It can be challenging to find inspiration when you're looking at the same four walls every day--a situation more people find themselves in now than ever before. It's often helpful to look at things through someone else's lens, which is why films are such rich resources of inspiration. They can motivate you to think about life and business in unique and creative ways, and sometimes, you find the greatest lessons in the ones you least expect to. Give these films a watch--or a rewatch--if you're in need of an entrepreneurial jump-start.
Back to the Future
The Premise: It feels unnecessary to recap such a classic, but this film follows a teenager who accidentally travels back in time 30 years with the help of an eccentric scientist and a time-traveling DeLorean. Together, they must restore history and make it back to the present day.
The Lesson: Consider the long-term ramifications of your immediate actions. Plan for every possibility, even--and maybe especially--the worst-case scenarios. What if an investor backs out, or there's an interruption in your supply chain? Or, in light of the current business landscape, what if you're forced to temporarily suspend operations? After watching this movie, you'll find that navigating a tangled web of interdimensional timelines is not totally dissimilar from creating a business contingency plan.
Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened
The Premise: Fyre Festival was perhaps the biggest scandal of 2017 and may go down in history as one of the world's most spectacular failures, at the hands of a fraudulent entrepreneur and a famous rapper. This documentary takes you behind the scenes with people directly involved with the would-be luxury music festival, exposing what happened and how it all fell apart when attendees arrived to find the reality was a far cry from what was promoted.
The Lesson: This film is rife with examples of what not to do, the most universal being don't make promises you can't deliver on. But from a more tactical perspective, the lesson is to be wise about where you make your investments. The film's antagonist, tech entrepreneur and festival co-founder Billy McFarland, put a lot of money into promoting the event, largely through celebrities and influencers on social media. That's all well and good, except for one small detail: He forgot to invest in the product.
The Premise: Based on the book of the same name, Moneyball tells the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team's 2002 season during which general manager Billy Beane takes a clever and unprecedented approach to assembling a competitive team.
The Lesson: Adaptation is the key to success. Without the financial resources other teams had at the time, Billy Beane knew Oakland didn't stand a chance of thriving in the league. That being the case, in order to create an optimal lineup, he had to think outside the box, which meant taking big risks and making tough and unorthodox decisions. It's a fascinating tale of the underdog going up against the major players--sounds like a lot of startups I know.
The Premise: Inspired by sports agent Leigh Steinberg, this film tracks the journey of a successful sports agent who becomes disheartened by the state of the sports management business. After being fired, he strikes out on his own in hopes of working with fewer clients in an attempt to establish better personal relationships.
The Lesson: Forge your own path to success. Much of this film addresses the struggles and doubts that come with leaving the comfort of an established business behind to start a new venture. This movie is a good reminder that there are many different roads you can travel to arrive at a successful destination. But first, figure out how you define success.
So, the next time you get a couple of hours to yourself, sit back, relax, enjoy the movie, and grab a notebook; you're sure to uncover even more lessons to take back to the drawing board with you.