Part entertainment, part educational, all inspirational – the wave of remarkable documentaries that are flooding the virtual video-shelves of our favourite online streaming services will spare you the time of having to trawl your way through another how-to manual, giving you a valuable lesson in business and a lightning bolt of motivation for your next idea and your next project.
In no particular order, here are 12 recommended must-see documentaries for budding entrepreneurs and startup businesses. We’ve done the research, all you need to do is bring the popcorn…
1. Startup.com (2001)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 92%
Summary: Follow two old Harvard classmates and observe the rise and fall of their dot com startup during the course of one year, just as the Internet bubble was bursting.
What you will learn: This documentary has become a reference on how not to do things, including why $50 million in funding doesn’t necessarily mean success and how it can all be lost in a year if your product is weak. Learn valuable lessons from crucial mistakes made in the areas of strategy, human resources, finance, marketing, operations and IT.
2. The Startup Kids (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 53%
Summary: Made by two Icelandic entrepreneurs, this documentary puts the spotlight on several young startup founders (Vimeo, Dropbox, Foodspotting, Soundcloud, Kiip and many more) revealing what drives them to do what they do.
What you will learn: What it takes to make it as a startup even if everyone is saying “no” to you.
3. Something Ventured (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 78%
Summary: A great idea is often not enough without the backing of investors who also believe in your idea too, most specifically venture capitalists. This documentary looks at revolutionary tech giants like Apple, Intel and Atari, and how they may not be where they are today if it wasn’t for the investors who believed in their potential.
What you will learn: What investors are looking for in the next big thing.
4. Steve Jobs – One Last Thing (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 100%
Summary: This fantastic PBS documentary traces Job’s inspirational career and legacy as one of the legendary CEOs and thought-leaders of our age.
What you will learn: How style, presentation, unlimited drive and imagination can shape the lives of millions – and how there is no substitute for passion.
5. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 99%
Summary: An award-winning documentary that profiles 85 year old Jiro Ono, considered by many to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, owner of a 10-seat sushi restaurant located in a subway station in Tokyo.
What you will learn: How perfection can be achieved through dedication (massaging an octopus for an hour to ensure perfect chewability!), hard work and truly mastering your skill. How word of mouth is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing.
6. Freakonomics – The Movie (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 65%
Summary: Film version of the bestselling book about incentive-based thinking. Using entertaining case studies, this documentary examines human behaviour and what motivates people to take action.
What you will learn: Will trigger a creative thought and help understand your customers more.
7. She++ (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: n/a
Summary: She++ is a social enterprise movement empowering women to be a success in the tech industry. This short documentary, written and directed by #GoodGirlsGoneGeek encourages future CEOs and ‘femgineers’ to move away from the stereotype into a revolutionary field.
What you will learn: A true inspiration for aspiring women in tech worldwide. Learn how diversity drives creativity and innovation.
Where to watch: Vimeo
8. WePopUp (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: n/a
What you will learn: How to quickly build a clientele from scratch – including the likes of Facebook, Saint Laurent Paris and Coca-Cola
Where to watch: Below…
9. Candyman – The David Kline Story (2010)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: n/a
Summary: Meet David Kline, the man who brought Jelly Belly jelly beans into the world. This amazing documentary interviews David, his family, his former business partners, friends and even notable song-parody legend Weird Al Yankovic, offering an inside look into the mind of a candy genius.
What you will learn: Why it’s important to be a smart businessman in addition to being an innovator. Learn how not to be taken advantage of by the sometimes greedy corporate world.
10. Indie Game – The Movie (2012)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 93%
Summary: This riveting documentary follows several small indie game designers as they develop underground games looking for breakthrough success.
What you will learn: Why sticking to your dream and vision is important, even if you’re making incredible sacrifices along the way.
11. Beer Wars (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 67%
Summary: Watch how a group of small craft brewers attempt to crack the market share of beer-giants like as Anheuser-Busch – the makers of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Becks.
What you will learn: Nothing is more important than the quality of your product. Make it the best, and tell the world that you’re truly superior than the competition.
12. E-Dreams (2001)
Rotten Tomatoes rating: 60%
Summary: Back in 1998 two young investment bankers founded Kozmo.com – a one-hour delivery service of dvds, food, video games, alcohol, magazines and more. See how a company went from new sensation to liquidation within a 2 year period thanks to the dot-com bubble.
What you will learn: How a great forward-thinking idea may not work if the public are not ready for it yet.
Where to watch: Google is your friend …
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