When John Moffett is out and about at work, he's constantly asked about WeCrashed, the entertaining Apple TV series about the dramatic rise and fall of what was once one of the world’s most valuable startups.
Moffett is General Manager of New Zealand’s leading flexible workspace provider, Generator, which started about the same time as WeWork, the office-sharing company that became a global disruptor worth $47 billion.
But where WeWork is legendary for its early days, a festive atmosphere with free alcohol and frat-style wild parties, Generator has kept its feet firmly on the ground, providing stylish, flexible spaces where work and networking can actually take place.
And where WeWork’s co-founder Adam Neumann was known for his flamboyant lifestyle, and a spectacular gift of the gab that led him to great heights before he was eventually kicked out of the business, Moffett takes a more practical approach.
“We always used to talk about the fact that Generator wasn't the seventh-form common room,” Moffett says.
“Although we have big community events, and we have parties and we have bars, Generator and flexible working today is a million miles from WeWork’s early days and what is shown in WeCrashed, because, you know, the industry has grown up and we want to be a functioning business.”
Both businesses, he says, were born out of the global financial crisis (GFC), when many people were laid off and started their own businesses. Unwilling or unable to work from home, demand from these newly independent contractors and agencies grew for co-working and flexible spaces.