So I’ve finally gotten around to watching “The Social Network” mostly due to curiosity as to how it depicted Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.
I know half of the movie was fiction but the plot was based on the story of Zuck, his Harvard dorm mates and several other guys on campus all doing this cool “start-up thingy”.
Having had my own share of failures in conceptualizing and running all sorts of websites since way back in 2001 and dealing with partners that have varying levels of interests, skills and motivations, I can somewhat relate to the story.
There were also some interesting tidbits that I had to go and read up more on just to make sure there’s very close to the facts.
- Before Facebook and rival ConnectU, there was MySpace and Friendster in 2004 so the idea wasn’t new. I think what they did was just improve on what’s already there.
- Mark Zuckerberg is not the youngest billionaire. He’s only the second youngest. His Facebook co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz, is 8 days younger than Mark and owns 6% of the company which is worth $1.4 billion. But that’s just on paper for now.
- The title of the book that inspired the movie, The Accidental Billionaires*, now makes sense — you don’t have to be the first or have the most novel idea to really succeed. Sometimes, it’s all about luck or who you know. I think the well-connected Silicon Valley guy Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster and Plaxo, was instrumental in the direction and success of Facebook.
The movie has painted Mark Zuckerberg in a very bad light — very scheming guy who stole other people’s ideas and betrayed friends. The fact that he paid $65 million to founders of ConnectU to settle his case about ripping off the site and also with his friend and co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, whom he kicked out of the company is very telling.
In any case, it was a pretty interesting movie. Facebook fans should watch it.
Note: *The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal