As much as entrepreneurs may try, we can’t plan and schedule everything. Fortunately, the television and cable networks are more reliable and as the fall shows start to air soon, there are a few entrepreneurs should be watching.
Suits. Mike Ross, a college drop out, and Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best attorneys carry this show. Mike is brilliant, and somehow finds himself working with Harvey to close cases. Suits reminds entrepreneurs, that sometimes things just fall into your lap and it’s not always your pedigree that matters. Moreover, what happens is not always what you expected or planned, but it can be much better.
Mad Men. One of the most acclaimed shows on TV, it quickly became a success in the business world as it tells tales about a 1960s era advertising firm and its leading man, Don Draper. Popularity aside, Mad Man has a great deal to teach entrepreneurs about sales. Sales are a huge part of being an entrepreneur. You have to sell your personal brand, along with your business idea–and sometimes, as with Don Draper, they can be the same thing.
House of Cards. House of Cards is a Netflix original series, that no one can stop watching. The show follows the life of U.S. Congressman, Frank Underwood as he and his wife work to get punish their enemies, and take over Congress. Although Frank takes this to the extreme, House of Cards can teach entrepreneurs about leadership–and networking. Like Frank, often our success depends on being bold and knowing the right people. Finding out what you can do for others, and what they can do for you, creates successful partnerships.
House of Lies. In Corporate America, Marty Kaan and his team of management consultants work together to get what they want from powerful CEOs. Marty and his team use cunning and tricks to get what they want. As such, they can be a great example of what not to do and what type of people entrepreneurs should keep an eye out to avoid.
Ray Donovan. Ray works in LA as the go-to guy for the top Los Angeles players. He works with the rich and famous and does their dirty work. For entrepreneurs, Ray emphasizes loyalty and hard work–especially work that isn’t’ always glamorous or glorious.
Game of Thrones. This book turned hit HBO show, takes place in the mythical land of Westeros with noble families fighting for the Iron Throne–the seat of power. Like other shows in the fall line-up, Thrones offers a great study in leadership and loyalty. The back-stabbing and treachery can easily remind you of the entrepreneurial landscape is today with many companies, doing similar things, all fighting to be the next top dog. There will always be startups with new and better ideas, and it is essential to remember that innovation, and a great team is what can win you the business Iron Throne.
Boardwalk Empire. From Terence Winter, Emmy Award-winning writer of ‘The Sopranos,’ and Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is inspired by the non-fiction book “Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times and Corruption of Atlantic City” by Nelson Johnson. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is set in Atlantic City during Prohibition, when the sale of alcohol became illegal throughout the United States. It was a time of change: women gained the right to vote, broadcast radio spread the news, young people ruled the world, and criminals became rich trafficking in illegal alcohol. ‘Boardwalk Empire’ is executive produced by Terence Winter, Martin Scorsese, Tim Van Patten, Howard Korder, Gene Kelly, Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg. Joe Iberti, Allen Coulter and Rick Yorn are producers.
I’m not saying watching these shows will get you an MBA. Or that they are any replacement for real-world experience. But the entrepreneurship lessons in several of these shows are enlightening, empowering and, if nothing else, entertaining.