I finally got to see the Facebook Movie about a week ago. I need to see it again when it comes out on DVD before I can write a "7 Things I Learned...." post about it but I did find it to be amazingly in line with many of the experiences our client companies have. Here are a few thoughts:
The fight between founders over the business model and the exit strategy - I have seen companies dissolve over this one. While Facebook survived, the friendship did not. Things will change as a company matures and new opportunities are presented so it's not as simple as saying the founders have to agree on everything... they won't. Someone has to be the one to make the decision and the operating agreement should spell out what happens in the event of a divorce.
Never sign anything you don't read - Term sheets are confusing because attorneys get paid more that way. Many of them are boiler plate to begin with and sometimes contain stuff no body intended but it's in the template. Other times, terms are put in that were not agreed to in the verbal part of the negotiation. This may or may not be deliberate but it definitely happens. Read everything and question everything and GET YOUR OWN LAWYER!!!!! You will pay him/her more than you want to but do it anyway. Just make sure to get one with experience with startups and term sheet negotiations.
Someday you may get to tell customers what they want - but not likely and certainly not when you are starting out. It's all about what the customer wants. That is why you need to get your idea into their hands as soon as possible so they can tell you. If you are lucky enough to be branded as cool, run with it, but figure out how to get paid for being cool.
Be a Level 5 Leader - I leave you to read "Good To Great" for a full explanation of what a Level 5 Leader is but suffice it to say that although getting rich is a powerful motivator, the all consuming focus of the entrepreneur is for the ultimate success of the venture.
Think twice about taxing the rich - OOTG is about entrepreneurship, not politics so worry not... Geoff Robson found a great post by John Tammy on the Forbes Website, "Facebook Exposes Tax and Consumption Myths." Most rich people earned their wealth and few waste it..which is why they are...rich. Peter Thiel, the original angel investor in Facebook chose to put $500,000 into a company led by a young Harvard genius rather than plunk it down on a yacht. That led to a company worth billions and employing hundreds of people who are paid well and many of which will use their wealth to start other companies.
I guess that's 5 Things I learned from "The Social Network"...
So, "there it is..."