“Watching this movie makes you want to run from the theatre, grab your laptop and build your own empire. You’ve got the ability. If you’re not starting, it’s sour grapes, you just don’t believe in yourself enough, you’re just not motivated enough.” – Bob Lefsetz
At this point, I would imagine that most people who read this blog have already seen “The Social Network.”. But for those that haven’t, “The Social Network” is the “Facebook Movie”… the fact / fiction story of how Mark Zuckerberg built one of the world’s most popular properties, becoming the youngest billionaire in the world in the process.
Now the aforementioned quote by Bob Lefsetz is about that very story of Facebook. Lefsetz is one the leading commentators in the music industry and he makes the point that techies have become the new rock stars. As he writes in his latest post:
“That’s what rock stars used to do. Beholden to no one, they spoke their inner truths and moved generations. Now, that’s left to techies. The public enters the information, but the techies create a game, a framework that enriches lives and themselves at the same time.”
That is a pretty remarkable statement and one I couldn’t agree with more. Before I started my career at P&G, I actually spent time in the music industry working for Aware Records. This was around the time that the music and technology industries were colliding with the rise of Napster. When I think back to those days, no one in the music industry would have believed that today the tech world would have a bigger impact on pop culture than MTV. And they sure wouldn’t believe that a movie about a twenty-something coder would be the recipe for a box office success.
Yet that is exactly what is happening. Fifteen years from now we might just look back and realize this movie inspired our next great generation of entrepreneurs. If that happens, it would not be without precedence. After all, how many stock traders in the 90′s were inspired by the movie Wall Street and it’s mantra of “greed is good”? Or how many future baseball players were inspired Field of Dreams… or Major League for that matter.
The recession was already emerging as an amazing opportunity for start-ups and entrepreneurs all across the globe. The Social Network is only going to add to this entrepreneurial flame. While you can argue how accurate of a portrayal the movie is of what really happened with Facebook, you cannot argue the catalyst potential of the movie.
It’s a catalyst I saw first hand as I left the theatre Saturday night. You could feel the pulse of the crowd as the movie ended. There is no doubt in my mind that more than a few of those movie goers left the theatre that night to start brainstorming on the back of napkins how they could be the next Facebook.