The Social Network and the Seven Deadly Sins


The Social Network touches on just about every one of the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, envy, and revenge, with a little lust, gluttony and sloth thrown in for good measure. Like any good fable it serves up some pretty obvious morals about relationships and business.

1. Hell hath no fury like a lustful hacker scorned.
2. Envy makes it easier to justify less than ethical behavior (Note to self: write down and date the details of the idea, make sure a non-compete is signed before revealing the details, and invite the tech guy all the way into the club or meet somewhere else.)
3. Hubris makes communication and conflict resolution nearly impossible. In the scene between the Winklevoss twins and the Dean, hubris oozes from both sides of the desk.

4. Greed wrecks the cool factor. Eduardo dismisses Sean’s perceptive advice out of fear, impatience, and jealousy.
5. Cool stops being cool as soon as you’re proud of how cool it is. Sean’s hipper-than-thou persona became really wearing.
6. He may be talented and connected but Sean is opportunistic and puts his own interests first.
7. Creativity fueled by sex, drugs, and videogames will strengthen credibility and increase control for the supplier of said fuel. Sean understands this.
8. If you are on a train headed for success, stay on the train even when you don’t get to set the route. Eduardo can’t let go of his own agenda.
9. Do not register surprise when betrayal creates animosity, costs money, and dismantles relationships. Whatever the influences and reasons, Mark decides to betray his friendship with Eduardo.
10. Remember that an advisor who advises betrayal may later advise someone to betray you. Remember, it’s just business, Mark.

As storytelling The Social Network is a modern fable about several self-centered, ambitious, flawed young men grappling for control of a great idea. As a dramatized biography it paints a rather uncomplimentary picture of Mark Zuckerberg, Sean Parker, Eduardo Saverin, and the Winklevoss twins, all of whom are making decisions and dealing with success in their early twenties. We do not know what kind of men these guys will become but this very early chapter in their lives has been publically interpreted for posterity.

In a recent New York Magazine Article Inventing Facebook the author points out “you don’t have to be particularly sympathetic to Zuckerberg to understand his likely horror at having an entire set of motives, flaws, and vulnerabilities so publicly and permanently ascribed to him.” Inventing Facebook quoted screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s justification for his artistic choices, “I dramatized the fact that there were conflicting stories.” It seems unlikely we’ll ever know exactly what happened between these men.

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