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Here’s Hoping For A “The Social Network” Effect

The Social Network

(Left to right) Andrew Garfield, Joseph Mazzello, Jesse Eisenberg and Patrick Maple - playing Eduardo Severin, Dustin Moskovitz, Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes, respectively - in "The Social Network."

Come October 28, Columbia Pictures’ The Social Network – released in the United States on October 1 – will play across cinemas in Singapore. Based upon the book “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook” by Ben Mezrich, the movie explores the story of the creation of the world’s largest social networking site Facebook and its principal founder (and the world’s youngest billionaire), Mark Zuckerberg.

I first had a glimpse of the history of Zuckerberg and Facebook when I read Sarah Lacy‘s “Once You’re Lucky, Twice You’re Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.o“. Zuckerberg’s meteoric rise as the new Internet rajah is nothing short of amazing, but I’m pretty sure writer Aaron Sorkin and director David Fincher – who helmed movies such as “Seven“, “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button” – took some creative liberties in the telling of the story in this movie. We’ll probably never know how much of it is truth and how much is conjecture, but one thing is for sure – the movie is already changing how people view the social networking site.

The Social Network is not a movie for everybody – my wife, who came along with me for the movie sneak preview, thought she wasted two hours of her life watching the life of ‘an annoying one-dimensional jerk with zero EQ’. “There are plenty of such people around in real life,” she declared. Anybody – especially of the social media stripe – who thinks of watching the movie to learn about the evolution of the Internet and the explosive rise of social media in recent times will also likely go away disappointed.

What the movie does have in boatloads, however, are great lessons for current and aspiring entrepreneurs (and you can read 13 of these lessons here). The movie sears into you especially the importance of finding the right partners in a startup founding team, and highlights some of the many challenges and threats that a growing startup will face. If you’re not of the entrepreneurial sort, there are even interesting  marketing lessons you can derive from it.

What I want to know is this – after the movie is over, when the is popcorn eaten and the credits roll – will The Social Network spur an entire new generation of bright-eyed wannabe entrepreneurs who want to go out and do something to change the world for the better? As I stepped out after the movie ended, I ran into blogger and founder of social media agency GOODSTUPH Pat Law. The first thing she said to me – “Doesn’t this make you feel so poor?”

Yes it does, Pat. And I’m hoping that makes everybody who watches this feel the same way as well.

And then maybe we’d get off our asses and do something about it.

A big thank-you to Sony Pictures Singapore for the invitation to the sneak movie preview.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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