News Updates

The memeification of WeWork

August 14, 2023
Welcome back! Mondays are tough, but hopefully photos from the annual Comedy Pet Photography Awards can help you out.

As for today’s big story, we’re talking about two things you might have forgotten about: WeWork and meme stocks.


What’s on deck:

But first, what do you meme?
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Photo by Patrick T. Fallon / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images


A falling stock price. Market headwinds. Public acknowledgement that the business is struggling. 

These aren’t things normal investors hope to see in a company. But then again, the meme-stock crowd isn’t full of normal investors.

The group that upended Wall Street by backing struggling companies like GameStop and AMC Entertainment in 2021 might have a new potential target: WeWork.

As Insider’s Matthew Fox writes, the co-working office company is a prime candidate to become the next hot meme stock. WeWork shares surged as much as 162% after the company warned it had “substantial doubt” about its ability to keep operating.

WeWork’s financials might not be pretty, but it has many characteristics that could make it attractive to the meme-stock crowd.

Not only is it a well-known consumer brand, but it’s had a public fall from grace. From aspirations of a $100 billion valuation, to going public in a SPAC merger valuing it at $9 billion in 2021, WeWork’s market cap is now less than $500 million. That type of down-on-its-luck story might resonate with the meme-stock crowd, which seems to love an underdog narrative.

There’s even an Apple TV+ series — “WeCrashed” — about its rise and fall that could be fodder for literal memes, particularly of actor Jared Leto playing WeWork’s controversial cofounder Adam Neumann.

And being a meme stock can be good for business! While shares of GameStop, the poster child of the meme-stock revolution, returned from their all-time highs, they’re still well above pre-2021 levels.

Of course, meme-stock status doesn’t guarantee a company’s survival. Bed Bath & Beyond rode the meme-stock frenzy to a 99% surge in share price in January 2021. But this April, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, liquidating all of its stores by the end of July.

But the brand lives on as a result of acquiring and adopting its name, and perhaps in the hearts of meme-stock traders who managed to cash out in time.


3 things in markets

Before the opening bell: US stock futures are up early Monday, after US stocks finished last week mostly lower.
REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
  1. Lloyd Blankfein reportedly offered to rejoin Goldman Sachs. The bank’s ex-CEO called his successor, David Solomon, to complain about the bank’s slumping stock price, per The New York Times. It was also reported that Blankfein offered to give Solomon more advice and even floated a return to Goldman.
  2. No more rate hikes from the Fed, experts say. The Federal Reserve is probably done raising interest rates and could even start making cuts early next year, according to Fundstrat’s Tom Lee and top economist Mohamed El-Erian.
  3. A former Goldman Sachs executive detailed coming out as transgender. In an excerpt from her memoir, “Maeve Rising: Coming Out Trans in Corporate America,” Maeve DuVally describes her experience transitioning while at the investment bank.
3 things in tech
Arantza Pena Popo/Insider
  1. AI will eliminate way more jobs than we realize. We’re currently only at the beginning of AI’s impact on society and jobs. It has the possibility to boost living standards and have positive impacts on society. But for that to happen, everyone needs to urgently work together to brace for AI.
  2. Sam Bankman-Fried is being sent to jail. The federal judge said he could no longer stay under house arrest at his parent’s home. Bankman-Fried’s bail was revoked over alleged witness tampering.
  3. PubTech: Amazon’s new team. The e-commerce giant is hiring for its new publisher-focused advertising team. The new platform falls under Amazon Ads and would compete with the likes of Google and Pubmatic.
3 things in business
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
  1. A once-in-a-century solar storm could fry power grids and knock out satellites. Scientists are worried it will happen in the coming years. NASA said it could “cripple economies and endanger the safety and livelihoods of people worldwide.”
  2. Major companies reveal how they’ve designed their hybrid work policies. Google, IBM, McKinsey & Company, Microsoft, and EY each explained their hybrid arrangements.
  3. How much money people are making off TikTok’s new Creativity Program Beta. Not everyone making money through the program has millions of followers. Those with smaller followings are also bringing in good bucks. One couple earned $87,000 in a month.

Culture shock, workouts, & more

  • A German shared her five largest culture shocks after moving to the US. She found the cost of living higher and work-life balance harder to achieve.
  • The “hyperaggressive” culture at Temu’s sister company Pinduoduo. Analysts said the company will likely “be a force to be reckoned with globally in the coming years.”
  • Signs your partner is falling out of love with you. A therapist revealed that changes in your relationship dynamic or the way they treat you could be warning signs.
  • “Managing up” is the latest workplace trend. But some people warn that having to do this is a sign of a toxic work environment.
  • This 39-year-old says his biological age is 26. He revealed his weekly workout regime, which includes cardio and strength training.
  • A wild quest to unlock floating trains and cheaper EVs. It all starts with a room-temperature superconductor.

Media day, celebrations, & birthdays

  • It’s media day for Ivy League football. Each school will have two players and the head coach representing it, and they’ll talk about the upcoming season. The virtual event will be livestreamed.
  • There are a bunch of celebrations observed today around the world: Carnival Monday in Grenada, Independence Day in Pakistan, Mother’s Day in Costa Rica, and Father’s Day in Samoa.
  • Happy birthday, Halle Berry! Mila Kunis and Magic Johnson are also celebrating birthdays today.

Phone photos

Joey Hadden/Insider
A National Geographic photographer’s tips on how to take better phone photos. This included shooting from angles and including objects in the foreground.
The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, senior editor and anchor, in New York City. Diamond Naga Siu, senior reporter, in San Diego. Hallam Bullock, editor, in London. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York City.
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