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Thoughts on Flow – londonbusinessblog.com

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A non-exhaustive list of why Marc Andreessen and Adam Neumann have misinterpreted America’s housing problems

When Marc Andreessen announced that he was pouring $350 million in money from a16z investors into a new venture from WeWork co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann, many jaws dropped. First, there was the huge sum and equally huge appreciation for a company that owns a few thousand rental properties as of today.

Then there were the claims that Flow could help solve inequality, anxiety, loneliness and a number of other social ills. Neumann’s ideas for Flow, Andreessen said, “have no lack of vision or ambition, but only projects with such lofty goals have a chance to change the world.”

That’s idealistic rhetoric, even by Silicon Valley standards.

Something didn’t feel right to us. Yes, there was the Neumann factor. But there was more. Neumann and Andreessen tried to privatize the neighborhood. Here’s why we don’t think that’s such a great idea.

There are some problems that venture capital can solve. For example, I think it’s pretty awesome that I can get a ride home from a vetted 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 to go home.

But therein lies the crux of the problem: what if public transport were just ordinary? better? What if I didn’t have to decide between dropping $25 on an Uber and walking 15 minutes to the subway, standing alone underground, taking the subway, getting off, waiting outside for the bus alone, and then taking the bus home at midnight?

With the same idea, Adam Neumann’s Flow aims to provide a solution to what investor Marc Andreessen calls a housing crisis.

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