Not sure how many of you have read the latest coverage on Techmeme of the 3-year old lawsuit against Facebook. There’s also the question of whether the lawsuit will affect a potential Facebook IPO. For a summary of the lawsuit, I’ll take a page from VentureBeat and post the great summary at Portfolio:

The lawsuit, filed by brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Divya Narendra, accuses Zuckerberg, Facebook’s 23-year-old C.E.O, of stealing the source code, design, and business plan for Facebook in 2003 when he briefly worked in the Harvard dorms as a programmer for their own fledgling social-networking site, now known as ConnectU.

The plaintiffs have demanded that Facebook be shut down and that full control of the site – and its profits – be turned over to them.

But what I really wanted to focus on is the fact that business really is all about execution. Ideas and code don’t make successful websites. Cameron, Tyler, and Divya should just accept that Mark made one kick-ass business out of their idea and move on to their next venture.

So, what stopped the original HarvardConnect team (now ConnectU) from succeeding? Business know-how & instincts? Maybe. Not building a community of passionate users? Maybe. Not listening to user feedback early on? Maybe. Wrongly prioritizing features? Maybe. Not getting the word to the right people? Maybe.

But coding ability? No. The idea? CERTAINLY NOT.

This is also why I don’t quite get why so many start-ups remain so secretive. Face it — if your idea is a good one, there are probably at least 10 other people thinking about it. It all comes down to execution — solving real problems, listening to users, getting the word out to connectors and mavens, making the right strategic decisions, hiring & retaining the best and the brightest talent, etc. It’s not about the idea.

I think it is pretty pathetic that Cameron, Tyler, and Divya are just trying to latch on to Facebook because they failed to make a business out of their idea, while Mark Zuckerberg succeeded. Companies/individuals that fail with their idea shouldn’t bitch and moan about how unfair it is. They should learn from their mistakes and do better next time.


  • Great commentary on the whole lawsuit. I agree, it’s apparent that Mark Zuckerberg ran with the idea and executed it well. Lawsuits sometimes just annoy me, and I’m sure right now Facebook’s lawyers are trying to figure out how to make this all go away.

    Rex

  • Sounds like the Judge doesn’t think much of the case either.