Last week I caught the encore presentation of the Piers Morgan interview with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the infamous Facebook twins. When I first started listening to the brothers, they actually seemed honest and sincere. They were selling their story and I was buying it. I knew they were a pair of over-privileged chaps whose intellectual property truly was stolen and as an “idea woman” myself, I could only imagine how stinging it would be for someone else to gain credit (fame, billions and notoriety) for my brainchild.
Now I won’t use the Social Network’s “fictionalized story” upon which to base my opinion; I understand that the movie just gave me a skeleton for an approximate scenario. The real story, as told by the Winklevoss twins, portrays Mark Zuckerberg in an even uglier light. However, the more the twins kept talking, the more they talked themselves into a corner. They used business school jargon sprinkled with Harvard confetti to try to portray halos over their heads.
For those that don’t know the story …
While at Harvard, the twins found out about Zuckerberg’s technical genius and approached him to be a “partner” in building out the site they envisioned. When Zuckerberg first found out their plan for “HarvardConnection,” (the name they intended for the site, later called ConnectU), he asked them how it was different from the already-thriving sites like MySpace and Friendster. The twins explained that it would be the “Harvard.edu” address. The brilliance in their idea was that it kept the site exclusive.
Harvard preaches the importance of working together in teams – and like obedient Harvard soldiers, the twins enlisted the help of the genius to implement the plan they couldn’t bring to fruition on their own. These Olympic rowers were only used to giving orders.
Zuckerberg agreed to design the site – but duplicitously took their idea, revised it, programmed it and launched it. All while, he was stalling the twins, telling them that he was “working on it.” Instead he used that time to launch his own site, “The Facebook.”
Seemingly Zuckerberg skipped the Business and Ethics class. Shocker … not like we live in a country that’s led by unethical politicians and capitalist pigs. (Judgmental, aren’t I? Well, they put themselves on the podium for arbitration.)
Fast forward to 2008.
Facebook agreed to a settlement with the Winklevoss brothers, which resolved claims that Zuckerberg stole the idea for his social-networking website from them. They agreed to a settlement of $65 million in stock and cash.
Two years later, the Winklevosses started the process of appealing the settlement, which is still ongoing. They are accusing Zuckerberg and Facebook of, “misrepresented the value of the equity component of the settlement,” and stating that Zuckerberg hid electronic communications between himself and others that could prove the original allegations brought against him were true.
In other words, now that they realized that Facebook is worth more money, they want a bigger cut.
Now I understand an idea is an idea. I have dozens of ideas all day. I write them in my little notebook with the hologram of a lion on it and call it a day. Some days I go back and read through them; many times I tell friends about it. Sometimes they tell me it’s a great idea, but if at any one time I saw that someone actually went and developed an idea I only spoke about – who is the idiot? Me for giving away an idea or them for actually realizing it’s a good idea and executing it.
This world will always be full of those that are thinkers and those that are doers. There is room and a need for both kinds of people in the world. But it’s such a disservice to fellow humans that these brothers, otherwise bread to be strong, patriotic, honorable men have fallen to the same temptations of Wall Street. Instead of using their education and opportunities to create something helpful to common (or disadvantaged) man, they are parading their cause. A couple of spoiled brats crying to the world for justice.
During the Morgans interview, the twins relentlessly kept insisting the Zuckerberg is doing it for the money – but they, on the other hand, are doing it for JUSTICE. Seriously? Would they be happy if Zuckerberg admitted that he took their original idea and didn’t give them any money? I don’t think so.
They sounded preposterous. One of the twins went on a convoluted, well-rehearsed tirade about justice while the other twin admitted they just wanted the money they originally were demanding ($125 million, although they didn’t give the actual figure to Morgan). Really? Will that make you privileged guys shut up and go away?
They want more money because they see what it’s become … but they also want the notoriety. They want to be on the cover of Time Magazine as people of the year. They want to be acknowledged as the Facebook creators.
Only they aren’t. They had a seed, that unplanted and unnourished, was nothing but potential.
Now that the site has flourished, they feel badly and want more and more. Men and their power. These are the type of men that command others to fight wars. These white-blooded Americans would never get their own hands dirty.
By the end of the interview, I thought they were repulsive human begins. Sitting there in their fancy suits, spitting out their bullshit and completely delusional. They are living in a world so different from the rest of us. Egypt and the entire Middle East is in chaos; there are wars and famine and sickness in the world and these two fortunate assholes are sitting here on national TV saying that $65 million is just not enough.
The twins say this new lawsuit has no guarantees. Maybe they’ll get less, they even said. It’s a serious risk, they said.
They should be ashamed of themselves and America should be ashamed of them. We are a culture that considers men like this as part of our elite; these are the supposed future leaders of the world. The innovators, the geniuses.
I am completely disenchanted with this Harvard snobbery. In the movie, they portray the boys going to the President of Harvard and “telling on” Zuckerberg.” The administrator dismissed them as a couple of boys scorned that another took their idea and actually ran with it. (What does Harvard care which alumni gets the credit?)
What are they doing now other than trying to shake down Zuckerberg for more cash? Training for the London 2012 Olympic Games, of course. They’re rowers and that’s their main focus now. Win for America? How are they making the world a better place?
So do the bros use Facebook? Of course they do. Both proud users of biggest time-suck created by our generation. “Technically we’re using our idea,” they say. Good thing they already had that Harvard.edu address so they were allowed to join. Oh wait, Zuckerberg changed that. Facebook is home to 500 million users – because Zuckerberg allowed everyone to join – not just those with the prestigious ivy league email address.
While they continue to tisk, tisk at Zuckerberg and accuse him of being a money whore, he continues to pledge money and donate to various organizations. He lives modestly, wearing sweatshirts. He doesn’t fit their all-American vision of what Harvard grads or MBAs should look like.
The Winklevoss Twins, as they’ll forever be known want more than their fifteen minutes. They want lasting notoriety. They want the power. They want credit. They want more and more money. They exist in a ego-driven world in the clouds above us. Please let them float away.