Originally an email written on Oct. 2, 2010 :
“The Social Network” is the 2nd American movie (after “Inception”) that I can recommend in the last few months. Not because it’s about “Facebook” but how the stories were told in the movie was very interesting and ~intellectually entertaining … I went to see it partly because it’s got 8 (out of 10) among the voters in imdb.com. These days, I’ve had a cut of 7. $5 of matinee is certainly worth it …
I don’t really like “Facebook” nor use it much … I can’t live without Google (or the like) these days but “Facebook” is not really anything in my life. Probably I don’t like to make friends or I just like people to hear what I say and read what I write; but I’m mostly not interested to hear/read what people say/write. Even in my almost weekly talks (about my analysis), I only want my colleagues to agree and don’t really want them to comment/criticize … ( But actually after all these years, I’ve learnt that in order to publish a paper in a big collaboration was just to do all the smart or stupid things/checks to make everybody happy …. )
The time-direction of the story-telling in the movie was sometimes forward and sometimes backward. After a while, we realized that the main story-telling vehicle is the two lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg, one from his co-founder Eduard Saverin and another from the “HarvardConnection.com”. The movie is all about witty dialogues which were often very fast-paced and I’m sure that I may have missed a couple probably/hopefully unimportant details. But the dialogues in the movie were all dynamic and kind of intriguing and has kept me in the seat watching with 100% attention and interest.
There is a serious and typical American snobbishness in the movie that one needs to deal with or get over with. One is the Harvard stereotype and hype and its noble/elite class … that every student may be a genius of some sort and as Larry Summer (!) said in the movie every student wants to start a new company rather than join a company. Though you know it’s not true, you can’t help having the impression from the movie that a young kid can just have a brilliant idea and get rich in spite of all the partying, getting drunk and screwing girls. I’m sure the director would disagree with this statement but this impression is too strong for anybody not to feel (realized or not). Certainly not every college drop-out can be like Gates and Zuckerberg.
Birds of the same feather flocking together is certainly true ! It’s true in business and also in scientific research (and probably everywhere). The best people usually like to collaborate with the best. Why wouldn’t they (or you) ?! Before the movie, I didn’t realize that “Sean Parker” (played by Justin Timberlake) was actually the guy who co-founded Napster has helped Zuckerberg in the earlier days and convinced him to come to Silicon Valley and changed thefaceboom.com to facebook.com …. It’s like Parker has converted facebook.com from millions to billions. On the other hand, you can see in the movie how rich kids could get to where they want easier because of their connections and elite classes ….
In any case, there is no denying that “creativity” (stolen or created by yourself) is the necessary element before any major success has any chance. I know C++ and php but I hadn’t invent anything …
As usual, people who have watched as much American TV as I have would recognize this or that minor character in the movie. ( You may not recognize some actors if you don’t watch enough TV). Even the script writer Aaron Sorkin is also too famous not to notice … It’s an all American product — really ~made in USA.
I’ve learnt quite a few details … E.g.. there was the Regatta at Thames River in the movie … At that time, I was guessing since it couldn’t be the Oxford-Cambridge stuff and it’s probably Harvard-Yale …but it somehow happened in the Thames River and I was very confused. I couldn’t be sure because the scenes flew by very fast and I couldn’t find the word “Yale” in any scene. Only now when I goggle, I realize that Regatta is the Harvard-Yale Regatta and it now takes place @ Thames River in Connecticut.
I’ve watched a fair nos. of Chinese TV series about the conflicts inside the royal palaces in different dynasties … (Not sure whether the movie has alluded to it) Mark Zuckerberg was like the ultimate winner in such a conspiracy struggle. Stolen from HarvardConnection.com or not and paid $65 million of settlement to them, Zuckerberg was still the winner. Not to mention that if it’s really true, Zuckerberg’s strategy to delay HarvardConnect.com was certainly a great tactic. The co-founder Eduardo Saverin (whose $19000 made thefacebook.com possible) was forced out. Sean Parker was also forced out because of the cocaine possession arrest and somehow the movie gave people the possibility that Zuckerberg might be the guy who alerted the police. A dark conspiracy theory …
One funny moment : a Harvard student was complimenting Zuckerberg about his creating the Facebook website after a Bill Gates’ talk in Harvard but he didn’t know the speaker was Bill Gates ! Hard to believe that there’s such a Harvard student ! ( Maybe, I misunderstood …? And I wasn’t sure before watching this movie that Bill Gates actually co-wrote the very original version of MBasic though I knew Gates must have had written something in earlier days …. )
PS: In the movie, Erica Albright was the girl (quite like a muse actually !) who had rejected Zuckerberg and made him start all these …. It turned out that she (the actress’ name is Rooney Mara) is going to be the “Lisbeth Salander” in the American version of Swedish novel “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” ! Wow !!! …