The Social Network

Becky and I watched The Social Network the other evening. The film is based on the book "Accidental Millionaires" by Ben Mezrich (with the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin of A Few Good Men fame and directed by David Fincher, who was also involved with Se7en and Benjamin Button. Kevin Spacey was also Executive Producer) and explores the beginning and development of Facebook.

As I spend pretty much everyday on Facebook, both on a personal and business perspective, I was really interested to see Mezrich's insight into the development of Facebook, especially as he was supposedly supported by Facebook co-founder Eduardin Saverin.

The film is fascinating and although the film centers around Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, it is Saverin who plays a major part in the Facebook story. The story can be told thus:

* Winklevoss twins approach Zuckerberg after he launches Facemash, a "hot or not" website which was created from hacking into the Havard Universities student photo database.
* The Winklevoss twins look to launch the Havard Connection. A social networking website similar to Facebook today.
* Zuckerberg starts developing the site before deciding to make it his own behind the Winklevoss twins knowledge and creates Facebook.
* Best friend, Saverin is announced as Financial Director, Saverin finds investment for Facebook at the beginning and develops the Facebook relationship algorithm.
* Saverin clashes with Zuckerberg over business direction. Saverin wants to introduce advertising to create revenue, while Zuckerberg didn't want to as he felt it was "cool" that Facebook didn't include ads. Zuckerberg was right.
* Zuckerberg meets Napster founder Sean Smith, despite being chalk and cheese share direction.
* Facebook moves to California while Saverin spends time away in New York searching for advertisers.
* Behind the scenes Smith introduces investment banks and eventually Saverin looses his shares after being tricked into a dodgy contract.

So, who would have thought that our beloved Facebook could be so corrupt?! There is no way of knowing how much of this is true but Zuckerberg did end up paying the Winklevoss twins $65 million in compensation and Saverin's shares were also restored.

Zuckerberg is a discreet character, he keeps himself to himself. He has admited that the majority of the film is untrue but the majority of the shirts he wears in the film is correct. He is portrayed as an arrogant, well assured individual in the film, watching interviews with him it is hard to accept that. Although a strange thing I noted is that during the lawsuit between Saverin and Zuckerberg in the film, Saverin still held Zuckerberg in high regard despite being conned by his best friend, so perhaps there is something else there.

This is one of my favourite interviews of Zuckerberg, I think it is a good reminder that the despite his intelligence and wealth, the guy is only in his early twenties!

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