Friday, October 8, 2010

Fast Company-What "The Social Network" Didn't Show You

Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg:
(Story reported by Ellen McGirt for Fast Company)

I think I can safely say that The Social Network is not the feel-good movie of the year – certainly not for Mark Zuckerberg, or for the dozens of exceptionally talented men and women who created Facebook. They were, and are, brilliant, hardworking and imaginative people who, mostly by design and occasionally by lucky accident, managed to survive the uniquely fraught early moments of an online start-up and the more established dangers of real-world Valley venture capital. It was a swirl alright, but not the way the film would have you think.

There are, of course, exceptions to the exceptional: Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevii. (The goofy name that Zuckerberg stamped on the preternaturally entitled Winklevoss twins appears to be true. It delighted the audience.) The movie was based on Ben Mezrich’s book, The Accidental Billionaire, an entertaining read that was so breezily fictional that Janet Maslin of The New York Times skewered it: “The Accidental Billionaire is so obviously dramatized, and so clearly unreliable, that there’s no mistaking it for a serious document.” I’d read the script for the movie earlier this year and winced.

Here’s the sour irony: After all the fretting about online privacy and reputation management, two of the slowest, least nimble and most expensive media—a paper book and a feature film—have left the biggest scar. A lasting impression of Zuckerberg and the early Facebookers that is largely unfair. it is also unfair to shareholders, partners, and Facebook users.

(Click here to read the full story on the Fast Company website.)

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