The WeWork model and collaboration generation
“Neumann says his mission is to transform the workplace for what he calls the “We Generation,” providing his tenants—or rather, “members”—with all the bandwidth, printer toner, and (yes) beer they need, so they can concentrate on the parts of their jobs they enjoy. Neumann says he is not just providing space and office supplies, but “building a community of creators” that “inspires people to do what they love.” WeWork also offers valuable benefits like access to a group health insurance plan, and its app doubles as an online social network, where members post inspirational quotes, trade tips about the best barbecue in Austin, and seek professional help. (“Is there anyone who is a notary here?”) Each office location has a “community manager” who programs events: book clubs, Ping-Pong tournaments, yoga and meditation classes, technology talks, life coaching sessions, Easter egg hunts, wine tastings, and movie, salsa, and trivia nights.
That’s the intangible spirit, Neumann says, that distinguishes WeWork from a grubby real estate business. “I think there’s been a fundamental shift in expectations,” says Bruce Dunlevie, a founding partner of Benchmark Capital, the powerful Silicon Valley firm that invested early in the company. “Today’s 23-year-old in a decade will be a 33-year-old, and I don’t think they’re going to want to go back to the old model. They will have derived utility and created a habit around a WeWork-style workplace.” (…)
WeWork has toyed with that approach, but owning buildings runs contrary to its strategic positioning. The company’s valuation is based on the perception that its model is less akin to an office landlord than a sharing-economy startup like Uber or Airbnb. “Buying real estate is slow,” Neumann says. “We are an asset-light business.” Michael Gross, WeWork’s chief financial officer, used to work for a boutique hotel chain and says WeWork functions along similar lines, selling atmosphere and service. “We’re truly building a global network and a global community of entrepreneurs,” Gross says. “Space is one piece.” (…)
It’s difficult to make personal connections when working in isolation, which is why so many people find it difficult to leave their familiar office environments. “We are all tribal in our heart,” Neumann says.”
The Kanye Manifesto
“When I was working at the Gap at 15, I don't think I had any desire to actually make clothes, but I always felt like that's what I wanted to be around. I loved the fabrics, I loved the colors, I loved the proportions. Abercrombie was too expensive for me and the Gap was too expensive for me. Even though I worked at the Gap, I didn't get enough hours to get a discount because I was a part-time employee, because I went to high school. At that time I focused mostly on painting and basketball, but then I took two steps away from my potential career as an artist. I had scholarships to Saint Xavier, the Art Institute of Chicago -- I went to the American Academy of Art on an arts scholarship, but I stepped back from that to paint in a different way. I chose to paint sonically. To chop samples in a Warhol-type way. I just looked at civilization: I'd have an assignment to do an ink drawing that took me two weeks, three weeks, and I'd show it to my friends and they'd say, "Cool. My friend can draw. Now let's go play ball. Let's go downtown and talk to some girls." But when I'd work on a track, I'd work on it for just that afternoon -- chop up a sample, put some drums to it. And if my friends liked it, we'd make a tape of it and play it all the way downtown. We'd listen to it all night, keep rewinding it. I made a decision at that point to focus on painting with sound instead of painting visually. I loved music. I loved it more than I love it now. But I think that can happen with anything. You can live in New York for 10 years and say, "I now want to move to San Francisco." It's just harder for me to do music now, period. It's easier for people who focus on it all day and who are younger in their concept of what they want to do with it. I am not what I would consider truly a musician. I am an inventor. I am an innovator.
Graduation was an innovation. 808s & Heartbreak was an innovation. The song "Niggas in Paris" was an innovation. "Only One" was an innovation. "FourFiveSeconds" was an innovation. I care about innovating. I don't care about capitalizing off of something that we've seen or heard a thousand times. I'm not a capitalist in that way. I'm an innovator. That's my job. I like two things: I like innovating and I like making things better. It's not that I always have to invent things that are new. Sometimes I can take something that's there and attempt to make a better version and that's what gets me off. Bottom line."
The silicon valley of yogurt
Sitting in his small office, surrounded by photos of dairy farms, Ulukaya says he worries most that he or his employees could forget how they succeeded in the first place. “We focus on the one cup of yogurt,” he says. “We stayed close to the plant. We are very good food manufacturers—that’s who we are. We are makers.” He gathered key staffers a while back to emphasize this point. He told them that if they detected unwelcome changes in him, they had his permission to punch him in the face. “I was serious,” he says.
The meshing of Under Armour
“To do that, I turned to my network. (…)
I positioned wearing it as a tool to help them rather than a favor to me. (…)
When you deal with products for which endorsements are important, you have to make decisions like that all the time. When is it worthwhile to give away your product, and when do you stand your ground and demand a fair price? As Under Armour grew, that calculation became even more difficult. (…)
Today our most prominent athlete is Tom Brady, the Patriots quarterback, whom we signed in November 2010. We’ve never disclosed how much we pay him, but Tom’s deal is unique in that it includes equity in the company. It’s a great arrangement, because I want our biggest partners rooting for Under Armour. One day last summer our stock took a pounding, and I received a text from Tom: “What’s up with the stock? I’m buying more tonight.” That’s exactly what I want—an athlete who has truly bought into our success. (…)
These athletes have everybody in the world coming after them. Your job is to break through the clutter and the noise and show them why your brand would be a good fit. (…)
When the NBA locked out last summer, Brandon didn’t feel like going home to LA, so we offered him an internship. He had an office at our Baltimore headquarters. He worked out here and ate in the dining hall. His official title was Curator of Cool. He hung out with our designers. A guy like that helped them come up with new ideas. (…)
A successful endorsement should facilitate a conversation between the brand and the athlete and between the athlete and the consumer.”