Oct 26, 2010

8 Things 'bout The Social Network

OK, it's been a month since The Social Network (a semi-fictionalized story on the founding of Facebook) hit the big screen. Yeah, I'm getting headaches from everyone asking me if I saw it. Yeah, I f'ing saw it!! The followup, of course, is the automatic “Well, whatd'ya think?”

Here are some free form thoughts on this buzzworthy flick:

1)I actually saw the movie on its first day of release, in Boston – which is where the core of the plot takes place in both the movie and in real life. Interestingly, there was NOBODY in the theater! Seriously, I would guess maybe twenty-five in a room built for two hundred. I think this pays tribute to Boston's place in the world, where the smart and innovative hordes there are actually doing stuff and looking towards the next big thing instead of sitting back and reflecting on what to them is yesterday's news. Steve Jobs has always exhibited the same attitude, being uninterested in getting formally involved in projects that mark his historical legacy to the masses via anything other than continuing to “change the world” through his design and positioning marvel.

2)Continuing with the 'Boston' subject, the movie highlights the cluster effect of having a high number of young, sharp and fancy-free individuals (namely college students) packed into a small, tight geographic area – the Hub's Back Bay and Cambridge areas. Keep in mind, it's not all about just Harvard and MIT, either: Napster (which plays an important role in the Facebook story) was launched across the river at Northeastern.

3)When watching a flick, we all search for a hero within it. There were none to be found in this one. But they all walked away as either accidental billionaires (the name of the original book) or legal eagles about to get healthy year-end bonuses. This tells us something about the modern business dynamic, doesn't it?

4)Speaking of Napster; isn't that really a more important and world-changing story than Facebook? After all, it fundamentally blew up the established business model of the ever-powerful music business. Has there been a movie made of Napster?

5)The core problem between Zuckerberg/the Napster guy and the CFO was the classic (in the internet biz world at least) “do we keep building the brand” or “do we start looking for revenue?” set of dueling propositions. They disagreed. This dilemma is nothing new; it has been a part of the industry for decades. I've sat in a half dozen board/strategy sessions myself over the years, grappling with that very question.

6)There is an “Albany” catch to the movie, but you need sharp eyes to catch it. Somehow, I did, but I have yet to find anyone else who did likewise. How about you?

7) Yes, I get the whole "real world loneliness of the guy who invented the alternate universe of virtual pals" thing -- and how that extends to me and you and everyone else in modern life. I knew, going in, that this would be a key theme. But credit is due to the producers and screenwriters for doing it subtly, and not hitting us over the head with it.

8)Bottom Line: a decent movie; interesting story. I don't quite get the uber - accolades it is receiving, however – including its seeming Oscar nods. Personally, I left wondering how much of it was fiction vs fact.

I doubt I will ever know...

1 comment:

Harry Bush said...

The takeaway message: smarty greedy flockers rule this world, no matter who they have to mow down to get there.