I joined WeWork and told no one

Our Head of UX on why he couldn’t say he joined WeWork after he left Google.

Tomer Sharon, VP & head of UX at WeWork, set about joining the WeWork team with specific tasks to fully immerse himself as a WeWork member and understand the member experience WeWork strives to cultivate. Originally published in November 2015 on Medium, Tomer explains why he went “undercover” as a potential WeWork member.

Why I couldn’t say I joined WeWork after I left Google

Three weeks ago today was my last day with Google after seven amazing years. Since I started working as Head of UX at WeWork in their headquarters in New York City, my friends and colleagues from all over the world kept asking me what’s my new gig. My response was that I can’t say and that I’ll share in time.

Earlier today I shared my new endeavor with the world. The reason for the secrecy was that until yesterday afternoon I worked undercover doing some secret shopping. I decided I wanted to learn how WeWork works from the inside. I pretended to be a potential member and booked tours in six New York City and two San Francisco WeWork communities. I introduced myself as a one-person tech startup, looking for a private office. Although it was hard to find anything available (good for us!), I eventually signed up as a WeWork member 10 days ago at one of our New York City communities and spent some time working there.

I learned a ton about WeWork from the community teams and I have a better understanding of the member experience. Better, yet not perfect. I identified many touch points between WeWork and its members, in which I plan to invest in the near future. I also identified and named several critical user journeys for our members:

  1. Pre-membership
  2. Onboarding
  3. Membership
  4. Growth and Exit

Next, I am going to focus on three main tasks:

  • Deepen my learning about WeWork by joining community management teams in four WeWork buildings for three days each.
  • Join our real estate professionals in the field and learn how they evaluate and choose future WeWork buildings.
  • Hire top talent for my group. My group will have five teams: four user journey teams and one central team of specialists. Each journey team will be led by a senior product designer and will have a more junior product designer, design researcher, prototyper, and a visual designer. The first journey team I am building is the Onboarding team.

Update 4/11/2016 – I’m excited to say that since writing this post, I have welcomed six UX team members, including a design team lead, design researcher, product designer, service design lead, visual designer, and a research intern. They are embarking on some interesting research that we hope to share, so expect to hear more about their efforts very soon.

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