It Doesn't Matter Who Founded Facebook. It Matters Who Made It A Success

from the face-the-facts dept

The NY Times appears to have just come across the now ancient claims that Mark Zuckerberg got the idea for Facebook from another Harvard classmate who started a system called houseSYSTEM that had a Facebook-like featureset. The guy behind houseSYSTEM, Aaron Greenspan, has been pushing that story for years. Then, of course, there's the more high profile claims (and silly lawsuit) from the founders of a company called ConnectU, which claims that Zuckerberg stole the idea from Facebook from them. All of these stories (and lawsuits) miss the point. It doesn't matter whose idea it was originally. The concept of an online facebook or a social network wasn't new at the time anyway. Friendster had launched long before any of these guys were thinking up the idea (and there were social networks like Ryze and SixDegrees before that anyway). The point isn't who came up with the idea -- but who could take that idea and actually build it into something successful that people wanted to use. And, for whatever reason, it was Mark Zuckerberg who was able to do that (with the help of plenty of other folks). The idea, itself, is somewhat meaningless if there's no execution behind it. There's no reason to worry about who came up with this idea or that idea when all we need to do is look at who made the idea work.
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Filed Under: founders
Companies: facebook


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  1. identicon
    docrings, 4 Sep 2007 @ 5:51pm

    It doesn't matter who made it successful... it is more important who got the lawsuit in first. If at first you don't succeed, SUE!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2007 @ 6:24pm

    Ideas

    If people can't sue other people for stealing their ideas then everyone will just stop having ideas! Where will we all be then? Any ideas?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    DML, 4 Sep 2007 @ 6:50pm

    True history is important...

    I think who made it a success is the most important thing here. But I think there's value in knowing where the ideas came from and knowing that Zuckie didn't invent the concept (which many media people claim).

    I think there's too much emphasis on "genius" in the biz world, when in fact, oftentimes the combination of execution/luck/timing are the key ingredients to success.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2007 @ 7:03pm

    Doesn't matter who made it, it sucks anyway!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2007 @ 7:07pm

    Gee an online community Hmm I seem to remember that back in 1982-1999 it was called a BBS funny we were all online and on the internet.
    MOMs, Computer Works, Four Flags......

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2007 @ 7:55pm

    Should be covered by prior art - myspace (a very stupid website) and classmates.com (an even stupider website).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Kenneth Koek, 4 Sep 2007 @ 7:58pm

    cracking into facebook

    Just wondering what everyone thought of a father who cracked into his 20 year old son's facebook and changed the settings and password. Pretty pathetic, huh.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    sam, 4 Sep 2007 @ 9:36pm

    hey mike...

    when you work for someone, and then take the idea, and go off and do your own deal.. you get sued...

    the most likely reason that the harvard guys won't get anything, is that there wasn't a real paper trail, documenting their real relationship with mark. from the looks of things, he was working with them.. he did apparently develop some things... he also booked with the code....

    if the guys had emails backing up that he was working for/with them.. and that the ip was to be used for their effort.. their claim would be significantly stronger....

    i really do wonder about your qualifications based on a number of the articles/thoughts that you put forth... but hey, if you can con/convince someone to pay you for your words.. more power to you!!!

    peace!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    Mike (profile), 4 Sep 2007 @ 11:42pm

    Re:

    when you work for someone, and then take the idea, and go off and do your own deal.. you get sued...

    Yes, but have you ever asked yourself if that's a good thing? If I can do the idea better than my employer, why shouldn't I? Isn't that good for the world? A better product hits the market and there's competition to keep everyone innovating. That's a good thing.

    i really do wonder about your qualifications based on a number of the articles/thoughts that you put forth... but hey, if you can con/convince someone to pay you for your words.. more power to you!!!

    What do you not understand? We help companies understand important trends and how to make more money from them -- and our customers have made a ton of money with our help and our advice. Why? Because our analysis of the trends is often dead on correct. I don't understand why people think we're wrong because they don't want to believe something is happening when it already is happening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    todd sawicki, 4 Sep 2007 @ 11:51pm

    wow this looks familiar

    mike not sure if we have a mental connection or not or you came across my post yesterday but check out the familiarity between your post and mine:

    my blog post on the exact same topic

    Now if you were inspired by my post then all I ask is for a little link love.

    - todd

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Mike (profile), 5 Sep 2007 @ 12:25am

    Re: wow this looks familiar

    mike not sure if we have a mental connection or not or you came across my post yesterday but check out the familiarity between your post and mine:

    Hi Todd. Sorry, hadn't seen your post at all. And, actually, just tried to go there and the server appears to be down... but nice to know that multiple people had the same thought (on what we wrote... not just on Facebook!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Terzam, 5 Sep 2007 @ 12:29am

    Steve Jobs says...

    Great Artist steals!!!

    There are millions of great ideas flowing every second, did Xerox sue Apple or did Apple sue Microsoft?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0UjU0rtavE

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous ePONYMOUS, 5 Sep 2007 @ 3:43am

    Gee can't we all get along and just have even more useless time wasters? Lets make blogging and social Web 2.0 crap the #1 American pastime. After all, people in our society don't have to be actually productive. They just need trendy nu-Web pages and LOTS of "friends".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    todd sawicki, 5 Sep 2007 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: wow this looks familiar

    @ mike: Even if you did I would have been flattered by the imitation.

    Yep - my buddies did find the irony in me questioning the very thing we were writing about :)

    And given the similarity - great post :) as you read - i completely agree!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    anonymous jerk, 5 Sep 2007 @ 2:16pm

    I disagree

    I disagree because I actually know the people who made the original code for facebook and mark zukerburg stole the whole thing and gave it a new name. I don't believe in software patents but this is ridiculous (and btw he DID steal actual SOURCE CODE not just the idea.. I wonder why they arn't telling the court that.. strange) If I were mark zukerburg I'd just shut them up with 10 million each I mean they deserve it anyway so meh

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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