Effective Solutions Through Partnership

6 Netflix Documentaries to Hone your Business Analysis Skills

Business Analysis, Learning, Managing/Leadership, Small Business

Documentaries Business Skills

By Guest Blogger Tony Oliver, Penny Wise Consulting Group

This blog post first appeared on the Penny Wise Consulting Group’s blog and was posted here with permission. The original post can be found here.

A true juggernaut, Netflix has twice changed how we consume television, first with its red DVD envelopes and now with its streaming service. The Los Gatos, CA company has slain much larger rivals along the way to domination. While its roster of original programming (House of Cards, Stranger Things, etc.) has been lauded by critics and fans alike, many true gems remain hidden. The “documentary” section contains a wealth of offerings covering various topics, and most are comfortably in the approx. 90-minute range.

While the list is far from exhaustive, it gives a nice starting point the next time you can’t decide whether to binge on Daredevil or The Crown. After all, an amuse-bouche to clean the palate is proper etiquette.

  • Atari: Game OverExplaining Atari to millennials is an interesting exercise; I often equate the company to Google, Facebook, and Apple all rolled into one. For a generation that had only experienced primitive cable tv to compliment the big three networks, Atari’s impact is hard to exaggerate. The VCS and its successors brought video games out of the arcade and into the house. Billions of hours spent on Yar’s Revenge, Atlantis, and Pole Position gave us sore thumbs, but countless memories. The company, however, fell on hard times due to a combination of bad timing, competition, saturation, and its own hubris. The film expertly weaves these factors while digging for a Lost Ark-like treasure: cartridges dumped into a New Mexico landfill in 1983. Its teachings on how supply/demand planning can go awry by group-think is an outstanding business case.
  • American Genius: National Geographic Channel special, the series delves into the role of rivalries behind amazing discoveries and feats. While its 45-minute length prevents the topics from being comprehensively discussed, it provides enough goodness to awaken one’s desire to go out and do great things…or at the very least, pick up a book to learn more about the topics. It may give you a new perspective on your competition and the role it shapes in your industry.
  • Brain GamesI can only imagine the pitch: “We have an idea for a show to make neuroscience cool.” My daughter absolutely loves the show, and if you are in marketing—and if you are in business, you are in marketing—you will find dozens of great lessons on consumer behavior. Whether you use them wisely or not is entirely up to you.
  • Living on One DollarCostco’s hot dog and soda combo at $1.49 (before tax) is rightfully lauded as an amazing deal. Top quality beef and an unlimited amount of soda make for a pretty good snack, yet the meal would be out of reach for someone living on $1 a day in Guatemala, as the film captures. Beyond making an impactful social statement, it can teach businesses with expansionary dreams not to discount the differences of their potential customers’ buying power.
  • The Magic of Heineken:The story of Freddy Heineken and his devotion to the family business is nothing but engrossing. Mixing pictures, video, and Le Petit Prince-like animations, the documentary takes you through successive generations and battles to preserve and expand the brand. Those seeking to understand a “think globally, act locally” approach to establishing a brand in other countries will learn great lessons on how the company acquired local businesses to penetrate new markets and acquire local goodwill for the world famous green bottle.
  • The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms:This BBC production provides a lot of answers on algorithms, but more importantly, it prompts one to ask more questions. With big data and analytics driving an ever-increasing number of business decisions, understanding how algorithms work is essential. While not everyone is an engineer, it behooves those of us in other functions (marketing, finance, logistics) to gain a deeper appreciation of the problem-solving muscle.

Have you caught any movies or documentaries recently that tie into your business? Let us know in the comments!

About the Author: Tony Oliver is a project manager by trade, a marketing guru by profession, and a lifelong learner from birth. His best trait is an inquisitive mind, which drives his desire to understand not just the “what” but also the “how” and more importantly, the “why” and “why not?” Tony is experienced in supply, pricing, demand, and consumption analysis and holds an MBA in marketing from a top 20 school (UNC Chapel Hill) and an undergraduate English Literature degree from Georgetown University. With 15+ years of experience with Intel and Cisco, Tony is fully bilingual (English, Spanish) with a working knowledge of French, as well as a seasoned public speaker and instructor of Project Management and Presentation Skills courses.

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