I went to watch “The Social Network” a few weekends ago (about a little site called Facebook), and the movie highlighted some of the struggles of making a company. I took away several lessons that I’d like to share with you.
Note: I have spoilers so I’m assuming you’ve seen the movie, and I’m only examining the movie characters that happen to be based on real people, and not the real life details of what actually happened.
Choose Your Partner Wisely
The best partners are the ones that strengths are opposite to your own, or they have alot of money. In the case of Facebook founders, Mark Zuckerberg’s social awkwardness was overshadowed by Edaurdo Saverin’s social smoothness.
The partnerships I’ve seen that work well are when a creative person is hooked up with a business oriented person. One handles the creative aspects of the business, and the other cuts the checks, and makes the deals happen. One wears a suit 24/7, and the other thinks it’s casual friday, everyday.
Business is Business
My mentor always tells me “In business, you have no friends, you have no family, so treat all business interactions as such.” Saverin trusted his friend, and didn’t think that he would backstab him as he did, but then again, he deserved it if he didn’t’ read the contracts carefully.
So always read the contracts, no matter who you’re dealing with.
Choose Your Mentors Wisely
When it comes to business mentors, choose someone related to your field and that has experience in it. You want to get a different/third perspective that’s different from you and your partner. The Facebook founders found Sean Parker, who was an asset in helping navigate Facebook’s growth.
Bad Habits Die Hard
People are creatures of habit, so if they have bad habits, its usually hard to get rid of them. In this case, Mark knew that Napster creator Sean Parker had a history of being a bad boy, but he ignored that fact and let him join the Facebook team. Sean then got caught with cocaine, so Facebook had to let him go.
Stealing is Not Inspiration
There’s a blurry line between stealing and inspiration. Typically, if you hear someone’s idea and you create something similar, but just change the name, then that’s stealing. Lets say your friend tells you he wants to make an application that updates everyone on your list and calls it Twitter. You then go behind his back and make the same thing but call it Chirping. That is stealing.