The social network…Mark Zuckerberg’s story.

Social networking – A phrase foreign to the world-wide web until the late nineties. Networking on the web thereafter evolved at a pace so rapidly that it almost seemed that the final frontiers of social networking were reached. Could it get bigger or better we wondered. Not only did it get bigger and better, it got addictive. With the emergence of Friendster and My space, social networking seemed to have no bounds, but it was Facebook which took social networking to a different level altogether. Facebook currently has close to five hundred million users and is valued at sixteen billion dollars. It is the most used social network today.To understand how big , how quickly and how exactly did Facebook get to where it is now, Columbia pictures went ahead and made a movie of it all.

The movie is an adaptation of the 2009 book by Ben Mezrich’s “the Accidental Billionaires”. David Fincher’s movie begins with Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and the world’s youngest billionaire testifying in depositions in two lawsuits. The movie winds back and forth between the depositions and the incidents that led to the law suits.Facebook has its roots in the hallowed institution of Harvard where Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook from his dormitory. Spurred by being dumped by his girlfriend Erika, Mark hacks into the databases of various residence halls and downloads photographs of all the female students. Mark then creates a website called ” Facemash” which allows users to vote for the better looking female student. Facemash is the skeletal framework of his future Facebook which he went on to create in 2004 .

Post Facemash, Mark becomes popular in Harvard and his programming abilities catch the attention of Harvardians the Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra. They seek Mark’s help to create a networking website called Harvard Connection. Mark initially agrees but then plays truant with the twins and Divya Narendra and shows no interest in the development of Harvard Connection.Around the same time, Mark decides to start an online social networking site which would be exclusive to only Harvard students.With a start-up capital of a thousand dollars, the funding for which came from his best friend Eduardo Saverin and CFO for the venture, Mark goes on to create “The Facebook”. After gaining rapid momentum in Harvard, Mark expands the site access to other universities across the US largely riled by another incident involving his ex girlfriend Erika Albright.

Mark Zuckerberg along the Facebook course meets Napster co -founder Sean Parker. Mark is impressed with Sean and regards Sean’s wavelength to be identical to his and much to Eduardo’s irritation. At Mark’s first meeting with Sean and on Sean’s suggestion the word “The” is dropped and just “Facebook” stuck. Eduardo is seen to appear uncomfortable with Sean’s involvement in the Business Management of Facebook a bit later. Eduardo is more keen to generate revenues for Facebook via advertising while Mark is reluctant. Mark wants to create a site of immense value before seeking any revenue generation from it. Sean concurs with the idea. Again on Sean’s suggestion, the team of Facebook moves the Company’s operation to Palo Alto. Eduardo is increasingly irked by Sean’s influence on the operations at Facebook and at one stage freezes the Company’s bank account and line of credit to get Mark’s attention. Around the same time Facebook gets funding from an angel investor which further propels Facebook forward. Eduardo’s stake in Facebook is diluted from the initial thirty-four percent to three hundreth’s of a percent when all the other co-founder’s holdings remain intact. Eduardo sues Mark . Simultaneously,incensed by the expeditious growth of the networking site which rapidly creeps into the United Kingdom where the Winklevoss twins have lost the rowing race at the Henley Royal Regatta the twins decide to sue Mark for theft of intellectual property.

Justin Timberlake plays the suave Sean Parker. Justin is fabulous here and takes to the deep end like a shimmering fish.Mark Zuckerberg is effectively played by Jessie Eissenberg who comes across as a rather eccentric braggadocio and yet to his credit appears worthy of it. Mark is shown as the genius developer who latches on to selfish convictions that suit him best. He does not hesitate to exude his best friend out of Facebook at a juncture when Facebook was set to take the world by storm. Eduardo Saverin is cut out to look the sorry figure and Mark settles the lawsuit with him after advice from his counsel that his personality will not go down too well with the jury. Mark is not “likable”, yet one cannot help but be in awe of his eidolon status that he wields and at an enviable age. How much of the real Mark has been relegated to the cine Mark will always be a predicament to those who are beyond Palo Alto’s nerve centre. But the narration summarizes quite accurately the history of Facebook.The screenplay is racy and there is no dull moment. The dialogues are punctilious. The New York times best summarizes Mark –

What makes Mark Zuckerberg run? In “The Social Network,” David Fincher’s fleet, weirdly funny, exhilarating, alarming and fictionalized look at the man behind the social-media phenomenon Facebook — 500 million active users, oops, friends, and counting — Mark runs and he runs, sometimes in flip-flops and a hoodie, across Harvard Yard and straight at his first billion. Quick as a rabbit, sly as a fox, he is the geek who would be king or just Bill Gates. He’s also the smartest guy in the room, and don’t you forget it.The first time you see Mark (Jesse Eisenberg, firing on all cylinders), he’s 19 and wearing a hoodie stamped with the word Gap, as in the clothing giant, but, you know, also not. Eyes darting, he is yammering at his girlfriend, Erica (Rooney Mara), whose backhand has grown weary. As they swat the screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s words at each other, the two partners quickly shift from offline friends to foes, a foreshadowing of the emotional storms to come. Soon Mark is back in his dorm, pounding on his keyboard and inadvertently sowing the seeds of Facebook, first by blogging about Erica and then by taking his anger out on the rest of Harvard’s women, whose photos he downloads for cruel public sport: is she hot or not.

Jesse Eisenberg (Mark Zuckerberg), Andrew Garfield (Eduardo Saverin), Justin Timberlake (Sean Parker)

Directed by David Fincher; written by Aaron Sorkin, based on the book “The Accidental Billionaires

Rating ****

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46 Responses to “The social network…Mark Zuckerberg’s story.”

  1. I must add that this movie has made gross revenues in the vicinity of 150 million, productions costs including marketing 50 million. Every seat was occupied in the theatre where I saw this movie.

  2. Sharmila,

    Gripping storyline.

    I find it fascinating that many of the great inventors in the field of computer science were inquisitive impulsive young kids who dared to think differently, followed their dreams, and wrote their own destiny. Money, success, and fame was but a by-product…and the rest is history…

    Hope to watch the movie soon.

    Aish.

    • That is right Aish. At an age like that, one has nothing to lose, to think freely and take the world by storm. With age comes hesitation, responsibilities and the lack of willingness to take risks.!

      • whenever i log on to facebook ,I cant help but think that while we are literally wasting our time doing it,someone is earning billions from it…but its true that if you are willing to push boundries ,are willling to take risks and are willing to slog it out world will be yours people like Zuckerburg are shining example of it..

      • When I am on FB, I think what the hell was I doing in college.. 🙂

  3. Anand Khare Says:

    Sharmila,

    The film is doing very well in India too.

    I am an avid fb user with my close contacts.It is fun and a perfect solution for mitigating distances occurred in course of life.

    Anand

    • Yes, I hear so too. 500 million users, half of India’s population and growing. Zukkerberg is trying hard to get into China, as FB is currently banned. He is learning Mandarin and even has a Chinese girlfriend. Watch the fun when China allows FB, the growth will be exponential! I too love FB. The line between FB and Twitter is privacy, FB maintains it,Twitter lets you shed it. Its good to have both sometimes.

      • Hi Sharmila,I feel Fb is more dicey on the Privacy front. Until there were Online campaigns & lots of noise that Fb re-looked and continuously updates their Privacy Policy,

      • That is right Abhishek. Privacy was an issue on FB and they keep re-jigging their policies on and off. But, the bottom line is that they continually evolve. The issue I have is with photographs, even when deleted, they stay on the FB server or so I am told.

      • are you on facebook ..never knew anyway it will be good to stay in touch with you even of fb…what about reader ..is he on facebook..if not ,its upto you Sharmila, to persuade him to come to fb..

      • I am most certainly on FB Saurabh,.. Sharmila Says has a page there. I will try convincing Reader…

  4. Sharmila,

    A few years ago, there was a sudden mushrooming of network markets. I believe it was triggered by Amway. Few or hardly anyone new the exact business model. Amway has succeeded in many countries. But many others disappeared when their networks grew larger.

    Social Networking sounds like Network marketing.

    I was on Facebook for exactly 3 weeks till I realized that there is something called a “Wall” and unlike emails they are public. I goofed up once while I posted someone’s birthday or age or something like that. Got a verbal spanking from the affected person and closed the account. Facebook is too intelligent for me! 😦

    In the days that I tested Twitter once, I was using a BlackBerry. The BB server is in the UAE and I was being billed twice, once by the local ISP and one from the Etitsalat connection. The BB was no good anyway, all my mails were being saved by the server and once when I lost the folder, I was able to retrieve the whole thing from them. Never trusted them after that, even if they had been useful in a sense.

    The N98 was more user friendly, and less expensive. But I cannot use Twitter unless the local ISP opens the gateway.

    And a 140 word twitter on a desktop PC didn’t make sense, when I have the unlimited usage of an email service.

    In short, I am still to enjoy the benefits of Social Networking, if there are any.

  5. Oops forgot to toggle the notify switch… here goes…

  6. About Social Networking:

    I wonder if there are any etiquettes about social networking. Some off-the-internet social networks have phenomenal consistency.

    Like, the Jain Marwari Sangh across India plus the UK and the US. The sangh office gives loans at little or no interest to its community for buying property in their place of domicile.

    Ditto with Islamic Banking.

    Another one that has grown into a 200 million officially registered giant is Baba Ramdev’s network which extends from Bhuj in Gujarat to Uttarakhand

    Ofcourse the RSS and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad ranks above all of them in numbers.

    None of these are on the internet!

    • Hmm. Good point. Resourcing on the internet may be more easy in certain ways than networking off the internet. However, in the case of Facebook, it is the coming together of a heterogenous group of people not necessarily with the same end goal. Some use FB for networking, while some use to keep tab on the rest, some use it to play games especially farmville or texas hold em poker, some use only the mails and so forth. In the case of your examples, there seems to be the same intent in the group.

    • Reader,
      its ture that in terms of numbers noone can beat rss and vhp,but i feel that in spite of having huge membership they have not been bale to chaanelise their energy and thoughts into mainstream India.That’s why there are lot of misconceptions and confusion about true principles,teaching and preachings of these organisations in middle classes ,the section which has the highest percentage in india..
      these organisations are perceived to anti muslim and communal and due to this bjp is getting maligned in indian polity..
      but I remember the spech by Rajnath singh in parliament that being a hindu doesnt mean we are anti muslim and the word secularism in indian constitution has been misappropaited to brainwash indian people’s mind..while to a certain extent its true ,its also true that bjp has done precious little to enhance its image in the eyes of India public..

      • Saurabh,

        Thanks. I feel RSS and VHP should stay away from politics. They were founded as social networks and should remain that way.

        The polticial ventures (or adventures?) like Mahasabha, Janasangh, Janta Party and now BJP hace struggled to stand up to the expectations.

        You are right about the Congress creating a communal image of the RSS. It was done by Indira Gandhi with the help of media barons like R.K.Karanjia, Khushwant Singh and the TOI

  7. This movie is much better than ” Silicon Valley ” , which shows the origin of Microsoft and Apple and the fight between them …

    this movie has been gripping fast than that movie ….

    worth watch .. it really makes people to think ” What the crap was I doing during the college days ” 😛

  8. Sharmila,

    This one is about the theme of the blog: Thinking the Indian Way

    Check this out:

    YTD 2010

    INR 250,000 Crores + in black money earned by Ministers, buraeucrats etc by smuggling foodgrain out of the country.

    INR 35000 Crores + syphoned out by CWG organizers.

    INR 170,000 Crores under-valuation by Telecom Minister

    INR 2.50 Crores collected in donatio for Save the tiger. Another 2.5 donated by an NRI.

    What sort of stat is that?

  9. Lakshmi Jag Says:

    Sharmila…I think it is the snow flakes which is making my browser crash when I open the page on my home computer. I am still having trouble opening at home. Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of FB is from my town and was one year junior to my Son in high school…the youngest billionaire of our town…

    Lakshmi

    • Oh is it??? Lets see if I can turn it off then.. Wow, you are so close to Dustin 🙂 Would love to meet Mark one day. It is on my wish list, maybe after I meet Rajnikanth ( closer home ).. 🙂

  10. Muraliraja Says:

    Sharmila,
    I wanted to watch this movie from the moment I saw the teaser trailer. Sadly the movie released in India after 5 weeks from the date of US release. Catched it in one of the beautiful screen in Chennai. Loved it.
    “The Social Network” strongest point is the script. No doubt in that. But such a strong script would have not made an impact if it was not handled by a talented director. There are only few directors in Hollywood who can recreate the magic of such script on screen. And David Fincher is definitely one of them. Fincher is one of Hollywood’s successful director. All his movies were well received by critics & hardcore movie buffs. (Except “Fight Club” which initially got panned by critics but later got recognized as a cult movie. BTW, if you have not watched it yet, watch it now! Though it is 11 year old movie,it smells fresh even today). I think(going by his previous projects) Fincher is the most suitable director for this script.
    Apart from script & direction, I like the camera & editing department in this movie very much. Such a fast paced script really needs razor sharp editing and the editor has done his job perfectly. The reason I mentioned “beautiful screen” at the beginning is because I am quite impressed by DOP. Thanks to the screen for clearly reproducing DOP’s talent on the screen. The entire movie has a soft tone. Lighting is apt & consistent. Camera movement is in sync with the script & characters. I almost felt like things were happening in front of me.
    No discussion about this movie would be ever complete without talking about the ensemble cast. All the main characters had done their job perfectly. I liked(like many others) Jesse in Zombieland. But here he really proved his acting skills portraying the genius/traitor!
    No doubt this movie & its crew are going to give tough competition for other movies at golden globe & Oscar. Will it win some of the major trophies? Fingers crossed.

    P.s: “The Social Network” is successfully running for the 5th week in Chennai. By far a good achievement for a non-action/comedy movie.

    • Perfectly said Murali! You have echoed my thoughts completely and wanted to add more subtle things, but the length of the post kept me at bay. This is one movie which is engrossing despite zero action or suspense or thrill or chills…the direction is the mesmerizing bit. Fincher is something, I loved the curious case of BB too, the screenplay and camera work was brilliant in that one too. Thanks for your fabulous take on the movie.

    • Which theatre did you catch it in?

      • Muraliraja Says:

        Yes BB was good. More than the screenplay I like the technical aspects. Though I’m a hardcore Nolan & QT fan, my heart has space for directors like Fincher & Rietman.
        I watched The Social Network in “Escape” latest multiplex from Sathyam. 8 screens with international projection & ambience. Sathyam has done a great job.

    • I will try to catch the movie you recommend. Been eons since I have been to Sathyam, should go there the next time I am in Chennai..

      • Muraliraja Says:

        Though Escape is good, the old Sathyam is still the best. In advance, Welcome to Chennai 🙂

  11. […] here: The social network…Mark Zuckerberg’s story. " Sharmila says… This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 at 1:47 am and is filed under […]

  12. Great article. I found this searching for the title of your article. Regarding your blog,I have to say that you have done a good job here. Thanks.

  13. And Mark Zuckerberg is the Times person of the year!

  14. good information,thanks for sharing

  15. Hey shamz,very intricate and intuitive blog,I did nt get to see the movie, now I know missed it!I like the Fb to write what I want,but personally think twitter is more closern private..just that not too many got onto it and needs ppl to follow u aswell.:(just started out my own blog startersndips.wordpress.com for recipies,food updates n all bout food..do subscribe..thnx

  16. magic m…

    […]The social network…Mark Zuckerberg’s story. « Sharmila says…[…]…

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