Entrepreneurs Need More Than a Montage

Team America: World Police movie stillKeep an eye on the basics and the boring stuff even though movies about businesses turn it in to a montage.

A couple of comments made recently drove home the point that the “boring stuff” is where an entrepreneur should spend his or her time. The first comment was made by lean startup guru Eric Ries (@ericries) at a recent talk on his visit to Ireland.

In that engagement and in his book, The Lean Startup, Ries pokes fun at the “mythmaking world of Hollywood.” In his book, he wrote:

“First, we see the plucky protagonist having an epiphany, hatching a great new idea. We learn about his or her character or personality, how he or she came to be in the right place at the right time, and how he or she took the dramatic leap to start a business. Then the photo montage begins. It’s usually short, just a few minutes of time-lapse photography or narrative.”

That movie montage tradition was lampooned to great effect by Team America: World Police, which was made by the creators of South Park, Matt Parker and Trey Stone. In that film, the hero’s secret-agent training is condensed in to a 90-second montage with one of the authors’ trademark, satirical soundtracks (the scene is below).


As Ries noted, by the time the montage completes, the founders are successful and the next scenes show their faces plastered over newspapers, magazines or papers.

“Unfortunately, the real work that determines the success of startups happens during the photo montage. It doesn’t make the cut in terms of the big story because it is too boring.”

The word, boring, was raised by Annalisa O’Carroll at a recent MBA Association of Ireland (@mbaai) discussion on entrepreneurship. O’Carroll, who worked with many startups and is now Head of Impact at Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, said, “The boring stuff is really, really important.”

O’Carroll recalled a trip she took to the U.S. during the dot-com boom. She told of a visit to one company — that had still to reach profitability — and how it had taken employees on a treasure hunt across America. That company ultimately folded, and their money and energy should have been deployed elsewhere, she said. “A lot of the boring and foundational stuff is something we need to pay a lot more attention to.”

Team America still is one of Paramout Pictures publicity shots for the movie.




2 thoughts on “Entrepreneurs Need More Than a Montage

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