Inspiration comes from all corners if you keep looking. Sometimes you find it just by sitting on the couch. You guessed it – we are talking about inspirational, feel-good documentaries to learn a lesson – or 10 – in building businesses and teams, staying motivated, and learning to deal with setbacks and failures.
Here are some that are especially useful for new entrepreneurs:
Something Ventured (2011)
Considering getting into the funding scene? Then this documentary is for you. It chronicles the most prolific venture capitalists from the 1960s to 1980s, who risked their capital in then-fledgeling startups like Google, Intel, and Atari. It’s a great watch for any entrepreneur who is looking to understand what drives VC funding and how it has evolved over the years.
The Call of the Entrepreneur (2007)
If work or setbacks are getting to you and all you need is an inspirational, uplifting story about entrepreneurship, take three with The Call of the Entrepreneur. The documentary chronicles the personal stories of Brad Morgan, an underprivileged dairy farmer-turned-composter worth over a million dollars, Frank Hanna, a merchant banker who talks about the importance of credit and capital to fuel entrepreneurship, and Jimmy Lai’s story of going from communist China to founding Giordano and Next Media in Hong Kong. It is a lesson in taking calculated risks, hope, and inspiration.
We Live in Public (2009)
A must-watch for entrepreneurs of the internet era, We Live in Public is equal parts poignant and creepy. At its heart, the documentary is about a couple that made its life public through cameras and the internet. However, it also touches upon issues like personal time, privacy, and the power of crazy ideas to push the envelope of culture and technology.
Somm is the story of four men working towards the master sommelier exam, a test that is notorious for pass rates than even the JEE and CAT. That being said, those who pass the exam are people who are the most passionate about something seemingly innocuous in the world of business and academia – wine. Somm chronicles how the four men are consumed by preparation and how it impacts the people around them.
A must-watch for ambitious budding entrepreneurs whose goals sound crazy or even unnecessary, Somm is not only a lesson in pursuing audacious dreams but also the trade-offs it could mean.
Burt’s Buzz (2013)
The untold story of Burt Shavitz who founded Burt’s Bees in 1984, Burt’s Buzz chronicles the journey of a one-room skin care and cosmetics startup that grew its worth to $900 million on the back of great products alone. At a time when so much focus was put on networking and socializing to succeed, Burt’s Buzz reminds us of the power of great ideas as the sole path to success. Burt himself was a recluse, despite his fame and fortune, celebrity status, and the very fact that he operated in a glamorous industry rife with events, socializing, and lots of partying.
Introverted entrepreneurs who find it intimidating or even boring to socialize and network too much would find Burt’s Buzz to be a relatable, inspirational story.
The Startup Kids (2012)
Starting a business with little professional or life experience at a young age can be intimidating. Yet, it has become the order of the day, with several founders in the age group of 30 or less. The Startup Kids is a good way for young budding entrepreneurs to realize what challenges wait for them along the way. It chronicles the stories of many successful startups and their very young founders, including SoundCloud and DropBox.
Documentaries give us the chance to draw real-world insights without getting caught in the humdrum of data-crunching. If you’re a budding entrepreneur wondering what makes the Mark Zuckerbergs and Elon Musks of the world tick, these documentaries are a good place to get started.
What are your favourite startup documentaries? What lessons did you learn from them? Let us know in the comments!