The Social Network was potboilery fun: crisp, witty, and beautiful. Fun especially if you’re building web technology as the film pointed a sliver of mirror at our heart’s toil during the “wget” scene.
Some are upset about the movie’s historical fuzziness or purported message. Lessig, for one, is sad about what the movie didn’t address. To his point, yeah, a movie about the magic of the Internet would be one I’d watch. But, look, since no part of the movie attempts to describe the Internet’s role in disintermediation and its lowering barriers of entry, it seems beside the point to say they makers of the film missed something and more accurate to say they were trying to explore something else entirely.
Of course, it’s not cut and dried what message, if any, was being explored. We can’t just trust Word of God. Who knows what exactly the film wanted us to think, but it’s fun to guess what it might be trying to have us think. Maybe it’s this…?
If the thing that prevented the creation of billion-dollar businesses was labor, technology, and capital + a great idea, what now happens when the costs of creation and maintenance become low enough that the only thing left to prevent massive, global success is the great idea?
I like that the movie explores possible changes in (business) tactics and their ethical quandaries. What happens if the value of an idea and the time-to-market suddenly matter even more than they did? If the technical know-how becomes easier to acquire, markets might reward those who are even better at idea prevention, execution suppression, and other techniques used to smother competitive incubations particularly as performed via social/personal relationships.
To be clear, I don’t know if that’s where we’re at. Seriously, I don’t. Fiction can make beautiful delusions seems like facts and the movie is highly dramatized (read: it ain’t true) but I sure like that it has me thinking about these things.
(Something else I’m thinking about: why didn’t the Saverin character take a cab or call Mark when waiting at the airport? I like that this helps suggest how he may have often failed to take the initiative in his own life where Facebook was concerned.)