The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, was for me the most important movie of this millenium for entrepreneurs. Having now watched this drama 5 times, and no doubt I will watch it a few times more - I am not only inspired by the makings of facebook, but I am also enamoured with rejuvenated enthusiasm for building a business that reaches millions of people in one way or another.
The phenomenal acting prowess of Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg, Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin and Justin Timberlake in playing one of Napster's co-founders was thought provoking. The director David Fincher pushed this movie to a point where I doubt any buddying entrepreneur would not have walked away from it with a touch of envy (how does one build a business that smart?), a few lesson learnt (everything in writing and read every single contract thorough with your own lawyer on hand) and a sense of business reality (everyone is out to get what they can out of you). It's a smart movie about some incredibly bright people. They are geniuses who like Bill Gates, knew what the next best thing was going to be and built it. No mucking around. They just went out there, wrote some code, found some cash and built a business. Probably the most successful and engaged business of today.
They had everyone talking, and even I tried to ignore the facebook phenomenon but as I am in marketing, there was a point whereby I couldn't just pretend it wasn't happening. People were inviting me to be friends on facebook when it was first launched and I could not delete the invitation quick enough. Twitter was the same. But here I am, facebooking everyone, tweeting about everything from life to business and engaging with people I have never met, but who are like minded and add value to my life in a way I could never have imagined.
The Social Network is more than just about the founding of the social networking site facebook that resulted in lawsuits. It's about having an idea that may or may not stem from something someone else has triggered, and believing in it so much that you are prepared to sacrifice everything. Not that that is necessarily a good thing and not for a moment do I think that it is honourable if there is any truth stemming from this movie in relation to Eduardo Saverin and the twins - but it tells something about human spirit and entrepreneurship. How many really successful entrepreneurs have heaps of friends that are not friends because of the toys they may own or the notoriority of their business celebrity.
I see it all the time in business whereby people say they are friends with so and so, and they are so proud to be associated in some way with someone successful. And so they should be. We need to be proud of the leaders who showcase what a great entrepreneur can do. That push boundaries and deliver phenomenon after phenomenon.
For me, The Social Network is about reaching people. How do you get your brand out to your target audience and beyond through word of mouth? What can you do to have everyone talking about your brand and using it in everyday conversation like Google, Facebook and Twitter? Word of mouth marketing is so powerful and it easy to see why, when you look at facebook and its counterparts.
Today, I have woken up with a new sense of being. I want to be an entrepreneur who brings change to my industry. Someone who's brand is talked about long after any point of contact. A brand that people not only share with friends and other businesses, but one that they believe in and want to be part of.
Must go... I have a small business marketing consultancy to build that is going to be absolutely awesome. You wait and see!
P.S. The dream of building a billion dollar empire might be a fantasy, but everyone needs something to strive for. Right?