Startup Moments in Cinema: Contact
Contact is a fantastic movie but its also one my favorites when I think of “startup moments” that twinge in your gut, the rush of seeing something you think and know is true, its like a defining moment in your leap into next and you’re really just addicted to those moments.
Its all about the audio design here. The pulsing signal, that nudge that gives you that moment in time to act, to resonate in what its about offer you. GET IT.
Story telling and entrepreneurship go hand in hand, their cut from the same fabric, they reside in center of who we are. We feel stories, we relate to stories, we aspire. The tale of trying, doing, overcoming, believing, manifesting, thats all entrepreneurship is- sure it makes for an experience, some product, but thats NOT why we do it.
Contact has tons of entrepreneurial moments. Lessons woven into the cinematography to constantly remind you of your place, your opportunity, your chance.
When Ellie presents to the Hadden board she is met with the classic embodiment of ruthless skepticism. The very mannerisms of these board members is something we all know far too well when facing venture capitalists. Cold, unwavering doubt projected like a missile into our souls. Of course Ellie has no biz plan, she has no model, she has no true benefit for the dollars to come in, she merely believes. Today’s entrepreneurs attempt to stack the deck with overwhelming evidence yet do we realize if we truly needed it? Or should we be more like Ellie?
Luckily for her she loses it. She goes off on them as nearly every entrepreneur I know even myself has wanted to do when faced with a short sighted group of those that can do because of money and you cannot. Her argument is actually quite sound and it rips apart these would be board members who’s entire empire sits on the shoulders of dreamers just like her.
And Hadden realizes it, money given.
The elusive billionaire Hadden brings Ellie in for a conversation, entertainment. He revels in telling her at one time he himself was a helluva engineer, this is like an olive branch to her connecting with her on the field of science, on the field of pursuit, drive, vision.
He then tells her “I know a good bet when I see one.” This is one of the biggest take-aways in everything venture and next and its one thing that defies all the rules and logic- emotions, beliefs, they can over ride every logical don’t invest argument.
When you present yourself with such conviction that you will WILL your idea into existence and nothing will stop you- that is like a lightning bolt for venture. Because everything will be thrown at you trying to do something, life will throw so much stuff at you- but if you can not only just survive and endure but actually resist, overcome and change everything to see your will be done- that is the investment they want.
Hadden dresses her down with the optics of the moment, the “game of the millennium“. This is powerful combination of a ruthless capitalistic badass leveraging the futurist view on things. And of course he prods her with the notion, suggesting, she is out. In a way he wants to test her resolve.
Every day in your startup, your business, you’re tested.
Will she accept it, or be the force he sees within her. He’s attracted to her power. Thats another key factor. Make yourself attractive to your power. Not you, what you CAN do.
Clever girl, the primer realization. This is like the ah ha in every startup tech journey, the realization that this plus that with this creates a new unforeseen compound value of x that is epic. Another lesson to question is does the discovery of the primer require “money” or “vision”. In this case I argue its not money that found the primer, its Hadden’s own notion that he too was helluva engineer- this whole scene is him harnessing and presenting his power, that he too was a creator, a dreamer, a visionary, a force, and this is his contribution…. to the game of the millennium.
How bout you? What’s your game?