“The Social Network” Hits Home

The Social Network” — David Fincher’s new movie about the founding of Facebook — hits theaters next Friday (Oct. 1).

The Winklevoss twins. We have no idea which is which.

Mark Zuckerberg isn’t the only person wondering how he’ll be portrayed.  Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss — the twins who allege that Zuckerberg stole their idea at Harvard in 2004 — are key characters in the film.

Their father — Dr. Howard Winklevoss — will watch too.  He may be joined by a few hundred interested Saugatuck Rowing Club members.

Why not?  He helped create the place.

Cameron and Tyler learned to row there.  In 2008 they represented the U.S. team at the Beijing Olympics.

The Winklevosses started rowing when the predecessor Saugatuck Rowing Association was located in a deteriorating riverside building.  The land underneath was for sale.  Their coach, James Mangan, had grand plans.

According to the Saugatuck Rowing Club website:

While coaching the twins, Mangan often spoke of his hope for a new clubhouse to them and their parents.  Others thought it a pie in the sky idea, but Howard Winklevoss, a successful consultant and the owner of a construction firm that builds upscale residences, was the right audience.

Impressed by the sports’ positive effect on his sons, Winklevoss decided to help Mangan, not only to buy the property and build a new clubhouse, but to work toward making rowing a more mainstream sport.

In a collaborative effort with his architect (club member Jon Halper) and Mangan, Winklevoss founded a new company, the Saugatuck Rowing Club, and transformed the site with a world-class showcase for rowing and fitness. The 15,000 square foot facility has a nautical theme that ties together the boathouse, an elite fitness center, dining deck and restaurant.

There’s no word yet on whether the luxurious Saugatuck Rowing Club will host a private showing of “The Social Network.”

But it does have a Facebook fan page.

13 responses to ““The Social Network” Hits Home

  1. Hi Dan, I just posted an interview I did with Tyler and Cameron in 1999 as they discussed their passion for rowing and plans for the new boathouse.

  2. Thanks for sharing this interview Miggs. Really interesting!

  3. The Dude Abides

    Very timely article. From what I have read, Zukerman was a techie nerd that the twins went to work out some “nitches” with their Facebook idea. Then he stole the idea and rode with it. Some serious litigation going on now. 500 million people on Facebook although I hear Google is now trying to compete. So the twins grew up here?????????????

    • They grew up in Greenwich, and went to the Brunswick School.

    • I laughed when I read this. “techie nerd” ???? When will the old boy daddy network realize that people who can write code don’t need them. Anybody can predict what the internet can be used for, but if you can’t get into the technical details, then you are superfluous to the effort to realize the prediction. So how much are they making from rowing now? Gee, I guess they should have spent the high school years on something with more substance.

  4. Fight Club to Facebook, could be interesting.

  5. Their dad – Howard – who you can see at the SRC most days – was a professor at Wharton and is one of the fathers of the modern day actuarial tables/accounting system. Pretty bright group of dudes.

  6. The Dude Abides

    Yes, apparently some serious under-achievement issues in that family. Nice focus on the rowing, however. Just reread Halberstam’s “The Amateurs” and some definite A-types in that sport. I thought we runners were bad but rowers are way over the top in pain thresholds and determination. I hope the twins win the law suit. Despite his gracious challenge grant to the city of Newark for education, Zuckerman seems like a jerk.

    • Richard Lawrence Stein

      Not sure which are the wackiest endurance sport athletes Dude but towers are high up on the food chain… And I also thought that I read there was an out of court settlement with the twins for somewhere in the range of 65 million or so

  7. The Dude Abides

    I do believe there was an initial settlement but the Winklevosses have brought another suit based on misinformation of the original proceedings. I have no idea what that means except that litigation is still pending and the billable hours increasing.

  8. Another wild and interesting story along those lines, and also a ‘Harvard man’, is how Bill Gates acquired an operating system (86-DOS) from Seattle Computing Products for $50,000., partnered a deal with IBM, retained the copyrights and became a multi-billionaire.

    Not that Bill Gates isn’t brilliant, but connections, opportunity and timing is everything.

  9. The Dude Abides

    Well said. Gates also walked into his 8th grade science class in Seattle and there sat a computer. Chances of that were very slim in 1980’s America. He also returned to Seattle after his brief stay at Harvard and was offered free computer time at the University of Washington’s lab from 2-6 a.m. Also, very rare. He did take advantage of his opportunistic luck.

    • I was just telling my wife the very same thing Dude. He was fortunate enough to attend a private school and lucky enough that it just happened to have a primitive computer there. And that was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.