--As told to Scott Gerber
How do you create the sense of community that sets WeWork buildings apart from those of most office landlords?
We have three to five events per building per week, religiously. And it’s also about design: We use a lot of glass; we build great common spaces; we put coffee and beer on every floor. And we really think of what happens when two people go get coffee, or even go to the bathroom. Every single thing happening should create interactions and connections.
Your December financing round valued WeWork at $5 billion. How should entrepreneurs think about valuations as they raise money?
Don’t jump above a number larger than what you really believe, just because you were able to get it. Take a number that you truly think either that you’re worth or that you’re going to grow into over the next year--and understand that the value is just on paper.
You rent space to startups in 13 U.S. cities, which gives you a good view into how to work with local politicians and respond to state regulations. What have you learned?
We don’t stretch the law in any way. But for some businesses today, the intent’s not bad at all, and I don’t think they should stop what they’re doing. I’m a huge supporter of Airbnb, and think they should win the fight in every single city. But it’s still a fight.
So what’s your advice for would-be world-beaters?
We’re starting to see a lot of financial tech companies inside of WeWork, and they’re all fighting regulations. And I definitely say, “Fight the fight,” but you have to have clarity about what it means. It’s one thing to change regulations on the city level, another on the state, and still another on the federal. The higher the levels are, the more difficult change gets. That should not stop you from building the business, but know your plan B.