On a rainy Thursday night in Washington, D.C., I went to the much anticipated midnight opening of the movie, The Social Network. The story is based on the creation and rise of Facebook and is based on the book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal by Ben Mezrich. The film is Aaron Sorkin’s take on the creation of the world’s most popular social networking site, Facebook, and it’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Personally, I loved the film and left the theater inspired as it echoed my “live the dream” entrepreneurial battle cry.
After an opening weekend that took in $23 million dollars in sales, there were lots of different takes on the film.
Jeff Jarvis, known for his take on the future of journalism, reviewed the film here, ripping on it by saying:
“There’s no “why” there. That’s the problem with The Social Network. It neither explains nor even ascribes motives to Mark Zuckerberg—no vision, no strategy, no goals.”
I could not disagree with Jeff more as he totally disregarded the power of the entrepreneurial drive and was oblivious to it coming across in the film. I would say a vast majority of young entrepreneurs enter their young adult lives wanting to do something amazing, something that’s like nothing else out there, to change the world. That inner, relentless drive to do something big came through loud and clear to me. Initially they illustrate that by showing Mark motivated by that entrepreneurial fire (and a bit of angst and revenge) as he created a product in one evening for the fun of disrupting and entertaining his fellow students. In the film, Mark’s entrepreneurial flame was fueled by the rejection of girl, the drive to get noticed by a secret society and his hacker-like curiosity.
I identified with Mark’s entrepreneurial drive immediately and the film portrays him as a visionary who will stop at nothing to live the dream. I agree with Pete Cashmore when he said that Mark Zuckerberg does not need to worry about the film tarnishing his image.
Film critic Roger Ebert in a recent Chicago Sun-Times article called the film, “great” by saying:
“”The Social Network” is a great film not because of its dazzling style or visual cleverness, but because it is splendidly well-made. Despite the baffling complications of computer programming, web strategy and big finance, Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay makes it all clear, and we don’t follow the story so much as get dragged along behind it.”
Shira Lazar from CBS News thought the film was worth seeing and marveled at Zuckerberg’s vision:
“Whether you like or don’t like how he got there, you can’t help but leave inspired even, with a fascination and respect for his unbridled vision that has ingrained itself into our identities, culture and lifestyle.”
Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook called the film:
“…one of the best non-non-fictions that I watched on the big screen in recent memory…”
It is important to understand the film is fiction – based on real events but not a documentary by any means. Much of the information that is public is probably due to the paper trail from the lawsuits that were highlighted in the film. That said, the film definitely takes advantage of dramatic license and depicts some characters in the film inaccurately to keep the story interesting. For example, I am sure Justin Timberlake’s portrayal of Sean Parker simplified the man’s complexity and the victimization of Facebook’s co-founder, Eduardo Saverin perhaps a bit skewed. Mark Zuckerberg was also painted a little more anti-social than he really is. I’ve met Mark Zuckerberg before and seen him speak live at a few different industry events and it was obvious the movie portrayed Mark colder than he really is.
Regardless of whether you like Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg before seeing this movie, you will probably walk away from the film with a new found respect for the youngest billionaire ever. I know I walked away feeling inspired by Mark’s relentless entrepreneurial pursuit with the itch not sleep until my dreams come true. Or maybe that was just all the theater goodies talking. This film is a must see for anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations.