DCCC Hosts Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss as Part of Campus Speaker Series
April 4, 2013 – Many might be surprised to learn that – despite all the hubbub between Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss and “Facebook” founder Mark Zuckerberg – the Winklevosses actually use the popular social networking site. That, among many other revelations and entrepreneurial advice, was revealed in a special event that featured the social networking moguls and successful entrepreneurs. Their visit marked the last DCCC Campus Speaker Series event of the academic year.
The brothers, who spoke about their portrayal in the Academy Award-winning film, “The Social Network,” noted why it was important to move on from Facebook and focus on other projects.
“As a Facebook user myself, I was interested in what the Winklevosses had to say about their relationship with the networking site,” said Lynne Watts, director of Student Life and Leadership at DCCC. “Many of us have seen ‘The Social Network’ – and it’s only natural to wonder what became of the two. It’s refreshing to learn that they are still busy creating and working on new projects. They are both truly intelligent brothers who have become successful in their own right.”
Following the fallout, the Winklevosses said they initially opted to stay away from the social site. “But we wanted to keep in touch with friends,” Tyler Winklevoss said. “We always liked social networking; it’s a great utility. Our issue was always the partnership. We felt like we were done wrong.”
But, he said, they were able to move past it and move into new projects. And in fact, their experience with Facebook has ultimately helped them in other ventures; they’ve used the tools they learned in that project and other various facets of their life – such as teamwork, business savvy and learning to deal with failure – to give them an edge in finding “the next big winner.”
Cameron Winklevoss said the two get tons of ideas every day – and there are a couple key ingredients they seek when deciding whether or not to invest in an idea: having a powerful idea backed by a good team.
“The focus is building a good team,” Cameron Winklevoss said. “Good teams work closely together and understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Finding balance is important.”
“The path to success is never straight, but without a team, it doesn’t matter how great the idea is. We look at the teams when we invest in companies,” Tyler Winklevoss added.
Looking back at their experiences, the two are pleased with where they are – and noted they wouldn’t change the path they’ve taken.
Cameron noted that there’s a silver lining in all this – if they had kept going down the same path with Facebook, they might not have kept growing their business experience; they would likely have never experienced going to the Olympics or any other of their ventures, for that matter. “It’s an unpredictable path,” he added.
The Winklevoss twins are known for HarvardConnection, later renamed ConnectU, along with Harvard classmate Divya Nardenra. In 2004, the twins made international headlines by suing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for $140 million, claiming he stole their ConnectU idea to create the popular social networking site. Beyond social networking, the Winklevosses are also known for their rowing careers. Both competed in the men’s pair rowing event in the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The two are now venture capitalists. They both graduated from Harvard University in 2004 with a Bachelor of Arts in economics; they earned MBAs at Oxford University in 2010.
*Editor’s Note: Pictured, from left to right, are Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss.
Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully-accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.