WeWork’s Miguel McKelvey on Designing Creativity at Scale and the Importance of Not Having an ‘Off Switch’

Miguel McKelvey met Adam Neumann at a party in New York City. At the time, he was a veteran of several late-90s and early aughts startups and manager of an architectural firm. The two paired together to create WeWork, a co-working space that made, by 2017, was making $1B in revenue.

But WeWork was also losing money — quickly. Despite lofty valuations (it received $9B in funding and was valued at $47B), the company sputtered in 2019 before it was set to IPO. McKelvey remains as WeWork’s chief culture officer and was reportedly the main point of contact as the company tried to rally its remaining employees in the wake of Neumann’s exit and layoffs.

Before WeWork imploded in 2019, McKelvey spoke at Hustle Con in 2017 about the early days of the company, its ability to connect with customers and the importance for entrepreneurs to not have an “off switch.” Below is a lightly edited transcript of his speech.

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