Got around to seeing The Social Network this past weekend. While the flick has gotten rave critical reviews (93% on Flixster), the question of what percentage of the movie is true has also gotten a lot of discussion in the blogosphere.
One thing that can be agreed upon is that is an entertaining movie and well worth $10 (or $11 with Fandango). The move topped the box office for the second straight weekend and has grossed $46M in less than two weeks. If you haven't seen it yet, can check out the trailer below.
I did a little searching around the web to try and find a truth vs. fiction comparison, but the closest I found was "The 10 Most Glaring Lies In 'The Social Network'" on the Business Insider. However, most of these are so minor that it is difficult to argue that they don't fall under artistic license. For example, the movie shows Sean Parker (a stellar performance by Justin Timberlake) arrested for cocaine possession at Stanford. According to the Business Insider, he was actually arrested in a different place and time. Co-founder Dustin Moscovitz is referred to as a programmer, but he is actually an operations guy. Aaron Sorkin sure missed that one (insert sarcasm here)...
Of course, they left off one of the biggest inaccuracies in the entire film, which my wife noticed right away. Several weeks after Zuckerberg and the team move to Palo Alto for the summer, co-founder Eduardo Saverin finally pays a visit. Zuckerberg forgets to pick him up at the airport and Saverin shows up at the front door dripping wet with rain pouring down. As my wife said, who would ever believe it raining in Palo Alto in the summer? She was also amused by Disney actress (Brenda Song of the Suite Life of Zack and Cody) having sex in the men's room of a Cambridge bar.
Did I mention how great Timberlake was? The scenes in the NY restaurant, Stanford dorm room, and Facebook office were some of the funniest in the whole movie. Got me thinking back to one of the best start-up pitches I ever saw. It was early in 2005 and the company was Facebook. Sean Parker showed up about an hour late and gave an incredibly compelling pitch about the business, growth, etc. Unfortunately, wasn't an opportunity to invest at the time.
Ok, so what are the lessons here.
- Be careful what you write in email, chat or text. It could come back and hit you in the face during a deposition
- Make sure that your co-founders have the right skills and commitment before doling out equity. Also, be sure to include vesting for all founders.
- If there are any promises (written, verbal or otherwise) regarding equity, address early rather than later.
- Once you become rich and/or famous, anyone you have wronged throughout your life will surface