Lessons I Learnt from “The Social Network” Movie

On behalf of Penn Olson, Steph and I were invited by @SonyPicturesSG to the movie preview of “The Social Network” on 12 October.

The film revolved around intellectual property, ethics, lawsuits and relationships. It sure sounds like a difficult film to produce but I’m glad to say I enjoyed myself throughout and may even plan to watch it again, just so I might learn something I hadn’t observed the first time round.

The founders of Facebook probably do not agree fully to this film. We should understand for dramatic effect, parts of the movie would have been exaggerated and probably twisted. This film was an adaption from ‘The Accidental Billionaires’ by Ben Mezrich which I have not laid my hands on – but having read ‘The Facebook Effect’ by David Kirkpatrick, it feels like I could already predict the plot.

Aside from a strong impulse to learn programming after watching the film, here are some insights I gained:

Business Ideas Aren’t Protected

According to Tim Berry: laws protect inventions with patents, creative works with copyright, and trade names with trademarks but none protects business ideas.

It is hard to prove the idea had originated from the Winklevoss twins (or ‘Winklevi’!). I’m guessing it would probably have been a different case if the twins had been programmers themselves. As much as their ideas were awesome, they were not capable of executing it themselves.

Although I do not agree Zuckerburg’s act of keeping twins in the dark as he was not keen and already embarking on his on project – I’m guessing in the real world, it is only a business move to buy time to get ahead of competitors although there are much debate about this and it appears unethical.

Think Long-Term

In the beginning, Saverin was aggressively getting advertisers in attempts to monetise Facebook. But Zuckerburg was firm on his decision that Facebook would not make money from ads. Facebook was cool precisely because there were no ads; Zuckerburg had planned that making money was not his priority in the early stages of Facebook but producing a great product.

I do think Facebook had majorly re-invented web advertising, alongside with Google. By allowing marketers to target their audience using data volunteered by users themselves (such as demographics, interests, activities), social media has unlocked endless potential for businesses and even the non-profit industry.

“A million dollars isn’t cool … You know what’s cool? A billion dollars.” ~Sean Parker in the movie Best quote ever, and hella wicked!

Have Signed Agreements

In the film, Saverin appeared to have been Zuckerburg’s only friend but was unappreciated and badly treated. The scene where Saverin found out everybody else’s shares had been unaffected except his; which was reduced to 0.03% from 34.4% (note that this number was heavily exaggerated) was a heartbreaking one… although in the end, they settled the case with an undisclosed amount to the public and Saverin was again listed as a co-founder on the site.

The lack of legal representation had been the root of most problems hence they are important – just in case relationships turn sour.

Leave School If You Must.

Disclaimer: Only applicable you are from the Ivy League.
Don’t start seriously considering this, it is merely my observation! Look at Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerburg? They dropped out of school and never went back. Sometimes, there are more important things than paperchase; timing and opportunities are crucial to an entrepreneur particularly.

P.S. Looks like everybody loved the intense dialogue in the opening – just so you know, this masterpiece was written by Aaron Sorkin who is well-known for his brilliant, memorable lines.

3 Comments on “Lessons I Learnt from “The Social Network” Movie

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