Do What You Love
On my journey to figure out what’s next, I’ve spent the last year at Aleph exploring possibilities and thinking out loud with Michael and Eden. I have reached a destination: I am thrilled to announce that today I am joining WeWork as Senior Vice President, Digital Israel.
In this new capacity, I’ll be joining the company’s global leadership team and among my many missions ahead I am establishing WeWork’s product and engineering center (Digital in WeWork lingo) here in Tel Aviv. This team that I am bringing together and will continue to grow will build added-value services for WeWork’s community of creators across the globe. Combining delightful user experiences with incredible Israeli tech talent and a global brand is a gigantic privilege for me. I had a chance to do this once before at eBay’s Innovation Center– and I’m humbled and ecstatic to take another swing at it, this time for the “WE” movement.
I used my time as an “Entrepreneur in Residence” to broaden my horizons and just absorb as much as I could. It was incredible to spend a big chunk of my time zooming in on different areas of interest, without diving in too deeply. I spent all of 2015 learning from Aleph’s partners, portfolio and founders. All are unique in their leadership and focus; I couldn’t ask for a more diverse group of industries, minds and opinions to learn from.
To be honest, starting “The Gifts Project” in 2009 and leading it from inception to acquisition was the most rewarding and educating experience I’ve ever had. Thus, my original game plan (for what it’s worth) was to figure out whether I’m ready to take another shot at starting a company from scratch. I also looked at whether I should become a full-time investor. However, then WeWork came along, and it was hard not to fall in love.
SO WHY WEWORK, AND WHY NOW?
Just in case you were living under a rock, WeWork is a platform for creators. We provide the space, community, and services you need to create your life’s work. This vibrant ecosystem of creators, all of whom are fulfilling their dreams, are a tight knit community, weaved together by similar aspirations and a quench to make a dent on our world. Since WeWork is an Aleph portfolio company, I had a chance to work with this phenomenon closely, and pinpoint where I could add value and better understand its growth drivers. The in-house Engineering and Product teams have basically been infusing the established real-estate industry with a high-tech touch. No one else is doing this at such a global scale. However, the company’s meteoric growth is not solely due to the software it built to perfect its operations, nor is it simply because of people’s ongoing need of space. It’s bigger than that. This generation is tired of traditional cubicles and corporate office culture. Today’s sharing economy demands a different culture, one where millennials can build innovative and enduring companies that are consistent with their life goals. That focus on empowerment is the underlying intent and core mission behind WeWork, and, if I had to underscore one thing I’ve learned over this last year it is that mission driven cultures win.
When I heard WeWork’s game plan firsthand, I understood the scope of the adventure at my doorstep was enormous. I obviously knew the brand, I had heard of the growth, but it was only when Adam shared with me the vision for the next few years, that it hit me: it was unlikely that what I would do independently could own up to the purpose-driven and impactful quest WeWork was already embarking on. The question then became, where would my cycles result in greater impact than at WeWork?
A PLATFORM FOR CREATORS:
If you haven’t seen the magic by now, do yourself a favor and walk into a WeWork location. It’s one of those things you can’t completely grasp until you’re physically there.
Lastly, this new beginning also means that starting tomorrow, I get to do one of my favorite things in the world: form a team again. I’ll be searching for top talent in engineering, product and design who are passionate about enabling collaboration and empowering creators (more on how I view the future culture of this unit in this blog series). If you are that person, we should probably grab coffee (contact me here). We’re around the corner here in Tel-Aviv, building beautiful software to fuel this extraordinary movement.
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