Saturday, October 2, 2010
The Social Network
The year was 1986. (Mark Zuckerberg was two years old.) I was honored to be sent by my company to CADRE, the National ADR Users Group meeting. ADR was swallowed up by a bigger database company a few years later, but at the time, I considered myself the data bigot, the one in charge of relational database design. I had come up through the ranks as a programmer, my coding days were over, but I was still, the super-geek, super-geek. (Apologies to Rick James.)
The keynote speaker at CADRE that year was Bill Gates, a senior citizen at age 30, and he talked about his new operating system, Windows. The audience was other main-frame geeks like me, who were fascinated with the future of PC development as described by Gates. We had not even heard of the internet yet. I remember Bill Gates was a nerd, but he had a certain charm, a self-deprecating humor, that kept his audience enthralled with his vision of the world to come.
Fast-forward to 2004, the Harvard dorm room of Mark Zuckerberg. If you believe the movie which claims to be fiction, he's the ultimate nerd with no social skills, no scruples, no morals, and after building a site with 500 million users, has no friends.
I thought I was going to get a nap during the movie...it's been one of those weeks when I couldn't get a nap. But it kept my attention every minute. And who else was in the Friday matinee, but other old geeks, probable Facebook members like me. I suppose some might have been wondering how they missed the chance to be a billionaire.
If you've seen the trailers, you know the movie chronicles the building of Facebook, intertwined with the depositions of the lawsuits that follow. Did he really stiff his best friend, his only friend, who put up the start-up money? They settled the lawsuit with an undisclosed amount. And did he really print those business cards? (Apologies again to Rick James)
I've seen a few interviews with Zuckerberg, and Jesse Eisenberg who plays him, has him nailed...the obsessive talking, the fidgeting, the lack of eye-contact...spot-on.
Justin Timberlake was impressive as a sleazy Sean Parker, the founder of Napster.
I give the movie three stars.