Meet Facebook 'Genius' Sean Parker

Otherwise known as Justin Timberlake in The Social Network

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 8, 2010 7:46 AM CDT
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(Newser) – According to Sean Parker, Sean Parker has "helped change the world, at least three times." Two of those times, one assumes, are related to his involvement in the early days of Napster and Facebook: "Two of the most significant companies in the history of the Internet," says a colleague. "And in both cases Parker spotted them earlier than anyone." The budding billionaire—soon to be portrayed by Justin Timberlake in The Social Network—is notoriously press-shy, but agreed to sit for a Vanity Fair interview with David Kirkpatrick.

In it, Parker is referred to many times as "brilliant" and a "genius," by everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to Ashton Kutcher. He's also described as flaky and hard-partying, but enormously loyal and generous—often investing money in friends' businesses or donating to charity fundraisers—a far cry from the greedy, calculating character he's portrayed as in the upcoming film. In fact, when Timberlake himself approached Parker to get to know him, Parker shot him down. "That isn’t going to help you play the part Sorkin has written," he told Timberlake. "That character really isn’t me."

Sean Parker attends the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference on January 25, 2009 in Munich, Germany.
Sean Parker attends the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference on January 25, 2009 in Munich, Germany.   (Getty Images)
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Few people are as smart as he is.
- Mark Zuckerberg

Sean probably deserves less credit for turning Facebook into what it is than he thinks he does, but also more credit than anybody else thinks he does.
- Dustin Moskovitz, Facebook co-founder

This is Parker’s pattern—great idea, work like the devil, then disappear for a while. Why do we all put up with it? For two reasons. He adds a lot of value in the time he’s there. And he’s very loyal.
- Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder

He’s one of the most generous people I know. Also one of the flakiest.
- An associate

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