15 December on 17:00
Restrictions on daily life continue to get tighter every day. Our newfound time indoors can, and should, be used primarily to focus on ourselves and our businesses, but no matter how much we do this, there will be a point in the day when we need to switch off a little. That doesn’t mean, however, that we can’t use our downtime to keep us thinking. Watching TV can be useful. Documentaries, more specifically, are often a thought-provoking mix of reality and fictitious wonder, stories of hard to believe events, personalities and histories. For the entrepreneur, documentaries offer the chance to be inspired; learning lessons and gaining new perspectives that can then be taken to fuel their own ideas. So, here are nine documentaries that are guaranteed to motivate every entrepreneur.
1. Inside Bill’s Brain
A three-part series exploring the mind of the world’s second richest human. Whilst the documentaries do track the rise and rise of Microsoft, it is his way of thinking across his business ventures (and life) that takes center stage, and rightly so. Bill’s thought process is truly extraordinary, and at times it feels as if we’re watching an extraterrestrial effortlessly tackle the world’s largest problems with a constant smile on his face. From building trillion-dollar companies to eradicating polio, the series is full of ambition, dedication, genius and warmth.
2. Jiro Dreams of Sushi
As the title hints at, Jiro Ono is a sushi chef who lives, breathes and dreams of sushi. And his life-long ambition to be the greatest sushi chef in the world seems to have paid off. The now ninety-year-old master owns Sukiyabashi Jiro, the only sushi restaurant in the world to receive three Michelin stars and single dishes frequently go for $300. The documentary is a close look at the ruthless precision, perseverance and practice that goes into achieving perfection and covers everything from preparing the food to sourcing the finest ingredients. If there is one documentary to watch about devotion and hard work, it’s this.
3. Becoming Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet is one of the world’s wealthiest. An iconic investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Buffet prowess in the business world sometimes seems incompatible with his aura of humbleness and humility; he often stops at MacDonald’s on the way to work. Becoming Warren Buffet is a touching and enlightening portrait of Buffet’s trajectory from a boy in Nebraska to his place on the world stage, as well as exploring someone who exemplifies the human side of business and success.
4. Print the Legend
If you can dream it, you can print it. That’s the idea behind Print the Legend anyway, a documentary about 3D printing and what it can do for the world. From human organs to shoes, it follows renowned startups and industry leaders such as Makerbot and Formlabs, the people behind them and the big ideas they have. The documentary does, however, have a darker side, and touches upon the controversial character Cody Wilson, a gun rights advocate and crypto-anarchist who has some questionable aims in using the technology to quite literally print guns.
5. Something Ventured
Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs are best friends. And some of the earliest venture capitalists were instrumental in the creation of many of the world’s most successful companies such as Apple, Google, Atari, and Intel. The documentary is not only a thorough, but enjoyable, business history lesson, but an awe-inspiring look at the partnership between risk-taking venture capitalists and pioneering entrepreneurs. If you’re an ambitious startup, watch this.
6. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing
No introduction required. One of the most famous entrepreneurs and designers ever to step foot on this planet, Steve Jobs was a leader of modern times. Steve Jobs: One Last Thing is an all-encompassing look at his life, starting with his childhood through to meeting Steve Wozniak and the growth of Apple as a dominant force. But through extensive interviews with friends and foes, the documentary also shows how intricate Jobs’ life and personality was, with chapters titled “Buddhist” as well as “Tyrant”. A must watch for any entrepreneur interested in making a difference.
In 2018, there stood only 274 people in the world who had earned the title of Master Sommelier since the title’s inception in 1977. And the pass rate for the exam sits at around 8%. Hard is an understatement. Somm follows four men preparing to take the brutal test, following how their obsession with wine leads them on an exhausting rollercoaster of happiness, sadness, anger and stress for both themselves and those around them. The film is a high dive into ambition, reward and sacrifice, three things well known to every entrepreneur.
8. Capital C
Capital C is the world’s first full-length documentary about crowdfunding and the fundamental shift it’s caused for both startups bringing ideas to life and giving power to ordinary people. Gone are the days when only wealthy private institutions and individuals can fund your next big idea, and instead we now live in a time when strangers can become friends and investors through the crowdfunding mentality. Capital C focuses on three very different entrepreneurs and is an inspirational ride full of humor and humanity. And yes, the film itself was crowdfunded.
9. Burt’s Buzz
This is Burt Shavitz standing outside his home in Maine. He was the late co-founder of the $1 billion personal care product company Burt’s Bees. Originally a photographer for Time and Life magazine in Manhattan, Burt became tired of city life and moved to the country. He grew a beard, became an eccentric beekeeper and met his lover and co-owner Roxanne Quimby. Burt’s Bees grew from there, although not without its heartbreaks. Few documentaries will make you smile like this one, and the film is a touching look at a man who became an international brand yet remained uninterested in fame or fortune. A refreshing perspective on happiness and what matters in life.