Facebook Co-Founder Didn't Learn Anything From "The Social Network"

Today, Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin took to the intertubes under the provocative headline: "What I Learned From Watching 'The Social Network.'" Let us save you the time: He didn't learn much. Played brilliantly by Andrew Garfield in Aaron Sorkin's biting and sensational new film, Saverin is portrayed sympathetically, the poor sap forced out of Facebook and devilishly teased by Justin Timberlake, aka Sean Parker. (Don't feel too bad though: He's reportedly worth $1.1 billion.)

So what did the real-world Saverin glean from the experience? A whole lot of cliches and boilerplate. Reading his tell-all, you'd forget this was a guy who helped start one of the most important companies of this century; rather, he sounds more like someone plagiarizing a bad business 101 handbook.

True innovation is blind.

Unlike so many things in life, there are no boundaries as to who can be an entrepreneur.

The creation of a business from the embryo of a concept is the genius of the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurship involves mistakes and failures.

[Entrepreneurs] will struggle. They will fight. Many will fail. Others will thrive.

Entrepreneurship must be encouraged by everyone around the world.

Has he been reading a page-a-day calendar?

For such a controversial film as the The Social Network, Saverin is rigidly uncontroversial. We're not looking for juicy details or sensationalist anecdotes about the company's founding. But you'd think a co-founder of Facebook could provide a little more insight into the imagination and drive that it takes to build an idea from the ground up. Thank the Heavens that Aaron Sorkin, and not Eduardo Saverin, wrote The Social Network.

Saverin saves the best part for last, his bio:

Eduardo Saverin is a co-founder of Facebook. Eduardo managed the business development and sales aspects during Facebook's early years. Eduardo graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College with a degree in Economics.

Is anyone hiring?

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5 Comments

  • Douglas Baerlein

    Hey Chris -- I think you are definitely right that the movie encapsulates a compelling idea for a wide audience -- I just don't think Saverin's article in CNBC added to that message in any way. I've got nothing against the guy, and I'm glad he was able to hang on to a significant piece of ownership, but man...that article had such little substance!

    I agree that the movie was great, and may very well end up defining popular recollection of the rise of Web 2.0.

  • chris ward

    sorry, my comments are probably equally inane...

    I was involved in the success of the Friends Reunited reunion phenomenon in the UK, from around the start until it had over 10 million members in the UK alone (and many many paying £5 a year for the privilege!).

    http://www.prweek.com/news/185...

    This was 3 years before Mark Zuckerberg even went to college. So a lot of last night screening was for me about the missed opportunity, both personally and professionally for the site…

    It is an excellent movie and will probably be even more appreciated in the future as it reflects a moment in social, political and business history.

    It should inspire anyone (probably from 11 upwards) that they can create a new business and have huge success. You can be very normal (with some geekness!), in a very normal environment. There are no special environment required to achieve success.

    The way that Zuckerberg is ‘heavily influenced’ by the Winklevoss Twins ‘social network’ idea and probably more importantly that they are going to ‘do it now’, is the prompt he needs to start building Facebook. It is a common situation for entrepreneurs and if successful always creates the very awkward situation (one sorted by paying out $65m in this instance!).

    I don’t think he was nicking their idea but instead, their decision to launch reinforced his thought process that his own thinking was right and he would miss the boat if he didn’t go. I think that influenced him far more than their specific idea or code.

    A new idea comes from the new unique combination of 2 existing ideas. It is a close thing between what is the development of an existing idea (Zuckerberg’s claim on Winklevoss twins idea) and what is a new idea, created by putting it together with another separate idea.

    I am sure for most successful ideas there is always someone else around in the background who believes the idea was originally theres. Especially as most successful ideas are very very simple and therefore in hindsight – obvious.

    If you want to launch a successful Internet business it is still true that your odds of success are higher if you partner up with someone in Palo Alto. But not necessarily Sean Parker.

    It is also true that you are odds of success for an Internet business are higher if you are the developer yourself. You have an idea, you can then build it 24/7 until it is done, refine it and launch it (Zuckerberg). Rather than trying to raise some cash or chancing your arm with a developer or agency that they will execute your idea as you perceive it and work more than 7.5 hours a day on it. (Winklevoss Twins). Look at the people at the heads of most successful Internet business.

    Any thoughts?

    Chris Ward

  • GlennFriesen

    Biting commentary! Hilarious ending.

    "In the digital world, borders are permeable" and the other Dale Carnegie-esque quotes about entrepreneurship seem to be written to inspire the college freshman in business school. That's not a bad thing, considering the hordes indulging in apathy out there.

    Perhaps we're just the wrong audience?

  • Douglas Baerlein

    Austin -- my thoughts exactly. I read his article on CNBC and it was like my brain couldn't process any of the words he had written...it was all meaningless. Keep it comin' dude.