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It is hard to read any industry publication and not find mention of WeWork, the global coworking juggernaut that seem to grow faster and be valued higher than comprehensible to many established players in real estate, development, and commercial design. Last fall, when the We Company (WeWork's parent company) withdrew its filing for an initial public offering, the curtain was drawn back on its operations to reveal a questionable corporate governance model and nonstandard accounting and management practices. And the news keeps coming.

However, this podcast episode does not discuss the allegations or findings about WeWork's finances and workplace culture. Instead, it focuses on the impact of WeWork and other vertically integrated companies on the design profession at large by asking three people who were key to WeWork's rapid ascension: David Fano, Federico Negro, and Steve Sanderson. The trio were the founders of Case Inc., a New York–based design consultancy established in 2008 to bridge physical architecture with digital technology.

L to r: David Fano, Federico Negro, Steve Sanderson
L to r: David Fano, Federico Negro, Steve Sanderson

Case was WeWork's first acquisition in June 2015. At that time, WeWork had 40 sites and more than 30,000 members. Just four years later, in mid-2019, WeWork had 500-plus sites and more than half a million members. Even with 12,500 employees, WeWork's rapid scaling was incredible in an industry not known for its efficiency. As discussed in the episode, Fano, Negro, and Sanderson left WeWork for different reasons between October 2018 and April 2019. Fano is now the founder and CEO of Teal, a company that focuses on career development and resources. Negro has started Canoa, a product and supply chain company hoping to further a circular economy, starting with office furniture. Sanderson has consulted on various projects and is considering his next professional move.

Episode 45: WeWork's Lasting Impact on Architecture, from the Former Founders of Case, featuring David Fano, Federico Negro, and Steve Sanderson, is also available on SoundCloud, iTunes, and GooglePlay.

This podcast episode was recorded in December 2019 and produced by Wanda Lau and Rob Grauert.