From what I’ve heard, The Social Network is a great film, and with David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin working on it, I’m not surprised. However, from the day the first trailer hit, it’s always had a strong scent of Hollywood bullsh*ttiness about it. I mean really, children’s choirs? Drawing equations on a window? A little melo D for a movie about a nerd who started a website, no? Anyway, Nicholas Carlson wrote a piece for Business Insider and Gawker today which purports to tell the story of how Ben Mezrich’s book, The Accidental Billionaires, and the movie based on it came to be.
The only reason The Accidental Billionaires exists is because one of Mark’s Facebook co-founders pitched the book to Mezrich in an attempt to permanently damage Mark’s reputation. According to those sources, that cofounder and Harvard student is Eduardo Saverin. [...]
Eventually, sources say, Eduardo decided to attack Mark’s reputation.
He approached Ben Mezrich – the author of Bringing Down The House, a book about how a group of MIT students made it big in Vegas. Bringing Down The House makes its characters out to be rock stars and scoundrels; the Facebook book, Accidental Billionaires, does the same. The upcoming movie based on the book features cocaine, models, and dark, moody, lighting from the director who brought you Fight Club. It’s a character assassination.
So it’s not very realistic, then? All girls that go to Stanford don’t look like this? I refuse to believe that. Next you’ll tell me Rudy didn’t really show that good-fer-nuthin coach that hobbits can play football.
The full article is pretty long, but I did my best to condense it for you:
But then Eduardo did something that really pissed Mark off: He ran unauthorized ads on Facebook. Worse, the ads were for a startup Eduardo was running entirely on his own, a job boards site called Joboozle.
Mark flamed Eduardo for this in an email:
“You developed Joboozle knowing that at some point Facebook would probably want to do something with jobs. This was pretty surprising to us, because you basically made something on the side that will end up competing with Facebook and that’s pretty bad by itself. But putting ads up on Facebook to advertise it, especially for free, is just mean.”
Ya done Joboozle’d be again, Zuckerberg! Curses!
What was hard, however, was getting Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin’s attention, getting him to make a decision, and getting him to sign off on the reformation of Facebook as a company under Delaware law – a crucial step before any funding deals could be completed.
At one point, Mark emailed Eduardo to offer him frequent flyer miles if it would get him out to Palo Alto [from New York, where he was interning at Lehman Brothers]. Eduardo didn’t take the offer. The situation soon became critical, because without financing, TheFacebook.com would end up running on Zuckerberg family loans.
Eventually, Mark decided to solve the problem by cutting Eduardo out of the company. The only problem was: How would Mark cut Facebook’s third-biggest stakeholder and co-founder out of the company?
His plan: Reduce Eduardo’s stake in TheFacebook.com by creating a new company, a Delaware corporation, to acquire the old company (the Florida LLC formed in April), and then distribute new shares in the new company to everybody but Eduardo. Mark discussed this plan with confidants over IM several times.
“Eduardo is refusing to co-operate at all…We basically now need to sign over our intellectual property to a new company and just take the lawsuit…I’m just going to cut him out and then settle with him. And he’ll get something I’m sure, but he deserves something…He has to sign stuff for investments and he’s lagging and I can’t take the lag.”
The jilted Eduardo grew bitter. At one point, he reached out to Cameron Winklevoss, Tyler Winklevoss, and Divvya Narendra – the Harvard students who allege that Mark Zuckerberg stole their idea for the company in the first place.
At which point Eduardo approached Ben Mezrich, etc. etc. So, if I could recap: a couple of Harvard guys started a Harvard-y website, but eventually wound up bickering about Harvard-y stuff and had a falling out. You caught me, Sony. I would much rather watch the version about models and groupies and cocaine and Justin Timberlake.