I loved the movie, Social Network.
When I came out of the cinema I was buzzing.
But my son was down.
He said he found it depressing, the way Mark Zuckerberg had screwed his friend, and fellow Facebook founder, Eduardo Saverin.
I hadn’t seen it that way.
What I saw was a movie about what it takes to be successful.
It takes a willingness to go through, or crawl over, any barriers.
Like a tank.
Zuckerberg was willing to do that, Saverin wasn’t.
Zuckerberg wanted to go fast, Saverin didn’t.
So Zuckerberg went ahead without Saverin.
Saverin got left behind.
He feels he got screwed.
But the alternative was for Zuckerberg to slow down to the speed Saverin wanted to go at.
Which would, at best, have been a much, much smaller success.
So Zuckerberg sidelined Saverin.
He cut him adrift.
I thought the film had a happy-ish ending.
After the lawsuit, Saverin walked away with a billion dollars.
That’s a thousand – million dollars.
All for a twenty grand investment.
Who wouldn’t be happy with that kind of return?
“You give me twenty grand now, and later on I’ll force you out of the company, but you’ll get a billion dollars. What do you say, are you in?”
Any one of us would have bitten Zuckerberg’s arm off.
What I liked about the film was that it wasn’t about right or wrong.
It wasn’t the normal melodramatic Hollywood good guys and bad guys.
It was all about getting a result.
And it was about what you are prepared to do to get that result.
It was about what works and what doesn’t work.
Which isn’t synonymous with right and wrong.
Isaac Newton is remembered as one of the most brilliant people in history.
His great rival was Robert Hooke.
Hooke was one of the most important scientists and mathematicians of The Enlightenment.
But today Hooke is almost forgotten.
We don’t even know what he looked like.
Why is that?
Why aren’t there any pictures of Hooke?
Apparently he once accused Newton of stealing some of his ideas.
Newton never forgot or forgave.
Newton succeeded Robert Hooke as Chairman of The Royal Society.
He had all the examples of Hooke’s work destroyed.
He had all the portraits of Hooke destroyed.
As far as he could, he erased Robert Hooke from history.
Gottfried Leibniz was one of the great philosophers and mathematicians of The Enlightenment.
He invented calculus.
He published it before Newton, and his system was superior.
When Newton later published his system, Leibniz accused him of plagiarism.
Newton never forgot or forgave.
He used his influence to have Leibniz ostracised and ridiculed.
Leibniz died a pauper.
No one knows where Hooke or Leibniz are buried.
But everyone knows where Newton is buried: Westminster Abbey.
It isn’t that there isn’t any such thing as right and wrong.
It’s that they have nothing to do with getting a result.
It’s like expecting the morally superior team to win in a football match.
Who wins the match is the team that scores more goals.
However they score more goals.
And moaning about the result afterwards won’t change anything.
After World War Two, Hermann Goering was being tried at Nuremberg.
When he was found guilty, he was asked if he had anything to say.
He said “What is the point? The victor always makes the rules.”
Then he swallowed a cyanide capsule and died.
He understood it’s a waste of time debating right and wrong.
End of story.
New Yorkers understand this.
It’s summed up by a cartoon in New Yorker magazine.
A patient is lying on the psychiatrist’s couch.
He’s obviously just finished unburdening himself to the psychiatrist.
Divulging his deepest, darkest secrets
His fears, his regrets, his missed opportunities, his thwarted intentions, his unfulfilled expectations.
The psychiatrist simply looks up and uses an old New York expression.
He says “Yeah, yeah, yeah: “Coulda – Woulda – Shoulda”.”