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WeWork创始人:巨额估值冲昏了我的头脑

WeWork创始人:巨额估值冲昏了我的头脑

王波非(Phil Wahba) 2021年11月11日
这家公司的前首席执行官在被罢免两年之后首次公开发声。

自从两年前被WeWork罢免之后,这家共享工作空间公司的联合创始人、前首席执行官亚当·诺伊曼首次公开发表评论。诺伊曼对许多员工的遭遇表示同情,他们的期权在WeWork的业务崩溃后变得一文不值,但他说这种风险其实不可避免。

“我从来没有想过让公司走向失败,这也不是他们当初入职的目的。”11月9日,诺伊曼在《纽约时报》DealBook峰会(New York Times DealBook Summit)上如此说道。他没有道歉。

WeWork于两周前通过一家特殊目的收购公司(SPAC)上市。2019年,在公司估值达到470亿美元的峰值后不久,IPO计划失败,随后公司裁员数千人。投资者质疑WeWork的商业模式和诺伊曼非传统的管理风格。现如今,WeWork的市值接近80亿美元。

“当你获得股权并尝试运行一家初创公司,你就在冒险。”诺伊曼说,“我希望每个人都能够有不同的结果。”在他自己的例子中,结果很好。诺伊曼在离开公司时带走了10亿美元,这一举动为他招致了很多批评。

至于他反复无常的管理风格——他承认,WeWork的巨额估值冲昏了他的头脑。但他表示,长期以来,他的方法似乎是正确的,而且得到了WeWork投资者的支持,其中最大的投资者便是软银(SoftBank)。“我在WeWork工作了9年。其中很长一段时间,起码有7年,都非常好。”诺伊曼称。他表示,WeWork迅速走向全球,为60种语言的市场服务,为谷歌(Google)、Facebook(现改名为Meta——编者注)和微软(Microsoft)等科技巨头建立办公空间业务。“当公司估值从470亿美元下降到90亿美元,而我却在公司走下坡路的时候赚得盆满钵满?其实这种看法是完全错误的。”他说。

而对于WeWork曾经因为其狂野文化(例如在工作场所大量饮酒和吸食大麻)而闻名的问题,诺伊曼的回答有些隐晦:“我们有一个有趣的文化。”

他还回应了一些老批评,即在他的管理下,WeWork涉嫌自我交易(即内部交易、自欺行为、谋私行为)和创造性会计(即伪造账目、取巧做账)。

诺伊曼否认存在自我交易,但表示存在“关联方交易”。他还回答了有关WeWork首创并使用过的“社区调整息税折旧摊销前利润”(community adjusted EBITDA)会计指标的问题。他表示,“社区调整息税折旧摊销前利润”是指个人实体空间扣除利息、税项、折旧和摊销后的收益。

诺伊曼说,他从WeWork的失败中学到的诸多教训之一就是:“在金融领域,无聊是最好的。”(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

自从两年前被WeWork罢免之后,这家共享工作空间公司的联合创始人、前首席执行官亚当·诺伊曼首次公开发表评论。诺伊曼对许多员工的遭遇表示同情,他们的期权在WeWork的业务崩溃后变得一文不值,但他说这种风险其实不可避免。

“我从来没有想过让公司走向失败,这也不是他们当初入职的目的。”11月9日,诺伊曼在《纽约时报》DealBook峰会(New York Times DealBook Summit)上如此说道。他没有道歉。

WeWork于两周前通过一家特殊目的收购公司(SPAC)上市。2019年,在公司估值达到470亿美元的峰值后不久,IPO计划失败,随后公司裁员数千人。投资者质疑WeWork的商业模式和诺伊曼非传统的管理风格。现如今,WeWork的市值接近80亿美元。

“当你获得股权并尝试运行一家初创公司,你就在冒险。”诺伊曼说,“我希望每个人都能够有不同的结果。”在他自己的例子中,结果很好。诺伊曼在离开公司时带走了10亿美元,这一举动为他招致了很多批评。

至于他反复无常的管理风格——他承认,WeWork的巨额估值冲昏了他的头脑。但他表示,长期以来,他的方法似乎是正确的,而且得到了WeWork投资者的支持,其中最大的投资者便是软银(SoftBank)。“我在WeWork工作了9年。其中很长一段时间,起码有7年,都非常好。”诺伊曼称。他表示,WeWork迅速走向全球,为60种语言的市场服务,为谷歌(Google)、Facebook(现改名为Meta——编者注)和微软(Microsoft)等科技巨头建立办公空间业务。“当公司估值从470亿美元下降到90亿美元,而我却在公司走下坡路的时候赚得盆满钵满?其实这种看法是完全错误的。”他说。

而对于WeWork曾经因为其狂野文化(例如在工作场所大量饮酒和吸食大麻)而闻名的问题,诺伊曼的回答有些隐晦:“我们有一个有趣的文化。”

他还回应了一些老批评,即在他的管理下,WeWork涉嫌自我交易(即内部交易、自欺行为、谋私行为)和创造性会计(即伪造账目、取巧做账)。

诺伊曼否认存在自我交易,但表示存在“关联方交易”。他还回答了有关WeWork首创并使用过的“社区调整息税折旧摊销前利润”(community adjusted EBITDA)会计指标的问题。他表示,“社区调整息税折旧摊销前利润”是指个人实体空间扣除利息、税项、折旧和摊销后的收益。

诺伊曼说,他从WeWork的失败中学到的诸多教训之一就是:“在金融领域,无聊是最好的。”(财富中文网)

编译:杨二一

In his first public comments since being ousted from WeWork two years ago, the shared work space company's co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann expressed sympathy for the many employees whose options became worthless when WeWork's business imploded but said that risk came with the territory.

"It was never my intention for the company not to succeed, and not what they signed up for," Neumann told the New York Times DealBook Summit on November 9 morning, stopping short of an apology.

WeWork, which went public two weeks ago via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), laid off thousands of employees after its IPO plans fizzled in 2019, not long after its valuation reached a peak $47 billion. Investors questioned the company's business model and the unorthodox management style of Neumann. (WeWork has a current market capitalization of nearly $8 billion.)

"When you take equity and you're trying a start-up, you take a risk," Neumann said. "I wish it would have worked out differently for everybody," he added. In his case, it turned out well, with him getting $1 billion on the way out, a move that earned him plenty of criticism.

As for his often erratic management style, he acknowledged that WeWork's mammoth valuation had gone to his head, but said his approach seemed the right one for a long time, one with the support of WeWork investors, the biggest of which was SoftBank. "For a long time—for seven years out of the nine I was there—it was working really well," said Neumann, pointing to how quickly WeWork had gone global and served markets in 60 languages, as well office space business from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft. "This perception that, as the company went from $47 billion valuation down to $9 billion, and I profited somehow while the company is going down, is completely false," he said.

Neumann skirted questions about WeWork's former reputation for having a wild culture that included lots of drinking and marijuana smoking in the workplace, saying only, "We had a fun culture."

The entrepreneur also addressed some old criticisms that under his management, WeWork engaged in self-dealing and creative accounting.

Neumann denied there was self-dealing, but said there were "related party transactions." He also responded to questions about an unusual accounting metric pioneered and previously used by WeWork called "community adjusted EBITDA," which he said was simply the adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of an individual physical space.

One of the many lessons he's learned from the WeWork debacle, he said, was that, "When it comes to finance, it's better to be boring."

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