I consider it part of my job at GCUC to identify and highlight up-and-coming coworking brands and leaders. In 2011, I called Adam Neumann of WeWork and invited him to come to Austin for the very first GCUC conference. He agreed and came to Link Coworking (my brand, which I have since sold) in Austin.
We looked at some real estate together, spent time in Austin, and they flew me up to New York to explore working for WeWork and selling them my brand and conference.
I didn’t do it.
It felt like I was selling my soul and it was way too early to sell the brands—they were too new.
In addition, Adam couldn’t explain the model in a way that made sense to me long term. I felt like I would be doing a deal with the devil and that Adam would eventually make hundreds of millions and peace out to Israel.
I’ve stood by my decision ever since.
Adam was beyond cocky, he was self-assured in a way you don’t normally see in this world. He also had a cunning smile and quick wit. He was captivating and intimidating in stature and dynamic.
I sat in his office while he negotiated a real estate deal. I’m a damn good negotiator but he was amazing. He had the world by the tail and lost hold of it. He had the opportunity to make something great and, sadly, we are just starting to see some of the cracks.
There will be more.
As a human, I worry that he will sink into addiction, but I sure hope not. I also wonder if he has it in him to make a comeback. Only time will tell.
The real estate industry was ripe for a disruption that put the people’s needs before the landlords.
Coworking is that disruption.
We’ve always said that we owe a debt of gratitude to WeWork for identifying as coworking. Their marketing engine has made the term known across the globe. At one point I read that WeWork spends around $1200 in digital marketing for every lead that walks in the door.
Based off my social feed alone, I bet it was more.
The good news is that everyone understands now what coworking is and, with just a little bit of research, they can see the projected growth is off the charts. Smart investors will look at the balance sheet, get to know the good operators, and back them in ways they could only have dreamed of.
The market is ripe for the next Convene or Industrious (whose founders have also been GCUC speakers) to rise up.
Stop thinking small, my coworking friends. It’s time to double down and grow like crazy.
Investors will temporarily balk at coworking for obvious reasons. Landlords will choose not to lease to WeWork because they’re scared they will fail.
This is probably a good thing for WeWork. If I were WeWork, I would cease growth and peel it back to basics and get really good at managing space and keeping clients.
In the meantime, developers, real estate companies and pretty much everyone will come out with a coworking brand and the money will follow.
Most people don’t realize that the vast majority of coworking spaces are run by small business (see The Instant Group research)
Coworking will thrive.
Coworking will beat all the growth projections.
I believe coworking will be more than 25% of the market by 2025 thanks to the speed of business and innovation.
Folks, this is the fourth industrial revolution. It’s not AI, IOT or the robots—it’s the changing nature of work.
Welcome to the Human Revolution.