Adam and Rebekah Neumann. Jeff Bezos. Elon Musk. They dominated headlines through 2019, and this week I wanted to highlight a bunch of great stories on that very group.
The Neumanns cofounded WeWork, and after the startup’s downfall last summer, and Adam’s departure as CEO, the pair moved to Israel to escape media scrutiny.
Dana Schuster has an excellent weekend read on Rebekah, who has been described as the spiritual, strategic mastermind behind both WeWork and her husband. She was the driving force behind the company’s controversial S-1 documents, and obsessed with how she and Adam could brand themselves via WeWork’s IPO.
As Dana reports, despite genuinely wanting to do good for mankind, Rebekah lavished in the billionaire lifestyle, even flying her hairdresser to WeWork’s London Summer Camp one year.
Meanwhile, WeWork has a new CEO, and has undergone a board shakeup that will see three longtime directors depart.
Jeff Bezos has had his own year of drama, including everything from protests outside his $80 million NYC penthouse to phone hacking and lurid photos.
As Eugene Kim reports, that makes it more important than ever for Bezos to rely on his team of direct reports to help him run Amazon. Eugene identified the nine most powerful people at Amazon who report directly to Bezos, with roles covering everything from e-commerce and cloud computing to hardware devices and public policy.
You can read more about them here.
In addition, as Eugene reports, Amazon is giving more responsibilities than ever to its logistics boss Dave Clark, who has risen from warehouse manager to being one of the company’s most senior executives. He now oversees teams covering everything from marketing and the Prime membership program to physical stores and the incipient drone delivery service.
You can read more about Clark and his 15 direct reports here.
Elsewhere in Amazon news:
- Eugene got his hands on leaked screenshots that show it’s testing an online lending marketplace where sellers can choose loans from Goldman Sachs and other banks.
- He also reported that Amazon has quietly hired the NBCUniversal executive known as ex-CEO Jeff Zucker’s “right-hand man” to lead PR for its original video and streaming services.
- And Lauren Johnson got the scoop that while Amazon has long promised that Alexa will be ad-free, it’s ramping up its pitch to marketers for audio ads.
Lastly, there’s Elon Musk. Musk’s rocket company SpaceX is building a Starship rocket-development site and future Mars spaceport in Boca Chica, a remote beach area at the southern tip of Texas. Here’s what you need to know:
- SpaceX established its launch site amid a hamlet of about three-dozen homes owned by retiree-age residents.
- Following a marathon of construction and testing, SpaceX in late 2019 presented every homeowner with a buyout offer.
- While many residents initially rejected the deal, SpaceX has managed to persuade more than half of the homeowners to sell. However, several who signed a deal told Business Insider they felt forced to do so under the circumstances.
- Dave Mosher has all the details in a riveting read, the first in a series, called The Last Town Before Mars.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Finance and Investing
2 coheads of Goldman Sachs’ private-investing business are retiring, in a blow to David Solomon’s fundraising plans
Two more Goldman Sachs partners are exiting, and this time the departures may take a bite out of the firm’s growth plans.
Wall Street’s 10 most accurate tech analysts reveal the stocks you should buy now for huge returns within 12 months
Wall Street analysts are tasked with digging deep into individual companies and emerging with bold directional forecasts that help investors make money.
Tech, Telecoms, Media
Stunned venture capital investors say the government’s move to kill the $1.4 billion acquisition of shaving upstart Harry’s is a ‘wakeup call’ that could leave some types of startups unviable
Investing involves assessing risks and possible rewards.
Meet the 12 power player execs in the movie-theater industry who are shaping the future of film on the big screen
Despite movie theaters being declared old news by some many times over the last century — with the advent of radio, TV, cable, VCRs, DVD, and now streaming — they have never gone away and have always held a special allure for film fans.
Inside UTA’s deal with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio and how the talent agency plans to expand her influencer business
Hollywood’s top talent agencies are at war over the entertainment industry’s newest stars: TikTokkers.
Healthcare, Retail, and Transportation
SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 just made its first bet on a buzzy US pharmacy startup. The CEO of Alto told us how he plans to use the fresh $250 million.
SoftBank is turning to US consumer healthcare startups as it begins to make its next round of mega-investments.
Macy’s tech chief sheds light on the hundreds of layoffs announced this week in a letter to employees
Macy’s announced a three-year plan to turn around its business on Tuesday, ahead of its annual investor day on February 5.
31 hot logistics startups that are set to soar in 2020, according to VCs
The $1.6 trillion logistics industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and big names like Uber, Amazon, Walmart, C.H. Robinson, and more are at the forefront of that change.
Leadership and Entrepreneurship
Read the spreadsheet women in tech are sending each other to find out how much they’re making compared to their male coworkers
Can a crowdsourced Google spreadsheet help women in tech make more money?
51 units at 26 years old after starting with just $3,500: How Tristan Thomas parlayed a single mobile-home purchase into a real-estate business that ‘grew like wildfire’
Tristan Thomas despised the tenets of a 9-to-5 job.
Join the conversation about this story »
NOW WATCH: WeWork went from a $47 billion valuation to a failed IPO. Here’s how the company makes money.