Notes on The Social Network

Seems The Social Network won the best picture award at the Golden Globes yesterday. I watched it recently. Good movie, well worth watching.

I think movies like these are very useful in the long run. Sure, they are probably not totally factually accurate, but it's the story we remember, not the details. I'd like to think movies (stories) like these inspire future generations.

The movie provides a good insight into the life of entrepreneurs and the tech startup game. There is a formula to tech startups and I think this movie captures it well. It's a story about being passionate, turning that passion into a fun project, and turning a fun project into a successful business. As we all know: wealth is a side effect of passion.. and there is only one way to get rich: quick.

Some random notes:

  • Probably the most important lesson: Ethics. Mark should have kept his nose clean, the story of how you became successful is very important, then again, if he did that the movie would be way less entertaining.
  • Idea vs execution, big theme in the movie, you need both, but ideas can be "borrowed", implementations not so much. Interesting how Mark not only stole the basic social network idea, but also the adoption strategy idea.
  • Sean Parker is the most entertaining character by far. The Rainmaker. Usually an entrepreneur with a successful track record. Important link between entrepreneurs and investors. Adds extra momentum and takes care of fund raising.
  • The failed romantic relationships theme (Mark and Sean), very Great Gatsby. Not easy to dump that amount of energy into a venture if you are married with three kids. A little bit of pain never hurt anybody. (-:
  • Facebook fit the big money VC model so well. Go for user numbers worry about revenue way later. Amusing contrast between Eduardo's and Sean Parker's ideas for the business.
  • 7% for $500k seems like a very good deal, the high end of seed investment.
  • The first year of a startup is very volatile, people claim shares, people have expectations, it's very hard to figure out how people will end up working together. Negotiating shares in the first year can be a complex problem.

    Which of the characters do you associate with most? Can one person be geek+entrepreneur+rainmaker all in one? I suspect not, the recipe does not work that way.

3 thoughts on “Notes on The Social Network

  1. note on failed relationship point: Mark does not, in reality, have a failed relationship… he started dating a girl during his varsity years and is currently engaged to her.

    1. Hey Debby

      Hmm. Did you watch the movie?
      In the story his GF dumps him and then he gets busy with a few other things.

  2. I just watched it (been on my todo list since I read this blog entry). It was better than I expected, I thought it was going to be very much dumbed down with lots of gloss-over, but it was fun to watch and entertaining with some real substance right to the end.

    I’d put it right up there with movies like Pirates of Silicon valley, really worth while watching!

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