History Matters: Look at Facebook Fight

Think history is a field of dispute for buffs, re-enactors, and History Channel freaks? Think again. Huge money can be involved. Just look at the ongoing conflict over the people involved in one way or another with the start-up and launch of Facebook. They’re arguing over who did what to whom and when–at stake are millions and billions of dollars and an equivalent amount of pride. They’re slugging it out in books, articles, movies, lawsuits, blogs, and more. And everything they’re throwing at each other is some form of history. History matters.

Have you been involved in an organization where the memory, the history, of the start of something–the organization itself, a department, or a particular project or initiative–became a source of dispute? The disagreements can get ugly. My experience suggests that the objective truth is limited. A timeline of events can be established, but the swirling motivations, thought patterns and processes, assumptions, and much more are practically unlimited. Maybe it goes full circle back to my point in an earlier post, the one about the value of the gap.

Whatever the case, history matters.