Larger Than Life Ex-CEO Refuses To Be Burdened By "Paddling Out"

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Larger Than Life Ex-CEO Refuses To Be Burdened By “Paddling Out”

Using a jet ski to navigate the mammoth walls of Montauk.

elsewhere // Jul 19, 2021
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Adam Neumann is not your typical billionaire surfer.

His co-founded start-up WeWork caught fire in 2010 and recklessly burned through healthy investments until 2019. WeWork is a shared workspace company that developed a brilliant concept but struggled to thrive because of its poor management.

According to The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion, a book written by Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell about the absurdities of the company and its co-founder, Neumann’s loose lifestyle of trashing private jets, excessive drug use, and physically abandoning employees counteracted the business’s chance for success. 

And don’t forget his most heinous social crime of all, which was the complete neglect for proper surf etiquette .  According to the NY Post:

For example, he became obsessed with surfing, but found it a hassle to get to the big waves. “The way I surf, I don’t have time for paddling,” he told a colleague. Instead, he would hop on a chauffeured Jet Ski. As the book puts it, “Most surfers consider [this] cheating—like a mountain climber hopping a ride on a helicopter most of the way up.”

Some surf spots in Hawaii even forbid the practice, but Adam would hire local surf coaches who knew how to skirt regulations.

After raging all night and sleeping through a multi-billion-dollar company valuation, Neumann willingly left the company with $192 million in cash, as well as a revised stock award of around $245 million and permission to sell more than $500 million in WeWork stock. Unfortunately, his once $10 billion net worth plummeted to $1 billion (insert sad face emoji).

According to the authors, not all was lost for our hotshot surfer pal, the one that at one point invested $13 million into Wavegarden technologies:

As Adam spends his days surfing in Montauk, the authors write, “His squad was mostly gone, but he wasn’t completely alone. He was still paying someone to tug him out to the waves on the back of a Jet Ski.”

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