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The 8 Best Tech Documentaries To Stream Right Now On Netflix

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Even if you call yourself a full-fledged techie, there is always something to learn when it comes to this ever-evolving sector. With new devices hitting the market on the regular, startups continuing to pop up in Silicon Valley and new technologies always in development, there is always some fascinating avenue within this realm to be explored.

Since Alex Gibney's Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 4, we are sure the latest film about the late Apple CEO might peak your interest to watch more tech-related content. What better way to gain knowledge about the subject that consumes our everyday lives than by streaming some tech documentaries online?

There are plenty of docs available on the great World Wide Web, but Netflix has some of the best options, including more Steve Jobs content to give you a complete picture of who the man who started Apple was.

We must remember that Jobs isn't the only well-known name in technology. Netflix also offers documentaries about inventor, physicist and electrical engineer Nikola Tesla and telecommunications genius Walter L. Shaw. There are also titles to give us insight to some of the world's biggest companies like Intel, Google and Cisco.

So, get ready to geek out with these eight best tech documentaries to stream right now on Netflix.

Jobs

While some people will be lining up to see Steve Jobs: The Man in Machine, the film that was made without the cooperation of both Apple and Jobs' immediate family, there is still a lot to learn from other documentaries that give us insight to the prolific man. Steve Jobs: The Man in Machine features interviews from former colleagues and longtime girlfriend and mother of his daughters, Chrisann Brennan, but it's interesting to see how other filmmakers present the former Apple CEO.

While there are documentaries available to stream on Netflix featuring interviews from Jobs and other colleagues, the 2013 films Jobs starring Aston Kutcher gives viewers a look at Jobs' journey from going from a college dropout to starting one of most successful tech companies of the 20th century. Showing his professional and personal struggles and triumphs, the film, directed by Joshua Michael Stern, also features his rocky relationships with friend and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Apple investor Mike Markkula.

Freakonomics 

 

The 2010 film adaptation of the book by Steven Levitt and Stephen Duber, Freakonomics features a series of vignettes that explore the economic concepts behind human behavior. The documentary reveals the incentive-based thinking and motivations of coworkers, employees and customers using case studies and humorous examples.

Directed by Heidi Ewing, Alex Gibney, Seth Gordon, Rachel Grady, Eugene Jarecki and Morgan Spulock, Freakonomics debuted on Apple's iTunes and pay-per-view prior to its theatre release and climbed the iTunes charts quickly in the documentary film category. The eye-opening film is a must-see for anyone interested in behavior sciences, business and, of course, economy.

Something Ventured

If you ever wondered about the venture capitalists who supported some of the biggest tech companies like Apple, Google and Intel in its early stages, then Something Ventured is a must-see documentary. This tech doc explains what exactly a venture capitalist entails, following the big names who are responsible for working with investors to get some of the biggest companies up and running.

In the heart of Silicon Valley, these venture capitalists used timing and some luck, taking enormous risks to fund the companies they believed in when they had little to show for. The documentary also serves as a history piece about rising technology, showcasing a time before consumers even knew what a computer was, and how these technologies have changed the way we now live.

Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room

The latest Steve Jobs film director Alex Gibney previously released in May 2005, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, is a documentary about the corporate crime of the century. Feeling the story about the corrupt business practices of the Enron corporation, this doc reveals just how shady things were over on Wall Street and how it led to the company's fall.

Showcasing the major flaws of some of the employees over at the energy company such as arrogance, pride and greed, the film shows how they used every loophole they could to ensure they made a profit. However, where it took Enron 16 years to go from $10 to $65 million in assets, it took it just a day to go bankrupt. Learn all about one of the most well-known cases of fraud and financial corruption in this doc.

Tesla: Master of Lightning

Although he is often overlooked in history, this PBS documentary highlights the life and professional career of electrical genius Nikola Tesla. Directed by Robert Uth, Tesla: Master of Lightning pays homage to the man who made it possible to transmit electricity across the U.S. and patented the technology for wireless communications used in radio and TV broadcasting.

Tesla invented and developed many technologies that are used to this day, such as remote control, X-rays and electric motors. Since he lacked business skills and was described as being an arrogant man, he died poor in 1943. However, before his death, he was working on a "death ray" that let to the military search progression such as "Star Wars," or the Strategic Defense Initiative.

Genius on Hold

Similar to aspects of Tesla's story, Genius on Hold tells the story of telecommunication engineer and inventor Walter L. Shaw, and how his big ideas were stolen by AT&T.

Narrated by Frank Langella with real-life footage, the film follows the inventor who is credited with inventing the speakerphone, conference calling and the answering machine and how he got caught up in government scandal. Depicted as a family man, Shaw ends up allegedly having ties to the Mafia, supplying them with black boxes so they could make untraceable calls after the AT&T debacle.

Steve Jobs famously built what he called blue boxes, which worked similar to Shaw's black box, later saying if he hadn't made and sold them, there may not have been an Apple.

The Restaurateur

If you are a New Yorker, then you know how irresistible Shake Shack is. Have you ever wondered about the genius behind the popular chain? The Restaurateur is a 2010 documentary about one of the most successful restaurant entrepreneurs in the country, Danny Meyer. Known for his popular chain Shake Shack and New York City's Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, this film shows how food helped shaped this entrepreneur's business decisions, leading him to decide to open two restaurants at the same time.

The documentary follows the the construction process of Eleven Madison Park and Tabla and how his businesses have grown 11 years later. A perfection combination of food and business, The Restaurateur shows the process of building a restaurant from its earliest days of development to getting its three-star rating.

Downloaded

Revolutionizing the way we used computers, the explosion of the Internet allowed users to be connected to everyone. When it came to getting and sharing music in the '90s, there was one popular way — downloading via Napster. Directed by Alex Winter, Downloaded is a documentary that reveals the events that led up to the Napster revolution.

Starting from just a dorm room project to becoming the most popular and controversial music sharing service, the documentary shows how Napster became something bigger than its founders Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker could've imagined, and how it seemed there would be no stop to the putting out the spark it started that caused the era of music piracy. Through swapping music files from one computer to another, Napster was popular among college kids who started to download music instead of paying for tracks. This, of course, led to backlash among artists, and the film includes footage of Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich as it explores this time when the Internet changed the music industry.

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