WeWork founder Adam Neumann is back, four years after the spectacular crash of his company.
He’s starting a new company, Flow, which has already raised $350 million from legendary investor Marc Andreessen. The company will focus on “solving loneliness” by turning people’s homes into the “one place” where they can work remotely, Neumann said onstage at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in Deer Valley, Utah.
Neumann’s description of Flow sounds uncannily similar to how he used to talk about WeWork. The co-working space company’s spectacular 2019 crash became an infamous cautionary tale for startup investors, and was documented in the Apple series WeCrashed starring Jared Leto as Neumann.
Neumann stressed that while he is “rather bored of talking about the past,” his time at WeWork taught him important lessons that will make him a successful entrepreneur going forward. One takeaway involves the people he hired at WeWork—and the other is a reflection of his own skills as a leader and CEO.
Neumann says he hired too many ‘yes’ people at WeWork
While at WeWork, Neumann surrounded himself with smart people—but now, he said he’s learned to go a step further.
“Surround yourself not only with the best people and the smartest people, but also the ones that are going to tell you what they think,” he said.
Neumann implied that his team at WeWork wasn’t “brave” enough to tell him what they really thought. He added that having a team that indulged and agreed with him kept Neumann from being realistic about the limitations at WeWork.
Neumann cited his investor Andreessen as a good example of a skeptic in his life.
“Marc called me after an investor presentation and told me everything he disagreed with,” Neumann said Tuesday.
Neumann stressed that this kind of skepticism will ground him as an entrepreneur going forward.
Listening over talking
Neumann is a renowned speaker who famously persuaded JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son to invest billions in WeWork.
Now, Neumann says he’s more focused on listening than speaking.
“Part of being a great entrepreneur is not just listening, but listening to the hard truth, listening to the things you don’t want,” Neumann said.
He added he’s ready to apply these lessons to Flow, which he has previously said will help renters feel “ownership” over their homes.