Most startups begin with a desire to change the world and manifest one’s ideas into realities. Even though the energy at the start of the journey can seem exciting and promising, minor setbacks and challenges can cause one to lose that spark. In times like these, it is important to remind yourself of the real reason that led you to embark on this journey. And the best way to do so is by learning from other successful entrepreneurs who have faced similar challenges in the past. Here is a list of five documentaries that will help one learn from the mistakes made by great men and inspire one to remain perseverant of one’s goals.
Released in 2011, ‘Something Ventured’ is a documentary that looks into the lives of the early entrepreneurs who made Silicon Valley what it is today. Directed by Daniel Geller and Danya Goldfine, the film investigates the rise of venture capitalism and how early entrepreneurs of the 1960’s and 1980’s, went on to back up major tech companies such as Apple, Atari, Genentech, Cisco, Tandem and Intel. The film features successful venture capitalists such as Don Valentine, Arthur Rock, Bill Draper and Tom Perkins, among many others. Entrepreneurs such as Gordon Moore (co-founder of Intel), Sandy Lerner (co-founder of Cisco), John Morgride (former CEO of Cisco), and Jimmy Treybig (founder of Tandem) also make an appearance in the documentary and impart their words of wisdom. This film is a must watch for anyone who wishes to learn and be inspired by stories of startups that were today’s tech-giants.
Over 17 months, this documentary presents a raw image of the struggles, hardships and successes young entrepreneurs face. It traces the lives of six college graduates trying to make it big in the city of Detroit by working on their new startups. By looking at the ups and downs of creating one’s own startup and pursuing one’s dreams, filmmakers Cynthia Wade and Cheryl Miller House attempt to redefine success and failure in today’s world. The documentary showcases the initial journey of creating a new startup with all its triumphs and struggles.
The Startup Kids is an inspirational documentary that features many young entrepreneurs from across the US and Europe, such as the founders of Vimeo, Soundcloud, Kiip, Dropbox, InDinero and Foodspotting. The film is a series of interviews of young successful tech founders who impart their knowledge and share the struggles one might encounter when starting their entrepreneurial journey. The film aims to motivate other young people, directed by two Icelandic entrepreneurs, Vala Halldorsdottir and Sesselja Vihjalmsdottir, who started their own company after the Icelandic economic collapse to become entrepreneurs.
Released in 2019, this 1 hour 11 min lengthy documentary is definitely different from most entrepreneurial/startup documentaries out there. This film not only presents the struggles surrounding entrepreneurship but also takes a peek into the lives of four black women entrepreneurs who continually strive to raise the glass ceiling for future generations. ‘She Did That’, presents a refreshing angle on the hardships faced by black businesswomen in the US by featuring in-depth and vulnerable conversations with Lisa Price (founder of Carol’s Daughter), Melissa Butler (founder of The Lip Bar), Luvvie Ajayi (best selling author of the New York Times) and Tonya Rapley (founder of My Fab Finance). Their empowering words and actions and their determination to face any challenges that come their way will surely inspire anyone to embark on their journey of creating their own startups.
Unlike the tales of famous entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, the story of Burt Shavitz is slightly different. The co-founder and face of Burt’s Bees, a personal care brand, Burt Shavitz choose to lead a life very different from his other successful counterparts. The film documents the idiosyncratic lifestyle of Shavitz and maneuvers through his relationship with his brand, fans and reclusive lifestyle. There are tons to learn from this 79-year old entrepreneur who, despite being at a net worth of 2 million dollars, chooses to remain true to his humble beginnings and enjoy his middle-class lifestyle. Burt’s Buzz is a must watch for those who are curious to understand the ethics and disciple that goes into making a start-up.
The journey of creating something worthwhile can be an isolating and tiring process. But sometimes, it is important to remind oneself of the other great minds that have been on a similar path before. Learning from their hardships, reflecting on their lives and implementing those teachings in one’s life through these documentaries can prove to be a real game-changer for your startup journey.