ConnectU twins try to disprove dumb-jock image, and failThe not-so-subtle thesis of a Boston Globe profile of Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, the twins who claim Mark Zuckerberg stole the idea from Facebook from them: They're not just dumb jocks. The Twinklevosses, as they're known in Silicon Valley, lost in their legal effort, but are hoping to win at the Beijing Olympics, where they are competing in rowing. They and fellow cofounder Divya Narendra settled with Facebook, agreeing to sell ConnectU for shares in the company — but are now trying to overturn that agreement, saying Facebook isn't worth as much as they thought. That argues strongly against the piece's attempt to bust stereotypes.One would think they would have gotten a proper valuation on the shares before agreeing to take them as payment. That in itself suggests that the twins, who majored in economics at Harvard, weren't paying attention in class. And if they have some other evidence of brains, it wasn't on display for the Globe. Their coash, Ted Nash, tries to argue that they're just strong, silent types: "Inside, everything's working all the time with them. What you see isn't what you get." What you see, according to the Globe:
They are impossibly constructed: 6 feet 5 inches tall, with shoulders that jut out like coat hangers, their limbs wrapped in the long, strong muscles typical of rowers, their heads crowned with identical waves of light brown hair.
A photo accompanying the piece shows the two with California governor and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger; all three have equally rippling pecs, sculling forward from their white polo shirts. What you get, from Cameron:
One of the cool things about amateur athletics is that I think the pursuit is sort of the pursuit of excellence for nothing more than trying to be excellent. At the end of the day, going fast in the water, in its own intrinsic value, doesn't mean much more than the time that you put on the clock. But I think it's the focus and the effort and what you put in to become excellent, and the fact that it is, in some respects, meaningless, that makes it all the more interesting. We're getting a lot out of it, but it's not like an NBA championship, or something like that. We're trying to be good at something for the sake of being good.
Sartre would be proud. Tyler's contribution:
"I think people get caught up in what's the value of rowing — what does it do for you? — and that's just totally missing the larger picture.... The way it shook out, we ended up in the pair. We thought it was a good fit for us... If you miss a practice, you pay. It's a direct correlation. You see it. It's impossible to not be hit over the head with that reality.... Everybody counts on every stroke.
At that last bit, Cameron nodded eloquently. And a stereotype held firm. (Photo by Reuters)