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8 must-watch documentaries if you’re an entrepreneur

Posted by Shivali Anand

October 19, 2021    |     6-minute read (1036 words)

As a startup entrepreneur, you're always searching for new ways to expand your horizons. Ways to stay motivated include traveling, reading books, listening to podcasts and watching movies.

Check out these eight documentaries that provide insight into the lives of some of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs and noteworthy investors, including the ups and downs they faced along their entrepreneurial journeys.

  1. “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”
This documentary follows Jiro Ono, the now nonagenarian proprietor of a 10-seat, three-Michelin-starred sushi restaurant housed in the basement of a high-rise building in Tokyo and the $300 per plate meals he serves. The documentary traces the famed sushi chef as he works closely with suppliers to obtain the best ingredients, trains employees and prepares his son to take over when he retires.

Jiro has spent virtually every day since before World War II doing the same thing: cooking sushi. He's been doing it in much the same way for decades, and his obsessive commitment has resulted in his nearly mastering it. Jiro's unrelenting dedication to excellence serves as a reminder that perfection necessitates blood and sweat, continual practice and the unending quest for progress.

Why should you watch it: Ono demonstrates that there is no alternative for passion. He indicates that excellence can only be attained by hard effort, devotion and mastery of one's talents.

  1. “Steve Jobs: One Last Thing”
Released shortly after the Apple founder's death, this documentary shows the complicated life and many facets of Steve Jobs. In addition to an interview with Jobs himself, the documentary includes interviews with The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg, business magnate Ross Perot and original Apple mouse creator Dean Hovey, among others.

The documentary takes the spectator on a journey through Jobs' career and the evolution of his many famous product presentations. It also investigates how his style, talent and imagination collectively shaped the man himself.

Why you should watch it: Jobs demonstrates how presentation, inventiveness and boundless drive can alter the lives of millions of people — and that selling a product is just as important as the product itself.

  1. “Becoming Warren Buffett”
Warren Buffett, one of the world's wealthiest people, boasts a net worth of approximately $103 billion as of press time. “Becoming Warren Buffett” offers a wealth of valuable knowledge that may be used as a model for acquiring crucial life skills.

The renowned investor, known as the "Oracle of Omaha," still lives in a humble home in his hometown and manages Berkshire Hathaway by himself every morning. Buffett's transformation from a small-town, numbers-obsessed kid to one of the world's wealthiest and most respected individuals is chronicled in this documentary.

Interviews with Buffett's family, friends, and co-workers are featured. The film also looks at how tech conglomerates like Intel and Apple may not be where they are now if it weren't for the investors who saw their potential.

Why you should watch it: The film depicts the qualities that a billionaire should possess: kindness, humility, thoughtfulness and generosity.

  1. “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room”
Based on the bestselling book of the same name, this film examines the demise of one of America's most scandal-ridden businesses, whose executives mishandled money, lied to investors and wrecked the life savings of thousands of employees. While they got away with their misdeeds for over a decade, it all eventually came dramatically tumbling down.

Enron's bankruptcy filing in 2001 has made the company one of the most well-known examples of financial and accounting fraud in American history. This film delves into the psychology of the empire’s demise.

Why you should watch it: This fascinating cautionary story of Enron and the company's management team highlights the importance of corporate honesty and integrity.

  1. “Capital C”
An investigation of crowdsourcing, this film examines how businesses are increasingly abandoning traditional fundraising techniques.

“Capital C” explains how to raise huge quantities of money from strangers over the internet: If you have a message that connects with others, people will want to help and support the company's growth. The film, funded through a Kickstarter campaign, follows three entrepreneurs who used crowdsourcing to bring their ideas to life.

Why you should watch it: See a close-up look at how effective crowdsourcing can be in getting ideas and enterprises off the ground. It also contains advice on how to conduct a successful crowdfunding campaign.

  1. “Something Ventured”
The role of venture capital in the development of America's tech behemoths is investigated in this documentary. It features some of the world's most successful venture capitalists, including George Doriot, Mike Markkula, Tom Perkins, Don Valentine and Arthur Rock, an early investor in Google, Apple, Intel and Atari.

The film shows the struggle of early venture capitalists to persuade businesses to collaborate with them, and how they created a foundation for the startup economy.

Why you should watch it: The documentary serves as a crash lesson in venture capital, illuminating vital concepts that will help you identify investors.

  1. “She Did That”
This documentary follows the business experiences of Black women, exploring implicit bias and blatant racism that female Black professionals face in the workplace.

The film features Lisa Price, the creator of Carol's Daughter; Luvvie Ajayi, a New York Times bestselling author, speaker and digital strategist; Tonya Rapley, the founder of My Fab Finance; and Melissa Butler, proprietor of The Lip Bar.

Why you should watch it: The film demonstrates how tenacity and perseverance help pave the way to achievement.

  1. “Startup.com”
Documentary filmmakers Jehane Noujaim and Chris Hegedus take us behind the scenes of the rise and demise of the online firm govWorks, founded by Harvard University classmates Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman.

GovWorks was created as a solution for bureaucratic bottlenecks, allowing individuals to register their automobiles, pay parking tickets and conduct other government business online. As the firm progressed from early funding to raising roughly $50 million in venture capital, govWorks grew from two employees to more than 200.

“Startup.com” is a compelling, cautionary story that reveals lessons from the company's blunders in strategy, finance, marketing and IT, and how they contributed to its downfall.

Why you should watch it: Startup.com demonstrates that even millions in investment won't ensure success if you don't have a good product.

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