From Pirates of Silicon Valley to Office Space, these films are jam-packed with life lessons every entrepreneur needs to know!
Being a startup founder is by no means easy. We have previously discussed how entrepreneurs can easily get so overwhelmed by their jobs that they can hardly find time to socialize and relax. This can often leave them feeling burnt out and make them lose the drive they used to have when they started.
If you are an entrepreneur or someone who aspires to be one, it is crucial to always be on the lookout for inspiration. Not sure where to start? Here is a list of the top five films an entrepreneur can watch to keep themselves motivated.
Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
This film is a docudrama depicting the intertwined histories of Microsoft and Apple between 1971-1997 and the arrival of the home computer on the tech scene. Written and directed by photojournalist Martyn Burke, Pirates of Silicone Valley is an on-screen adaptation of Paul Freiberger and Michael Swaine’s book Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer.
This film gives us insight into the history of the two biggest tech companies in the world and their respective founders, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. It has even received the approval of Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak, who believes that it not only accurately depicted the real-life events that happened in the tech world back then but also what they meant for the development of computers.
Viewers are clearly fans of the film, giving it a 92% audience score on the film review website, Rotten Tomatoes. This film is a must-watch for founders because it tells us that the path to entrepreneurial success isn’t straightforward but a path of thorns.
Directed by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim, Startup.com is a documentary about the birth and demise of a dotcom startup called govWorks.com. The website was developed to link people to their local government bodies. Unfortunately, instead of turning into a success story, the startup burned through US$70 million of investors’ money. Throughout the film, govWorks.com acts as a case study into the dotcom bubble of the 1990s.
Startup.com captures the inner workings of a startup in great detail and also gives invaluable lessons on how to manage business relationships and funds as a startup founder. The film has been critically well-received, with a Tomatometer score (which is based on critics’ reviews) of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The Intern (2015)
If you are looking for a more lighthearted movie to watch, The Intern is a great pick. Directed, written, and produced by Nancy Meyers, the film features a retiree who joins an online fashion retailer as a “senior intern” and ends up befriending the company’s young female CEO, Jules Ostin. The film accurately depicts what it’s like to be a startup founder—wanting to constantly micromanage the simplest of tasks to ensure everything is running smoothly.
The biggest plot point of the film is a situation most startup founders eventually have to deal with—whether they should consider stepping down from the position of CEO. Watching this film will help entrepreneurs realize the importance of work-life balance in leading a successful business.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Another comedy film that can give you an inside look into the world of business is The Wolf of Wall Street. Directed by Martin Scorsese, this film is a dramatized version of the life of American entrepreneur Jordan Belfort. Throughout the film, we see Belfort train the employees of his brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont into defrauding shareholders by artificially inflating the value of stocks and selling them to make loads of money.
This film shows entrepreneurs the pitfalls of greed. Belfort’s success was a result of his pump-and-dump schemes, and it all eventually catches up to him when the FBI investigates him and his company.
Office Space (1999)
If all the previous entries on this list tell you about life as an entrepreneur, this film is an excellent reminder of why you got out of the corporate world in the first place. Written and directed by Mike Judge, Office Space is a satirical film that shows what it was like to work in a software company in the 1990s. This film is a work nightmare, if there ever was one, featuring ineffective management and a company-first work culture. It encapsulates the boredom of corporate life and encourages people to do things that make them happy.
What makes it a great film for startup founders is that it shows you exactly how not to run your business. Besides, the comedic aspect of the film makes it a stress buster after a long day. Having earned only US$10.8 million in 1999, Office Space was considered a box office flop when it came out. Yet, it has since done extremely well and has an audience rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
This list should tell you that you can find entrepreneurial lessons everywhere. From sharing the inspiring stories of other founders to telling you the mistakes you need to avoid, these films are inspirational, educational and entertaining. We hope you have fun binge-watching these films the next time you have some time to yourself!
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Header image courtesy of Freepik.