One of my favorite ways to unwind is to watch documentaries on Netflix. I’m particularly obsessed with documentaries related to business and technology because it’s a fun and easy way to learn about startup culture, as well as the humble beginnings of some of today’s greatest innovators and entrepreneurs—including the minds behind Google, Pixar, PayPal, and Chipotle.
Just as Career Contessa provides an inspiring peek into the lives of successful women, it’s fascinating to learn how the world’s most successful companies got started. These documentaries give you an idea of the kind of courage and sacrifice it takes to build a successful business and have a legendary career.
So, grab a blanket, cue up your Netflix, and prepare to be inspired! Here are my top three favorite documentaries:
1. Learn how one innovator launched an industrial empire via PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX.
Elon Musk: Bloomberg Risk Takers
Time: 49 minutes
This must watch documentary profiles Elon Musk, the genius entrepreneur who revolutionized e-commerce online (PayPal), created the market for stylish electric cars (Tesla), and taught himself rocket science in order to build the first-ever commercial space rocket (SpaceX). Musk continues to make the world a better place by challenging the norm and (literally) shooting for the stars.
2. Got 25 minutes? Learn about the gutsy woman who changed the face of Vogue Magazine forever.
Anna Wintour: Bloomberg Game Changers
Time: 25 minutes
In this short documentary, learn how Anna Wintour went from being a high school dropout to one of fashion’s most powerful icons. She took major risks and is now a bad a** boss lady! Check out all the Bloomberg episodes to be inspired by other savvy game changers such as Jay Z and Mark Zuckerburg.
3. Learn what it’s like to work at the company behind Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and more.
Time: 30 minutes
Learn about Pixar’s rocky journey to becoming a multi-billion dollar animation powerhouse. Pixar has changed the face of animation as we know it, but at one point it almost ceased to exist! Today, the company continues to amaze and inspire audiences by pushing the creative envelope and pioneering new technologies. Check out other Inside documentaries to learn how companies such as Chipotle, Google, and LinkedIn got their start.
These short films are a great way to get savvier about business and entrepreneurship, as well as inspire your own creativity! The only drawback? There are few accounts of companies started by women. Unfortunately, this is a reflection of the inequality that exists in the corporate workplace and the challenges that women face as entrepreneurs. As Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg points out in Lean In, women today make up only 21 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs, 14 percent of executive officer positions, and 17 percent of board seats. Let this serve as motivation to continue fighting for equal opportunity in the workplace and challenging the perception that men are the primary pioneers in business and innovation. Continue being the bold, fearless dreamers that you are and we’re bound to see more stories written about our accomplishments!