Mark Zuckerberg is a household name at this point – the founder of Facebook has made his influence felt on over half a billion web users worldwide. He’s soon to be depicted (in a relatively unflattering light) by Jesse Eisenberg in the Aaron Sorkin-David Fincher film The Social Network.
Alongside him on the silver screen, however, will be Sean Parker, played by none other than Justin Timberlake. The eccentric Parker decided, unusually, to speak with Vanity Fair magazine – describing how as a young hacker-entrepreneur, he helped create Napster at age 19, Facebook at age 24, and is more or less a billionaire at age 30.
The portrait of Parker that emerges is of a kind of erratic genius – apprehended by the Federal Bureau of Investigation at age 16, he had already hacked into military databases and major corporation networks. After (barely) graduating high school, he helped Shawn Fanning create Napster, the reverberations of which are still felt in the music industry to this day.
Despite his vast wealth – Parker still holds Facebook shares, which are theoretically worth hundreds of millions – he sees himself more as a Howard Hughes figure, reshaping American society with technology as his tool.
"I think the best way to describe me is as an archetypal Loki character," he tells Vanity Fair’s David Kirkpatrick. "I’ve helped change the world, at least three times."