Here’s a quick and fun way to enrich your business knowledge: streaming documentaries on Netflix.
The online movie and TV service has a vast cache of business and tech documentaries that anyone with a subscription can watch instantly. The topics range from profiles of great tech innovators like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk to deep dives into industrial design.
Each of these 12 documentaries offers an entertaining storyline, as well as valuable insights into business success.
'Inside: Pixar,' a 2013 film by Bloomberg, takes viewers behind the scenes at Pixar to show the zany corporate campus and key personalities that drive this multi-billion-dollar business. Chronicling the animation company from the Steve Jobs days when it was trying to make a name for itself to the more recent integration with Disney, the film shows viewers how Pixar leaders cultivate creativity and maintain a fun-loving culture where great ideas can spark.
'Elon Musk: Bloomberg Risk Takers' brings the viewer back to Musk's childhood in South Africa and chronicles his journey to stunning entrepreneurial success. The serial entrepreneur sold his software company Zip2 to Compaq for $US307 million in cash and $US34 million in stock options at age 28. Now age 42, he's a
co-founder of PayPal and the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Motors.
'Jiro Dreams Of Sushi' profiles Jiro Ono, a Japanese sushi chef and restaurant owner who is widely revered for his skill and $US300-a-plate dinners. It follows the 85-year-old master as he works with vendors to secure the finest ingredients, manages and mentors his staff, and prepares his son to succeed him when he retires. The movie brings viewers inside the dedication, obsession, and decades of hard work it takes to achieve perfection.
Few people know pressure better than Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the height of the financial crisis. 'Hank: 5 Years from the Brink' explores the momentous task Paulson was handed in September 2008 -- saving the global economy -- and how he dealt with it.
'Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work' takes viewers deep inside the business of Joan Rivers. Following the comedian for a year, filmmakers reveal the highs and lows of Rivers' decades-long quest to stay relevant. What does it take to get to the top and stay there? From meticulous organisation systems to her willingness to take any job to make sure her staff gets paid, Rivers shows the fierce determination necessary for success.
The items you think the least about may have the most effective designs, according to the 2009 film 'Objectified.' Take the Post-it note. Have you ever considered that someone put a lot of time into its appearance? The movie explores the unconscious but influential relationship we have with the objects around us, and why the smallest tweaks in design make an enormous difference.
If you've ever thought about starting a restaurant, Danny Meyer knows a thing or two about success in the business. 'The Restaurateur: How Does Danny Do It?' offers a behind-the-scenes look at Meyer, the New York City restaurateur and man behind Shake Shack and Gramercy Tavern. The movie shows how Meyer's philosophy of putting great food first launched his career.
The 2009 documentary 'Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel' chronicles the rise of American magazine magnate Hugh Hefner. In interviews with him, colleagues, critics, and fans, the film follows the trajectory of Hefner's business, Playboy Enterprises, from a wild idea in the 1950s to a modern empire. While his core product -- a men's magazine featuring edgy literature and photos of naked women -- is controversial, it shows how Hefner deftly found a gap in the market and capitalised on it.
'Something Ventured' portrays some of the most successful and prolific venture capitalists, who through genius or luck made big early-stage bets on tech companies like Apple, Google, Atari, and Intel. For a crash course in venture capital or a modern business history lesson, this 2011 documentary shows how entrepreneurs partnered with investors to build some of the greatest American companies.
'Mark Cuban: Bloomberg Game Changers' looks at the backstory of billionaire entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban. Talking to his childhood friends, professors, and business associates, it shows how Cuban built Internet company Broadcast.com into a must-have property at the height of the dot-com boom. It also offers viewers a look at the spoils of success and proves the importance of great salesmanship, timing, and a desire to win.
Jobs is one of the most revered entrepreneurs and designers of our time. In the PBS documentary 'Steve Jobs: One Last Thing,' the filmmakers trace Jobs' inspiring career and lasting legacy in technology and retail, as well as his legendary product presentations.
Why do people do the things they do? 'Freakonomics,' a 2010 film based on the book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, explores the scientific and economic concepts behind human behaviour. It will open your eyes to what motivates your customers, employees, and coworkers.
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