A Non-Exhaustive List of Reasons Why Marc Andreessen and Adam Neumann Got America’s Housing Problems Wrong
When Marc Andreessen announced it was sinking $350 million of money from a16z investors in a new venture by WeWork co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann, many dropped jaws. First, there was a huge amount and an equally huge valuation for a company that owns several thousand rental units to date.
Then there were claims that Flow could help solve inequality, anxiety, loneliness and a host of other social problems. Neumann’s ideas for Flow, Andreessen said, “do not lack vision or ambition, but only projects with such lofty goals have a chance to change the world.”
This is idealistic rhetoric, even by Silicon Valley standards.
Something didn’t feel right to us. Yes, there was the Neumann factor. But there was something else. Neumann and Andreessen were trying to privatize the neighborhood. That’s why we think it’s not such a good idea.
There are some problems that venture capital can solve. For example, I find it great that I can get a ride home from a verified stranger if I’m out alone late at night and don’t feel comfortable walking to the subway and then transferring to a bus to get home.
But therein lies the crux of the problem: what if public transport was just fair Better? What if I didn’t have to decide whether to drop $25 for an Uber and walk 15 minutes to the subway, stand alone underground, ride the subway, get off, wait for the bus outside alone, and then go home on the bus at midnight?
Along the same lines, Adam Neumann’s Flow wants to solve what investor Marc Andreessen calls the housing crisis.