I have learned how to become a billionaire while wasting $20 billion in a worthless concept.
Step 1: Create a Gig Company Business Plan
Step 2: Write yourself a great CEO contract
Step 3: Find a Clueless Investment Company with Tons of Idle Cash
The above formula worked out great for Adam Neumann, founder and ex CEO and of the company known as We Work.
Neumann took an old, marginally profitable business known as temporary office space, (such as Regus, Carr Workplaces) added the pixie dust of calling it a Gig Concept (think, OfficeAirBnB) and voila! A company worth $17 BILLION!
Neumann wrote himself a contract in which he got paid $2B no matter how bad the company performed. Then he floated his inherently flawed concept to some hedge fund Super Geniuses.
The venture capital industry, still creaming their drawers over the profits they had received from AirBnB, Uber, and like Gig players, jumped to invest $780 million (!) in cold, hard, cash in this looming train wreck. Upon initial investment, WeWork was worth an astounding $17 billion. ((At once point, this flea ridden carcass of a company was valued at $47 billion!)
To put that in perspective, that’s how much our government spends on congressional junkets per month. Also, how much the computer company Hewlett Packard is worth. And HP actually makes stuff, and has for 50 years.
The lesson here is it can be worth more to create unmerited value before you have a product or service, than to actually provide them. Clearly Adam Neumann is a genius in wealth creation through liberal dispensation of organic growth enhancer, (popularly known as bullshit).
How am I so sure the concept was a failure before the first check cleared? The idea is to borrow spare office space, then put in furniture, and rent online. Voila! AirOfficeNB. The flaw in this is that owners of office space are not going to just keep it in hopes it will rent occasionally, like home owners. And you have to provide FURNISHED office space, with wifi, etc. To ensure that, the company itself had to lease the space for years, fix it up (at great expense), then rent it for as little as a day. You can’t just borrow the space from a random owner who wants to make a few bucks on the side. And you rent to start ups, and other non credit worthy customers. Buy long, rent short to potential dead beats. Anyone see a problem here?
Well, the apparently intellectually challenged folks at SoftBank were still mesmerized by the outrageous profits being racked up in the Gig economy. Eventually, they would go on to invest $18.5 billion in this inherently lousy business model, which the existing participants could have told them was marginal at best. They may have to invest another $1.5 billion to get rid of their co investors, of which $500M goes to Adam Neumann. Who already has gotten $1.7 billion, for his ability to enrich himself and impoverish naïve hedge funds.
The man is a grifter of epic proportions. Did he learn at the Bernie Madoff School?
So, my plan is to create a business called AirBikesnB. Owners of bicycles can rent them to people who need a bike for a day or a month, or whatever. Renting bicycles is a lousy little business. But I bet I can raise $500 million, at a valuation of $aZILLION, from the same nimrods who blew $18.5 billion on WeWork. I get paid $1 billion, even if the business sucks and we blow billions of dollars.
Want to sign up for the IPO? Send passcodes to your bitcoin account for $100M to firstname.lastname@example.org. I can be found somewhere in the Caymans, should anything go awry.