Tag Archives: innovation

Pirates of Silicon Valley

Most entrepreneurial activity is context-specific. But if there is one entrepreneurship movie that students from all across the world can find interesting it is Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999). This movie is a fictionalized account of the early professional lives of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, two men who made the technology world what it is today. The movie presents their struggles during college, the humble beginnings of their companies (Microsoft and Apple respectively) and the ingenuity that took them from where they were to where they are now. 

Both Gates and Jobs started their companies with very little investment, but tons of passion for what they were interested in- Computers. The movie is a good watch for many different types of audience- entrepreneurship, information technology, innovation, engineering, computers, new product development etc. What is even more remarkable is that because of the global stature of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, this movie can be used in classrooms around the world. I used it when I taught at Institute of Management Technology (India), and the students loved it. I regularly use it in my teaching in the U.S. where, of course, students know these two men, their businesses, and the context in which the movie is set in much more than people in other parts of the world.  

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October Sky

octsky.jpg It is not everyday that Hollywood makes a movie about a young American inspired by Russian achievements. October Sky (1999) is a movie based on the true-life story of four young boys who, inspired by the Russian launch of Sputnik, decide to develop their own rocket. The problem is that the four young boys are neither children of NASA employees nor private school students with unlimited resources, but are small-town residents with very few resources and even fewer supporters. Homer (the main character in the story) and his three friends live in a small mining town where the destiny for people is to work for the coal mines. However, Homer does not want to follow his father to the coal mines and dreams of building a rocket. Homer ultimately achieves his dream and launches a rocket, but not before his loving father becomes the biggest obstacle in his path.

I think what makes October Sky a movie worth watching is that it is based on a true-story. If the movie was fictitious, it would just be another typical Hollywood movie with a feel-good message. But this is a movie based on a real-life story about innovation and determination. It is not about entrepreneurship, but is about innovation, which some consider is the hallmark of entrepreneurs.