Recently, I re-watched The Social Network (yes, the 2010 David Fincher movie). Of course, I watched it from a new perspective. It is a one of its kind film that tells the story of early days of Facebook, and how Zuckerberg allegedly stole the idea of Facebook from twin brothers Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, the Olympic rowers, and as shown in the film, the ones who hired Mark Zuckerberg to code a social networking site. As luck would have it, Zuckerberg never responded their emails after agreeing to code, and launched Facebook (The Facebook at that time). The film conspicuously shows the twins suing Zuckerberg for stealing the idea.
Moreover, it also throws light on how Zuckerberg humiliatingly ousted earlier co-founder and seed investor Eduardo Saverin, who also ends up filing a lawsuit. Though the film doesn’t show, both the parties in real life won their lawsuits.
So, that brings to the question. Was Zuckerberg the genius that we look up to him as, or was he a wily fox who copied ideas and chose sides strategically to build one of the largest companies in this planet?
In another Movie, Jobs, starring brilliant Aston Kutcher, throws light on the other side of the brilliant innovator. While it also depicts the early years of Steve Jobs, it also unabashedly, in one scene, shows how Jobs uses the talent of Steve Wozniak while working at Atari, and claims to be his work. It is a far cry from the innovator Jobs as we know. It shows his shrewd side selling computers and company at inflated cost, and dissolving early founders. While I will not get into details, as Jobs was actually an entrepreneurial genius, it does show the dark side of a bright man.
In both these stories of Jobs and Zuckerberg, there is enough dupe, politics and manipulation. Do we believe that entrepreneurs resort to unconstitutional methods to survive, thrive and scale, or is it a necessary evil? After all, we remember the kings, not the soldiers.