08 December 2010

It's Good To Be An Asshole.

David Fincher telling Mark Zuckerberg’s story was the only reason I watched The Social Network. David Fincher is the man behind superb films like Se7en, Fight Club and Zodiac. All his films have a great screenplay and precise editing which makes the whole experience almost error-free.

The screenplay has been adapted from a bestselling book called The Accidental Billionaires.

I haven’t read the book, but I did watch the movie. Jesse Eisenberg has brilliantly enacted Mark Zuckerberg as a sly, shrewd, heartless and a con man like entrepreneur. Zuckerberg is portrayed as a loner who has just Eduardo Saverin as the lone friend at Harvard, whom he allegedly cheats.

As the film ended I just couldn’t stop thinking about Zuckerberg.
  •        He is the youngest billionaire in the world and has no ‘friends’ and owns a website where people have hundreds of ‘friends’.
  •         He was ruthless in his conquest of making facebook the biggest social network in the world.
  •         His idea taking shape in reality drove him to work day and night.
  •         He didn’t mind being in the grey area.
Unfortunately, most of the people will end up believing that he was an asshole and crossed every limit to achieve his dream.

The Winklevoss twins and Divya Narendra alleged that Zuckerberg stole their idea from their concept of a Harvard.edu social network. I don’t think so. It was a lame idea! Like any other cry babies with no substance, they managed to get a US $65 million payout.

Zuckerberg allegedly cheated Eduardo Saverin off his equity stake in the company. Today Eduardo owns 5% of facebook. Most people label Zuckerberg as an asshole for this precise reason that he back stabbed his lone best friend by cheating him. But going by the portrayal of Saverin in The Social Network, he was a worthless CFO and did not deserve the original 30% stake. His only contribution was the start up money. Zuckerberg was a visionary, not Saverin.

Why am I ranting about Zuckerberg’s antics? The answer is because we need to give a little thought to the underlying philosophical question of good and bad and right and wrong.

We need to understand that good and bad and right and wrong are relative terms. There is no absolute. There are some obvious wrongs like, murder, but sometimes murder can be relative and can be termed good. It all depends which side of the fence you are sitting. For example, a policeman killing a terrorist is not considered a murder by the law. Similarly the terrorist organization killing a policeman is not a murder. For both the party, it’s good riddance of the other ‘bad’ party. Did you get my point?

So this way all good and bad and right and wrong is relative.

And then there are people who are perpetually in the grey area. For them nothing is right and wrong. They are the rebels who cannot conform and can point out the whites (good) when the society tells them that it’s black (bad).

Right at the start, Zuckerberg is shown to create facemash.com, where he hacks into girl students’ profiles and asks the viewers to rate them on their ‘hotness’. Eventually when he is presented in front of the disciplinary committee and is asked to make an opening statement in his defense, he says that he has already apologized to all and he would like some recognition for his work. He says that he has pointed out some gaping flaws in Harvard‘s security system.

That’s what I’m talking about.

Also, Zuckerberg is shown to be a very hardworking, diligent and passionate guy. This is a very important trait that a lot of people missed. It was probably suppressed under the weight of  the display of his asshole-ness.

Every great entrepreneur has a similar ‘My way or the highway’ attitude. Other tech entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison to name a few are known to be ruthless since their young days when they weren’t world changers. They just had an idea to change the world and their attitude that got them where they are today.  And yes, they were and still are hardworking and passionate about what they do. 

The world is a worse than the jungle. These people know that they need to be ruthless to stay ahead in the game. They want to change the world with their idea. If they really gave a fuck about what would the world think, then they wouldn’t be the people they are today. As Nike says, ‘Just Do It’, they did it and we just keep on thinking…

Had they been thinking about rights and wrongs, they would have been writing some blog or reading it! (I just couldn’t help slapping myself here!)

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