If There Were Oscars For Startup & VC Movies…
There aren’t too many movies in the eligible category and even fewer that are award-worthy. That said, these few (along with HBOs Silicon Valley which is #blueflame good) are interesting, fun and have real-world value.
The Social Network based on Ben Reznich’s thoroughly researched page-turner The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook. Social Network is the only movie that gives a real insider-view of the crazed breakneck speed of a startup. Like a real startup, it starts before you realize you’re in it and accelerates from there, rolling up people, events and features like a semi-guilder snowball going down hill. The object lesson is the single-minded intensity coupled with domain expertise that great founders bring to their startups. It’s not all sugar coated, with plenty of insights into selfish and litigious behavior that one can view as either necessary to delivering on a single-minded mission or tyrannically selfish, or somewhere in between. Regardless, it is the best insight into one (let me repeat one) epoch-defining startup.
Something Ventured: The Story of Risk, Reward and The Original Venture Capitalists A movie by and about the folks that invented the industry that we, and the world, now takes for granted. They invented the term sheets we all still use and even the language. The risks they took were huge and we all stand on the shoulders of the technologies (and even term sheets) they invented: the microprocessor, the PC, video games, biotechnology, consumer software and the web; Insightful and moving.
The American Experience: Silicon Valley. This is how it all began, long before venture capital, when Silicon Valley was known as Paradise Valley and filled with apricot and cherry orchards. It is the story of the guys who became Nobel Prize winners that invented transistors and then chips. Most spun out out of my former employer Beckman Instruments to put the silicon in Silicon Valley. It’s technology, it’s people (I’m lucky to know a few), it’s nostalgia and it is a history that is fast disappearing from the place that spawned it just 50 years ago. If you want to understand how it all began from the guys who really did it, there is no better watch.
The Startup Kids is a short and different kind of movie. It’s largely by and for entrepreneurs and entirely interview / clip based. It’s not a great movie (most sites rate it 2.5 stars) but it IS the most “naked” movie about what a startup is about. It’s honest about the need to work incredible hours and for your team to have mad talent across several skill sets and no guarantee of success. We are, today, experiencing a slightly 1999 view that “anyone can do a startup and succeed.” While the movie may not succeed as a movie, it does make that point well.