Jack Ma’s Disappearance, WeWork’s I.P.O., and the Elon Exodus

Jack Ma
Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
William D. Cohan
October 10, 2021

Since I began writing my column for Puck, I’ve been inundated with feedback about Wall Street’s biggest characters and concerns. I’ll be engaging with some of those questions here—in addition to a few observations of my own.

WeWork hit $228 million in revenue in September, its highest level this year, and occupancy rates are up to 60 percent ahead of its listing on the NYSE (via a SPAC merger with BowX Acquisition Corp). Has Adam Neumann been vindicated?

Vindicated is not the word I would use. Neumann’s legacy is written in the pages of the excellent The Cult of We, the recent book by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell. There’s no changing that. He’s a complete self-indulgent narcissist who, despite all the WeWork detritus strewn across the Wall Street landscape, managed to walk out the door with $1.1 billion, or so, in his pocket. A venture-capitalist who read the book told Farrell that WeWork was like Theranos minus the alleged crimes: also, Neumann walked out the door with a lot more money than when he came in.