Are we all just suckers for charismatic founders?

How the gold rush for hot tech start-ups caused business and the media to be duped by the young and ambitious disruptors of Silicon Valley.

by Bill Borrows
Adam Neumann

He was an hour and a half late. Adam Neumann (pictured, above), the 37-year-old chief executive of WeWork, seemed agitated as he paced around his Manhattan HQ but understood that Masayoshi Son was the kind of man who kept his own time.

Eventually the Korean-Japanese founder of SoftBank and the man behind their Saudi-backed $98.6bn Vision Fund created to invest in emerging technologies like AI and robotics swept in, looked at his watch and told Neumann that he had 12 minutes. It was, he said, a flying visit to satisfy his curiosity.

The young businessman took the older man to his so-called R&D department to show off the latest touchscreen tech and a smart desk that adjusted to the height of the occupant with the swipe of an ID.

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