WeWork needs a new plan to address its business issues

By Angel Gutierrez

If your house had no windows, faulty wiring, and a bad foundation, what’s the first step you would take to fix it? Would you decide to repaint the house, or would you go to work fixing the essential problems first?

The answer’s obvious. But in the business world, many companies face deep foundational issues, yet nonetheless, devote their focus to cosmetics. It’s a common mistake that has spelled ruin for many promising businesses.

Could WeWork be next?

If you’re unfamiliar, WeWork is perhaps the top co-working company in the country (co-working meaning an office space where companies, usually startups, share common spaces and amenities). They’re expanding everywhere, and have recently announced a new Palo Alto location here in California.

The company hit the scene at just the right time when it was founded in 2011 – real estate was cheap due to the economic downturn, and the hip millennial business craze was in full flight across the country.

Over the last eight years, WeWork has matured from a trendy startup into a $47 billion dollar company, according to Fast Money. But as the company has grown, they’ve opened themselves up to new problems.

For starters, WeWork has a spending problem – a big one. According to Recode, last year, “[WeWork’s] net loss was $723 million in the first half of the year on about $764 million of revenue.” This wasn’t a one-off; the company has a pattern of money going in and out at just about the same rate.

That’s probably fine today while the economy is hot. But in the event of another downturn, such a small amount of cash-on-hand could be a real problem.

WeWork’s also come into some ethical dilemmas lately that threaten their reputation as a socially-conscious 21st-century company. For instance, it’s no secret that WeWork takes heavy investments from Softbank, a Japanese company that’s bankrolled by the Saudi government – especially problematic given the kingdom’s human rights violations.

Not to mention, WeWork’s also taken heat for their poor response to sexual harassment allegations and for firing cleaning staff who asked for a pay raise.

So far, WeWork has not done much to address the problems themselves. Rather, they’ve embarked on a new expansion and rebranding effort. They now operate under an umbrella brand called “the we company” and are launching new business ventures in the education and housing spaces.

Launching a new rebrand and expansion isn’t a bad thing. But if this is WeWork’s only solution to poor financial management and problematic ethical situations, then it’s not the right move.

Not to mention, the rebrand itself has raised some eyebrows. By calling itself “we,” WeWork is mirroring the name of a well-established Canadian charity called the WE Organization. The WE Organization has been around for over two decades, and in that time has made a mark around the world for their philanthropic efforts. Furthermore, the charity is involved in many of the same sectors as WeWork.

It’s one thing to change your company’s name, but when you're using a similar brand as a nonprofit that is involved in the same sectors, it's certainly not the most ideal look for the millennial-driven company.

Bottom line: WeWork’s effort to rebrand itself and grow as a business is fine. However, it is not the sole path to solving the true problems facing the company. WeWork has a lot of potential as it expands in California. If the company can solve its internal flaws, there is no doubt that WeWork will achieve even greater success.

Angel Gutierrez is the President/CEO of Crescent College.

Letter to the Editor: American Legion's 100th birthday

Dear Editor:

On Thursday, March 14, the American Legion Post 270 and the City of Downey celebrated the 100th anniversary of the American Legion at city hall.

I want to thank David Niemeyer and his band from Warren High School for playing the National Anthem. I would also like to thank the mayor's veterans sub-committee for their support and input with this celebration.

I would also thank Jason Chacon and the rest of Parks & Recreation staff for their assistance in seeing this come to fruition. And special thanks to Montebello Post 272 Honor Guard for posting the colors. Thanks also to my fellow veterans who attended this celebration.

Finally, thanks go to our Mayor Rick Rodriguez and his staff for his support.

Ray Gard
Post Commander
Post 270
Downey

Ian Smith

October 10, 1950 - March 11, 2019

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Ian Smith was born in Westminster, British Columbia, Canada to Gwen and Cecil Smith on October 19, 1950. He and his sister Diana enjoyed playing in the forest which surrounded their home in West Vancouver. Ian’s family moved to Downey in 1965 and Ian attended Griffiths Middle School and Warren High School where he was on the swim team and was Student Body President.

Ian received a Masters Degree in Student Personal and Guidance at Oklahoma State University. He took two voyages around the world on Semester at Sea where he was Director of Student Activities.

Ian was active in youth work at First Baptist Church of Downey where he taught High School and College Sunday school. Many regard Ian as a mentor and example of enthusiasm for life and love of God. His big smile and love for people will be missed.

Ian received a heart transplant in 2006 which gave him an extra twelve years of life. He died at home from complications of heart failure, surrounded by family, on March 11, 2019. Ian is survived by his sister Diana Edmonds, his wife of 45 years, Vickie, and children Zachary (Katheryn) Smith, Landon, and Brittany (Scotty) Denton, and six grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 23, at 1:00 pm at The First Presbyterian Church of Downey. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in support of Caring for Orphans Mozambique, of which Ian was a board member at caringfororphans.com.

Robert Gifford Cormack

October 27, 1919 - February 21, 2019

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Robert was proceeded in death by his first wife, Louise and their 3 sons Robert, Harold (Sherri) and Steven. He is survived by his second wife Faith, daughter Sharon (Tim) granddaughter Destiny, grandson Logan. Son Darryl (Tessie) grandson Darren (Geneva) great grandson Nolan, granddaughter Ashley, great granddaughter Janay, his beloved dog Bear and bird Rooster.

Robert “Grandpa” was a man who wore many hats (let’s not forget those cowboy boots). They included Husband, Father, Uncle, Grandpa, Great Grandpa, US Army World War II Vet, two term Mayor of Downey, City Council, School Board Member, successful business owner, Master in Engineering, world traveler, pilot, and a faithful servant of the Lord. The hat that was most important, was that of being a Grandpa. Every child should be so blessed as his grandchildren were.

We will celebrate his incredible life at Florence Ave. Foursquare Church (11457 Florence Ave.) in Santa Fe Springs Friday, March 15th at 11:00am. In lieu of flowers, the family request donations to be made to Florence Ave Church in care of the Trevor Owens Foundation for Children’s Ministry.

Ava Michael

March 11, 1933 - February 27, 2019

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It is with great sadness that the family of Ava Michael announce her passing on February 27, 2019.

Ava was a long time resident of Downey. She was previously active with the Downey Little League and in 1979 obtained her Real Estate license and became active with the local Downey Association of Realtors for many years.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Floyd “Mike” Michael in 2009.

She will be lovingly remembered by her children, Floyd “Alan” Michael and Sherry (Brian) Blair; granddaughters, Jennifer (Lyn), Stephanie and Mariah; and great grandsons, Alex, Andrew and Austin.