The Social Network is the movie of the year or the decade perhaps. For, while its direction masterful, it was the subtext of the story of Facebook so reflective of the last decade that enticed me
“They dont want you, they want your idea”
The rise of Facebook symbolise the pinnacle prominence of idea, over shadowing everything else. Dont get me wrong, ideas has always been prized since Schumpeter wrote Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy and popularise the term creative destruction. But, never before has the value of ideas so convincingly trumps all other factors of production. In the information age where Facebook inhibits, credit are plenty, labor are cheap, land are irrelevant and raw material unneeded. Karl Marx will be rolling in his grave. With the Facebook idea, Mark Zuckerberg was able to attract troves of talent and cash. Google had the same quality, but Facebook surpass it. It took about a year for google to receive their first hundred thousand dollar from an angel investor, but for Faceoobk it only took four months before it was showered with five hundred thousand cold cold cash. Facebook was worth 15 billion in 2007, two years before it could even turn a profit. Google was worth 23 billion in 2004 after it 3 years of continuous profitability. How time have changed in such short notice.
“A million dollar isn’t cool, do you know what’s cool, its a billion dollar”
Cash, and lots of it. For the majority of 2000s, Americans were swimming in pool of cash fill by the low Federal Reserve interest rate and Asian savings. Without all this cheap money, Facebook would probably never have raise finance the way it did. The decade was an bubble economy, people and banks were over-leveraging, buying houses and making financial bets that they cant afford. The mountain of wealth built on a house of cards came crushing down and drove us to near depression in 2008. We survive the crush to live with the consequence.
“Relationship status: it’s complicated”
Google Earth, Wikipedia, Second Life, Four Square, Wikileaks and a lot of last ten years was about the digitalization of our reality. Our reality because its base on our perspective. With social media like Facebook we even digitalize our social relationships. In a sense, this should not alarm us, because it bough us back to where we were for most of human existence until the the mass urbanization during the industrial age. We were people of small villages of hundreds rather than mega-cities of hundreds of millions. Everybody knows everybody in small villages, reputation were important. No as much so in mega-cities, you can hook-up with a different girl every night in New York without any of them ever knowing each other. Social media, Facebook in particular reverse that trend. Now people fear getting tagged on Facebook in places or people they dont want to be seen with, and receiving friend request from their mothers. Employer check you up before you are hired. Now, internet reputation is as important as village reputation was.
In the decade of 2001~2010, the world (Asian countries mostly) worked hard and saved while the Americans rack up mountain of debt and pool their talents to develop the idea of Facebook so that we can know each other better. It has been fun. The party, of course had to end in the fall of 2008. Good times.
My other post on The Social Network.