Thoughts on Flow – TechCrunch

A partial list of why Marc Andreessen and Adam Neumann misinterpreted America’s housing problems

If Marc Andreessen announced that it was sinking $350 million money from a16z investors in WeWork co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann’s new venture, a lot jaws dropped. First, there was a huge amount and an equally huge valuation for a company that currently owns several thousand rental units.

Then there were the claims that Flow could help solve inequality, anxiety, loneliness and a host of other social ills. Andreessen said Neumann’s ideas for Flow “lack vision or ambition, but only projects with such lofty goals have a chance to change the world.”

This is idealistic rhetoric, even by Silicon Valley standards.

We didn’t like something. Yes, there was the Neumann factor. But there was something more. Neumann and Andreessen tried to privatize the neighborhood. That’s why we don’t think it’s such a good idea.

There are some problems that venture capital can solve. For example, I think it’s great to have a verified stranger give me a ride home if I’m alone late at night and don’t feel comfortable walking to the subway and then taking a bus to get home.

But therein lies the crux of the problem: what if public transportation was simple? better? What if I didn’t have to decide: drop $25 on an Uber and walk 15 minutes to the subway, stand alone underground, ride the subway, get off, wait outside for a bus alone, then get on bus home at midnight?

Along the same lines, Adam Neumann’s Flow wants to solve what investor Marc Andreessen calls the housing crisis.

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