Presentation: Driving Technology Transformation at @WeWork

Track: Architectures You've Always Wondered About

Location: Broadway Ballroom North, 6th fl.

Duration: 1:40pm - 2:30pm

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WeWork is one of the largest providers of office space in the world, opening an average of 15 new locations around the world every month. For a traditionally physical business, technology has now become an integral part of WeWork’s product offering as well as a key differentiator: software and hardware are now pervasive across the business – from managing real estate planning and construction, to building community applications, to making its buildings smarter. 

In this session, Hugo will go over the platform and architecture behind WeWork’s technology transformation over the past 2.5 years. He will outline some of the unique technology challenges WeWork faces – global systems across China and the rest of the world, hybrid infrastructure between the cloud and on-premise physical buildings, etc. – and describe in detail how WeWork is tackling them.


What is the focus of your work today?


I’m a Fellow Engineer from WeWork working on Developer Platform. Developer Platform at WeWork is essentially all the infrastructure, whether it's service infrastructure or data infrastructure, and the developer tooling that we give to all of our engineers. My role is to provide technical leadership for this area.


What’s the motivation for this talk?


Technology is an important part of our process at WeWork— we use data and analytics from our global fleet of buildings to better understand larger-scale urbanism and real estate trends, as well as evaluate new locations and services to help our members.

While a lot of companies are mostly all in the cloud, WeWork has to have a mix of cloud and on-premise given the physical footprint of our buildings. That combined with our global presence means we need to have a hybrid approach. When we think about hybrid here, it's not our own data center. It's more IT closets and buildings which bring a lot of very specific challenges for WeWork that my team is tasked to solve.  


Can you tell a bit about the sort of architecture stock of a developer platform you are working on, what does it look like at a high level?


On the service front, we are moving from a handful of monolithic applications, mostly written in Rails, towards Microservices which tend to be written in Go. The key here is a big move toward containers. Essentially, we are setting up a managed Kubernetes that allows us to move and run all of our software all around the world, either in the cloud or in buildings.

Another aspect of our process lies on the data front, where we are building a shared ecosystem with well-labeled provenance, clear data schemas and access controls so that we can all build on top of each other and organize it. We're actually building the core pieces of the management of this ecosystem as an open source project.


How would you describe the persona and level of the target audience?


I think software architects will be most interested in learning about the technology we’ve built at WeWork and the infrastructure my team is shepherding at the company, as I plan to detail a few of the use cases and the challenges we’re solving. Also,  anyone who's looking into multi-cloud and hybrid cloud approaches might be interested in hearing our rationale and lessons learned.


What do you want those various attendees to walk away from your talk with in terms of actionable points?


I hope everyone who attends this session walks away with a better understanding of  the challenging problems we’re solving for. I also hope attendees walk away with some tips or lessons to apply to their jobs, whether it be as a manager who is thinking through a hybrid strategy or an individual contributor who is building tools for her or his company.


In terms of recent developments and software, what do you think has been the most important thing for you in terms of your work at WeWork? I'm wondering if that might be Kubernetes for instance.


There are several recent developments that play a significant role in our approach, though the rise of Kubernetes as a framework to run Containers on top of a variety of substrates is key to what we are doing because it truly gives us a powerful abstraction layer for us to run our workloads all the way around the world and in buildings.

Speaker: Hugo Haas

Fellow Engineer, Developer Platform @WeWork

Hugo Haas is a Fellow Engineer working on WeWork’s Developer Platform, which provides development tooling as well as service and data infrastructure to all WeWork engineers. Prior to joining WeWork, Hugo worked as a software architect on deployment systems at Salesforce, the 2015 Flickr relaunch, and also led a re-architecture of all of Yahoo!’s media properties. In a previous life, he worked at the W3C on Web services technology standardization, and co-authored a book about contract design and versioning.

Find Hugo Haas at