THE SOCIAL NETWORK- AN INSIGHT

Daksh- Build things that matter.
7 min readAug 16, 2020
The Social Network

Why this movie and why is it special?

” The social network” talks about Facebook, its exponential growth and also how Mark Zuckerberg as an entrepreneur worked his way through it to establish a profitable company. This movie is not just a biography of Mark but it also talks about the inception of the social media giant Facebook and how it disrupted the friendship between people who were responsible for its creation.

In this movie, Facemash which is a prototype to Facebook created only for Stanford students was banned. It is a site which compares and makes the user vote for more attractive woman and all data is not collected with the consent of those individuals. One cannot help but draw parallels between this incident and the numerous privacy disputes Facebook has encountered with the most recent one being the Cambridge Analytica Scandal.

Being a film, it has some funny sides of its own. One such scene is where Zuckerberg goes late to a meeting with Sequoia wearing pajamas and says he overslept. He also explained why Sequoia shouldn’t invest in Facebook and felt bad for it later. One another scene is where Mark’s business card reads “I’m CEO b*tch”. But in reality, he printed 2 varieties of business cards one said “CEO” while the other read “I’m CEO b*tch”. These are some incidents which aren’t well known and were part of a long journey which Facebook underwent before becoming a tech giant.

Plot summary

“You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies”, the official tagline accurately sums up the movie” The Social Network” directed by David Fincher adapted from the book “The accidental billionaires” by Ben Mezrich. It is about the journey of computer science sophomore- Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook who he co-founded with his only friend Eduardo Saverin from the halls of Harvard to the cubicles of Palo Alto portrayed through flashbacks via his deposition of two concurrent law suit hearings involving the former and the Winkelevoss twins.

Reception

“The Social Network” was chosen by the National Board of Review as the best film of 2010. At the 83rd Academy Awards, it received eight nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor, and won three: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing. It also received awards-Best Motion Picture — Drama, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Original Score at the 68th Golden Globe Awards. In 2016, it was voted 27th among 100 films considered the best of the 21st century by 117 international film critics. The movie scored a rating of 7.7/10 on IMDb, 96% on rotten tomatoes and 95/100 on Metacritic. At the end of its theatrical run, the film grossed $97 million in the United States and $128 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $224.9 million. DVD sales totalled up to $13,470,305.

Why David Fincher was the perfect director for “the social network”

Fincher is a perfectionist and portrays only the best on screen. Aaron Sorkin(screenwriter) said that Scott Rudin(producer) and David Fincher(director) were two of the toughest, most creatively driven guys in the business.

David Fincher and Scott Rudin are fantastic at what they do. But, Scott Rudin is a very demanding person, he may not speak to you the way you’d like to be spoken to. Likewise, David is both a perfectionist and a demanding man. He is a truly phenomenal artist, with no affect, no pretension, but with a great eye, and uncompromising.

The director and line producer prepare the estimated budget by going through every scene, the studio does the same thing with their in-house producer. Those two numbers are going to be far apart, and there is a negotiation to find your way in the middle. David Fincher quoted $41 million and the studio quoted $30 million. And he said “listen, you think I’m negotiating with you? I’m telling you, the price of this movie is $41 million. That’s what it costs to make this movie. I don’t want to make the $40.5 million version of the movie”. David said, “Well, I can cut $125,000 out of your budget right away, because we’re not doing any test screenings but I can’t reduce the budget any further.”

An average screenplay is about 120 pages long. The Social Network was 178 pages, and the studio asked David to cut 30 pages from the script and David said “NO! I must be a two-hour film”. This shows that David and his crew are uncompromising, obsessed with perfection and can’t accept any excuses. If David says it can be done better, there is scope for improvement and he won’t take no for an answer.

Working with Fincher and his team is demanding and onerous. After working extremely hard and accepting only the best, they presented the “The Social Network” in the exact way David wanted and with no compromises, whose results are conspicuously visible in the end product.

David Fincher

Unique narration and takeaways

This movie isn’t a biopic and is factually incorrect for the most. This movie emphasizes on the importance of emotional connections. Mark is portrayed as a narcissist and arrogant person who cannot accept the fact that someone is better than him. He is considered an outcast since he cannot comprehend people and connect with them and was thus rejected by society. He does everything by his instinct and takes all decisions impulsively.

“How can you distinguish people who all got 1600 on their SAT?” is the first question he asks Erica. Mark always tries to distinguish himself from others and the movie explains the toll he and the others pay because of his obsession. He tells Erica that she doesn’t have to study because she goes to Boston U and calls her delusional because she said she likes people who crew. Before getting probation, he claims that he deserves recognition, walks out of class and writes “I’m CEO b*tch” on his business card. He wears flip-flops and casual clothes to important business meetings and the courtroom, recruits people after getting them drunk and always behaves in a rude and insensitive manner. He says “You have part of my attention; you have the minimum amount” to Eduardo’s lawyers. All these instances show that other’s opinion meant very little to him.

The film is driven by Mark’s ambition (which is driven by anger) to outsmart others. Also, the first and the last scene of the movie are connected. In the beginning, he wants to get accepted by Erica and couldn’t handle the rejection, which led to the creation of Facebook. In the end, he wanted Erica to accept his friend request on Facebook and hopes to be an emotional human being and get accepted by society. This movie follows an anti-hero’s journey: rise to power, downfall and redemption. For 1:55:00 hrs Mark has been a bad guy and has no real friends. Only in the last 5 minutes, he wants to seek atonement and get accepted by the society.

10 things we learn from this movie and how to apply it successfully in real life

· Necessity is the mother of invention and not getting what you want can be a blessing: If Mark hadn’t been rejected that night, Facebook might not exist today. What others view as pain points are viewed as opportunities by entrepreneurs.

· Always be the smartest guy in the room- Jesse Eisenberg said the exact words while playing Daniel Atlas in his next movie: Now you see me. Can’t stress enough on this point. Mark always had the confidence and presented himself as a leader.

· “You don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies”- You can’t keep everyone happy.When you are successful, you become a target. Get used to critics and haters.Sometimes they have really good things to say and can help you grow.

· There are no original ideas -It’s not about who has an idea but who can execute it. Business ideas are protected by IP rights. Always sign legal documents before explaining your idea to others.

· Sometimes there are more important things in life than school- Dropping out isn’t the safest bet but do it if you have confidence in your idea and feel you have what it takes to be successful. Many dropouts have been successful in life.

· Change can happen fast- The phase “from idea to execution” doesn’t have to be forever. Zuckerberg is living proof that with enough vision, talent and hard work, you can change your life in the blink of an eye. If you have an idea, don’t wait on it. Throw yourself into it.

· Content and community first, revenue second- Zuckerberg’s decision to not jump into ads in the beginning is inspiring. Sean Parker’s analogy of having all the little fish versus the big fish is correct. Keep the bigger vision and shoot for the big fish.

· Don’t screw over your friends- Money changes people. Don’t be that person. Prioritize friendships over money. Money is fugacious in nature but friendships are long-lasting and priceless.

· Today’s blunders can hurt you tomorrow- Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Always think about the consequences before taking decisions. Deciding impulsively doesn’t usually give the best result.

· Collaborate with your peers- Unity is strength. And all professional environments expect individuals to work in teams. Putting the benefit of others before individual needs is important to understand and even harder to implement. Maintaining good relationships with peers is a necessary and avoidance of Mark’s traits in these would help.

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