“What I really care about is connecting people.”
The tectonic plates of the workplace landscape are rapidly shifting. Gone are the days of multi-decade corporate allegiance, replaced with project-based careers. The rapid rise of the freelance economy. And a labor core increasingly distributed across the globe.
What are the economic and social implications of this trend? How can the traditional office be re-imagined to fit this escalating movement? And what role can architecture and design play to deepen community and foster personal happiness?
There is no better steward to explore these important questions than this week's guest, Miguel McKelvey.
A talented, multi-disciplinary designer and entrepreneur, Miguel is the Co-Founder of WeWork — the ubiquitous, communal co-working space company — where he currently serves as the Chief Culture Officer, directing construction, architecture and web design for the business.
Raised on a commune in Oregon, Miguel earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Oregon, where he played on the Oregon Ducks basketball team for two years. Prior to WeWork, Miguel created the design framework and led the national retail roll-out for 170 American Apparel stores. Subsequently, he was involved in the early-stage development of several companies, including Green Desk, Barre3, Versation, and English, Baby!
Because Miguel shares responsibility for creating and leading one of the world's most successful companies, one might predictably suspect this is a conversation about business. It is not. To be sure, we track his entrepreneurial journey. But this man's success has less to do with commerce and more to do with purpose. A deep commitment to community. And an intentional life devoted to fostering meaningful human connection.
Over the course of two and a half hours, we explore how Miguel's unusual upbringing in a five-mother commune and his experience playing NCAA Division I basketball created the ‘Communitarian' philosophy that would later inform the cultural foundation for WeWork.
We discuss Miguel's love of architecture and the important role design plays in modeling our professional and personal lives. How growing up in the town that produced Nike inspired an entrepreneurial drive to create an aspirational brand. And what his career at American Apparel taught him about engaging consumer culture at scale.
But more than anything, this is a conversation with a remarkably humble man driven by gratitude and purpose to create new and original habitats that fuel a more connected world — and ultimately more fulfilling lives.
Final Thing (and it's a big one): I'm excited to announce my first LIVE SHOW will take place on the evening of Friday, September 27, 2019 at the gorgeous and historic 1,100 seat Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles. The event will entail a live podcast with special guests (to be announced), and promises to be an immersive, entertaining experience tailored to a live audience. As a gesture of thanks, Patreon subscribers will have exclusive access (by way of a code sent to you and available in my latest Patreon post) for two days to grab the best seats before tickets are made available to the public
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