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Directors Chris Hegedus (The War Room) and Jehane Noujaim couldn't have imagined the drama that awaited when they began documenting the creation of the pioneering e-commerce site govWorks.com. For over a year they followed the company, the brainchild of childhood-friends-turned-business-partners software geek and doting single dad Tom Herman, and ambitious young business-school-grad-turned-company-CEO Kaleil Isaza Tuzman. During the rise of the Internet investment frenzy and the subsequent crash of the dot-economy, the cameras remain keyed into the human dynamic: the lifestyle compromises, the personal sacrifices, and the clash of philosophies and personalities that ultimately tear boyhood buddies Tom and Kaleil apart...almost. Startup.com's portrait of the cutthroat nature of American business culture and the choices one makes (or doesn't) to succeed poses the one question most documentaries ignore: Is it worth it? --Sean Axmaker
- Commentary by the directors
- Featurette: "Documentarians on Documentary"
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For a business major or anyone interested in business, I suggest watching this movie. Even if it wasn't a dot com era, it really does show how quickly things can change positive and negative for a start up business. The main characters are shown in a very realistic view, they must make hard decisions and are often shown how hard business can be.
Really a great movie to watch, like a reality show but it shows how peoples lives are shifted for the good and bad.
The opening 3/4 is fine, but it is the last 15 minutes that so disappoints. As the dotcom boom turns to bomb there is virtually no coverage of the monumental NASDAQ collapse and the financial hole that the likes of boo.com, epets, yahoo, aol etc fell/have fallen into. I appreciate that the doco is more about the relationship between Tom and Kaleil, but seeing more information about the actual govworks product, who was using it, why it failed, and how so many others failed, would have added so much to the story. As it is you get the feeling that govworks was alone in its failure. There is little of the additional background story which would have fleshed out the govworks story immeasurably.
This failure to place govworks in the 2000 dotcom crash perspective saves this story from being excellent.
Technically some of the focusing and framing is poor, as you'd expect. Worse tho is the terrible lip-sync which is sometimes wildly out of kilter which adversely affects ones ability to follow the story. A subtitle track would also have helped to follow some of the muffled telephone calls.
Overall tho, a very good slice of life at the turn of the century.
It shows the immense cost in terms of relationships. It shows the power of greed to pervert even the most longstanding friendships.
I took my wife in the hope that she might begin to realize what my life was like the last 5 years..... I found myself realizing, through all of it... I was not the only one.
An amazing work. I will see this film many times......
In retrospect, it seems clear the govWorks was going to fail. Put simply, they underperformed compared to their competitors and got a huge amount of investment with hype and not much performance.
Twenty years from now, when people look back on the "dot com bubble", and when those who weren't there can't fathom the hundreds of overnight paper millionaires, the irrational stock valuations, the revolutionary nature of what was happening, and of course the impending crash - this film will surely stand as an indispensable documentary of the time, capturing the excitement and the madness of the incredible Internet commercial phenomenon.
Hats off to the film makers - this is a truly remarkable time capsule that, compelling as it is today, will only become increasingly important as our collective memories of that time, fade.
So here I am - a regular person, with a regular job - self-indulgently broadcasting my simple thoughts to anyone, anywhere in the world who will listen, courtesy of the global communication network that made it all possible.
This is it. This is how it was.
It's insane how much of the rise and fall of their company they were able to capture. If you love/collect documentaries, then this would be a must have, but if you're looking for a great movie on a dot com failure, then go out and rent it.