretty good and seeing WeWork’s downfall (and more specifically Adam’s fall from the hierarchy) has actually been quite satisfying to watch. These aren’t nice people and seeing these narcissists getting their just desserts (even if it is only for a little while) makes for a compelling watch. Either way though, WeCrashed bows out with a sobering reminder that rich people, unfortunately, will always fall on their feet.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|