Have you been following much of the coverage of the absolutely bonkers securities registration statement that WeWork filed for its initial public offering? I’ve included a few links during the week, but in case you missed it, some of the highlights are that the company leases and pays rent on buildings owned by CEO Adam Neumann, while at the same time the company was occasionally lending him large sums via low interest loans, sometimes related to large stock grants from the company to the CEO (though he is not paid a salary). The real topper is that when the company earlier this year decided to change its legal name to just the We Company, it had to pay $6 million to license the name from another trademark holder. Who was that? An entity called We Holdings owned by Neumann and other WeWork founders.
And while the articles about the filing have been fabulous, the tweets have been insane. A couple that caught my eye were Tom Goodwin on the name licensing trick (“Somewhere Madoff and Elizabeth Holmes are angry they missed a trick.”) and Bloomberg’s Shira Ovide on the renting bit (“I have only read the related party section in the WeWork IPO filing so far, and I am not kidding that it is THE MOST BANANAS THING I HAVE EVER READ.”) Our own Rey Mashayekhi summed it up nicely:
“It’s not hard to see where Neumann gets his confidence and self-belief from. In a little over a decade, the WeWork co-founder and CEO has transformed himself from a 20-something failed baby clothes entrepreneur into the 40-year-old head of a company that—despite continuing to post prolific losses (nearly $690 million in the first six months of 2019 alone)—has shaken the commercial real estate industry to its core.”
“Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it,” is something Mark Twain actually did say (though the quip was coined by his friend and fellow novelist Charles Dudley Warner). Nowadays, everybody complains about their work phone and maybe Apple is going to do something about it.
I’m talking about the two phone dance. I have two phones. My wife has two phones. Many friends have two phones. Many of you have two phones, I would wager. The reason is the modern corporate security tool known as Mobile Device Management, or MDM. Companies can limit what apps you can install, see what you do, and, of course, remotely wipe your phone. Plus there is the whole complicated mess of using one Apple ID for your personal and work stuff (please, please don’t add the photos from that long, boring presentation I covered for work to my home slide shows, iPhone).
Now help is on the way. Though it didn’t get any airtime at Apple’s WWDC keynote address back in June, the iPhone maker has some new features coming in iOS 13 that could change things. The big one is offering a modified MDM system called user enrollment that will let us and our employers segment a single phone into separate sections for work and personal use. If you bring your own device and your company decides to support the new way of doing things, you’ll be able to do what you want on your side and your company will only be able to mess with (and erase) the corporate side. Apple is also extending its managed Apple ID feature from schools to companies, so you won’t have use your personal sign in for all your work stuff. Apps will belong to one side or the other (though you’ll have dual usage for notes and files). Sounds pretty good to me.
On Twitter: @ampressman
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