Category Archives: TV Shows for Entrepreneurs

More TV For Entrepreneurs | Hollywood Calls Silicon Valley

Regular readers know we love TV for entrepreneurs. The WSJ reports that hollywood is now thinking of producing TV shows and movies centered around the life of tech entrepreneurs and engineers. From Jessica Vascellaro, Entrepreneurs Get Big Break — on Screen:

Comcast Corp.’s Bravo television network is launching a reality show based on the lives of little-known Silicon Valley entrepreneurs this year. In Hollywood, two movies about Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs are in the works. One, an independent film, will star Ashton Kutcher. Sony Pictures is developing another based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography of the technology pioneer.

Michael Lewis, author of popular nonfiction works like “Moneyball,” may write a TV pilot about Silicon Valley, according to people he has spoken to about it. Mr. Lewis says he hasn’t committed to it.

“Geeks are the new royalty,” says Frances Berwick, president of Bravo and Style Media. Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg, is an executive producer on the Bravo reality show, which is currently called “Silicon Valley.” Ms. Zuckerberg, through a spokesman, declined an interview request.

“Two 20-somethings just sold their company for a billion dollars,” says Ms. Berwick, referring to photo-sharing service Instagram, which Facebook announced last week that it had agreed to acquire. “There is something there that plays to the American dream.”

Media executives didn’t use to be so eager to chase the digerati. Even as businesses like Google Inc. and Facebook drew millions and made billions, Hollywood—itself upended by these two technology innovators—kept its distance. The concern: How to dramatize wonky technical breakthroughs and the often unrelatable characters behind them.

The 1999 made-for-TV movie “Pirates of Silicon Valley” chronicled the birth of Apple and Microsoft and their quirky co-founders Mr. Jobs and Bill Gates, though it generated little mainstream buzz.

But more recently, hot tech companies such as Apple have made technology cool. Hit shows about geeks, notably CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” about physicists, proved to media executives the category could sell.

Then came “The Social Network,” the 2010 film about the origins of Facebook. The movie, written by Aaron Sorkin, topped the box office its opening weekend and won a plethora of awards.

via Entrepreneurs Get Big Break—on Screen – WSJ.com.

More TV for Entrepreneurs | Goldrush | Workhappy

From the Gold Rush site.

Regular readers and students know that I think there are countless programs on TV that provide value for entrepreneurs and student entrepreneurs (from Shark Tank to How Its Made). A Workhappy post argues that Goldrush on Discovery Channel is great entrepreneurship tv. A snippet:

I’ll just say that Gold Rush is as close as I’m going to come to the euphoria, mental swings, and irrational emotional investment that some folks have watching sports.

Gold Rush is extra interesting to me because it has all the elements of an engaging startup story, but in a completely different context than my world.

For the uninitiated (and my apologies for those outside the US who may not have access to it), Gold Rush is a TV series which follows a team of hard scrabble, go-for-broke, all-in, heart-and-soul, down-on-their-luck dreamers who aim to cash in on the current high price of gold by starting a mining operation in Alaska.

Watching the sacrifices they make, the bond that builds between them, the impossible odds against them, and their pure unflagging determination in the face of a relentless wave of obstacles is, in a word, inspiring. The parallels to the startup world that you and I live in are myriad.

There are probably some weirdos who appreciate entrepreneurism, yet don’t like this show for some reason, but I can’t imagine who. The (relative) ratings boom the show has enjoyed confirms that my affection for the show is not uncommon. If you enjoy a good story, an against-all-odds tale of struggle in realizing your dream, this is a bit of television well worth your time.

Guess I’ll have to record a few episodes and add the show to our directory of TV for Entrepreneurs.

via Why entrepreneurs should be watching Discovery Channel’s “Gold Rush”.

TV for Student Entrepreneurs: The Mentor on Bloomberg TV

For students studying entrepreneurship, Bloomberg’s The Mentor is back for another season starting today, November 1. Interesting first episode during which Big Bear Choppers, makers of custom motorcycles, face operational, cash flow, and profit challenges.  Big Bear’s products are similar to Orange County Choppers (to an non-motorcycle rider like me) but the owners/operators of Big Bear are nothing like the Teutul family).

Lyndon Faulkner of Pelican Products comes in as their mentor and quickly assesses the situation and gives them assignments to tackle, including reaching out to customers (like that old united commercial), changing their cost structure, and creating a viable strategic plan.

Check out the 2 minute preview here.

Any other shows entrepreneurship students and young entrepreneurs should be watching?

20 Questions with Peter Jones of Dragon’s Den

There has been a rise of television focusing on entrepreneurship and management of smaller and growing firms. Emma Jacobs at FT.com (reg required) has a great 20 questions feature with Peter Jones of the Dragon’s Den (the American version is called Shark’s Tank).

Here are a few highlights:

Did you ever think you’d end up where you are?

Yes. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I simply believe in having a detailed vision about your future, not just vague ambitions.

What has been your smartest business idea?

As a young businessman, I would have said spotting a gap in the mobile telecoms market that enabled me to build a multimillion-pound company. But now I believe the smartest decisions are about the people I employ.

What is the upside of business reality TV?

The Apprentice and Dragons’ Den have changed the image of entrepreneurs – the pinstriped stereotypes are gone. But, best of all, these shows have created a real appetite to make business dreams a reality.

And the downside?

As more people want to be their own boss, they may discover they don’t have the tools and support.

Does tv influence your perception of entrepreneurs? From Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank to Oprah and American Chopper? Any thoughts?

BTW, Peter Jones is a co-founder of Global Entrepreneurship Week and a huge supporter of entrepreneurship education.