10 Social and Business Truths from “Social Network”, the Movie

by Andrew Chow | July 5, 2019
10 Social and Business Truths from "Social Network", the Movie

A movie based on Mark Zuckerberg and the founding years of Facebook, called The Social Network, was released on October 28, 2010. The plot – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Network

I was invited by Sony Pictures for the preview of “Social Network” about 2 weeks before it was launched. After watching it, I was led to share my very 1st movie review on some of the “social truths”

1. My view is as good as yours. The movie – “Social Network” is a good overview of how social networking company – Facebook started with stories revolving around Mark Zuckerburg, Eduardo Saverin and Sean Parker.  Though no one would say the movie plot is 100% accurate, the movie is subjectively researched and directed based on only the account of Eduardo Saverin. The interpretation of events are primarily through the eyes and mind of Eduardo, the co founder, who incidentally is said to be living in Singapore for the past 1.5 years. Maybe Mark should link up with another director to do a “Real Facebook” movie, i am sure he has his own version and story to tell.

2. Sometimes having a 3rd party is a good thing. Facebook may never be as successful as it is today had the founders not met Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and Plaxo as their initial advisor. Sean stretched the mind of Mark but Eduardo was totally unimpressed. In the end, Mark go with Sean and the rest is history. Personally, the timely insertion Sean made all the differences for Facebook. He may be the unwanted 3rd party but provided the best 2nd opinion on the future of Facebook at that time.

3. It is good to start well, but far better to end well. Though Sean is a extremely smart and charismatic guy, he was undone by his own arrogance. Due to some drug issue, he was forced to be out of Facebook. Had Sean Parker managed to stayed on, Facebook might have been more successful today.

4. Men place his self-esteem in what he can accomplish. Mark is depicted as arrogant, selfish and self-absorbed guy. He is after success but not energized by money.  All young technopreneurs are depicted as flirtatious and incapable of handling serious romantic relationship. At the end of the movie, he was still trying his luck on reuniting with his ex girl friend through the very thing he invented – FACEBOOK!

5. Friendship is always tested in prosperity, not povertyWhen times were bad, Mark and Eduardo stayed focused together. They had each other’s attention, discussed matters and fly together to pitch. Once money started coming in, and difference in direction set in, the friendship suffered. Never enter into any business relationship with your best friend, unless you are prepared to lose this friend inadvertently.

The Business Truth:

1. Partnership is more important than any proposal. The movie also shows that business isn’t about the quality of business  proposal but the quality of business partnership. Choose the right partners. The idea of social networking the Facebook way was the coolest idea back then. Had Mark, Eduardo and Sean managed the partnership better – disagree by agreeing, Facebook would have enjoyed the best of alliance, open source and also advertising. Ideas are simple, execution is important and finding the right partners is supreme.

2. Success is often born out of a crisis. Facebook which was created out of frustration by Mark just to forget a crush.  Another version of the story is Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook to elevate his stature after not getting into any of the elite Finals Club in Harvard. When you are too much in a comfort zone, success is a mile away. When you are in combat zone, success will just be reached within an arm’s length.

3. To be relevant, all great brands should be Work-in-Progress. In the movie, Mark once mentioned “this thing will never be finish, it’s like fashion”. All business is a fashion business, it has cycle and ever evolving. No business will ever arrived and be finalized. To serve your target, you need to go with the flow and initiate changes most of the time. Do frequent brand audit, re-adjust your strategy and align your communication channels frequently. FACEBOOK is successful because they believe in sharing by offering its source codes to 3rd party developers to make them even popular. They seems to have no niche, they serve everyone!

4.  Non Disclosure Agreement is usually the condition for out of court settlement. Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra all agree to settle out of court with a confidential agreement. They must never disclosure the details and must never claim to have any links to Facebook except for the ownership of common shares. On hindsight, 7% of Facebook valued at $25b (currently in 2010)  is $1.75b. If 2 brothers had known how much will it worth today, they would never have settled for just $65million!

5. The 8 Law of Business Ideas:

  • Do not share your ideas with anyone unless you are prepared for it to be stolen
  • Do not force  sell it to anyone who refuse to buy them
  • Avoid exploring ideas which are difficult to realize or implement.
  • If your good idea is stolen, you must know how to win it back by enhancing it.
  • You do not own any good ideas unless you see it to completion
  • All good ideas should be tested against second-guessing, deliberation and contemplation.
  • The difference between a great and a good idea is the person who first thought of it.
  • Good ideas doesn’t guarantee good results

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