The Social Network: The Review

Having talked about this movie for the last year in various conferences around the country, I figured I would actually see it on the opening week. A rarity for me for virtually any movie.

The Social Network plays about 2 hours. In the theater I was at, there were very few promos for other movies. So with my iPhone turned off (crazy for me), a bag of popcorn and a medium Diet Coke in my lap, I settled into the theater seat and started watching.

I had low expectations. I knew most of the story and wondered if I’d find it entertaining.

I was surprised. The 2 hours flew by. It was fast-paced, well-acted, well-written and somehow, the producers created it in such a way that I wondered what would happen next. And at the end, I wondered what else happened. Fortunately, they had those subtitles that described the “after story”.

I think the most surprising thing about the movie was I left oddly motivated. I just watched how a billionaire started a process as a kid in college, and with the help of a great idea and a few friends, he was successful. Nice.

Here are some business takeaways from the movie:

Ideas come from everywhere. Mark Zuckerberg was drunk and angry when he thought of the initial idea. Then through circumstances, he heard other ways to “do his idea”. From all that, he assembled the best and forgot the rest. Of course, this gets him into trouble. Always be on the lookout for great ideas — they are lurking everywhere.

It’s ok to launch a product when it’s not done. Mark went “live” with something rather quickly, but he knew it wasn’t quite done. And he worked on the product until it was “done”. But he remarks in the movie “It’s like fashion, and fashion is never done”. Always keep making your product better! Never consider anything “done”.

Work hard. Mark was in the “zone” creating, adapting, programming and thinking. Of course he also partied quite a bit, but it seemed he enjoyed working more. He’s committed to the product and working on it. Not just supervising. Good lesson to be learned.

Friendship is necessary. Mark was really a one-man-band yet somehow he needed his friends. It’s easy to see that friends suffered during this movie though — but he utilized their gifts throughout the process. Sadly, he needed them more than he recognized. Can work and friendship actually work? I’ve been burned by people I’ve trusted more times than not, but I hold out hope that friendships will outlast any work pressures. Perhaps the lesson rests in knowing if it’s a business relationship that requires contracts, or if it’s a true friendship. Or in business, is there such a thing?

Should you see this movie? Absolutely. There’s rough language and some party scenes, but the story is pretty amazing. Or maybe it proves that I am truly a nerd at heart. Let me know what you think when you go!

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