Silicon Valley – Weekly TV Show Commentary

Silicon Valley’s season finale “Optimal Tip-to-Tip Efficiency” ensures that the show will be back for season 2. It mostly deals with how in general, startups spend most of their time fronting, the constant rumour mill of the tech world and the absurdity of pivoting.

Through sheer luck, the guys at Pied Piper ended up with a shark of a lawyer (I dunno about you, but Ron Laflamme seemed like a total flake when we met him in “Fiduciary Duties”), and so because Erlich was attacked, the gang is moved up to the finals of Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Silicon Valley - NucleusOnce Pied Piper see what Nucleus has become (nice work, copying the Internet Explorer logo! It’s become pretty apparent that Hooli is supposed t orepresent all the current tech giants: Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc.) they determine that Pied Piper is futile – they just don’t have the reach and additional functionalities that Nucleus would because it is fully compatible with the rest of the Hooli suite of apps. Richard, as usual, treats every challenge with his usual Eeyore mentality, whereas Erlich decides that he can talk his way out of this one too:

Richard: “They have 50 modules that are all awesome, we have 5 that barely work. I mean, we’re still having trouble compressing 3D files. Who’s running off to buy that?

Erlich: Who the fuck cares? So the platform can’t handle 3D files. You know what? 3D movies suck anyway!

Erlich’s plan is to sully the names of Hooli and Gavin Belson via the attack incident. Jared’s plan is to determine how Pied Piper should pivot. He also hasn’t slept in like a week. Jared’s “market research” is a great example of how when startups say they are pivoting, they look pretty dumb.

Silicon Valley - Jared doing customer validationJared: “Hi! Can I talk to you about something called Pied Piper? What does it do? Good question. Maybe you can help us find an answer. What if Pied Piper was an app that could attract rats. You know, like the fairytale? For purposes of extermination, or to feed your pet snake – I’m not here to tell you what to do with your rats, but we’re here to get you rats – STAT. Would you be interested, somewhat interested or not interested? Which one? Which one? Which one?”

Meanwhile, Richard goes for a walk and encounters Monica… I have to admit, I’m totally disappointed that they’ve set up the sole female character as a love interest. But I also feel like I shouldn’t have expected anything different.

Silicon -Valley - We're actually brokeAt the same time, Dinesh and Gilfoyle have a look at the booths at TCD. They’re genuinely scared that Pied Piper is going to fail, and they are seriously considering jumping ship at this point. It’s not entirely out of order, and so they go have a look at a company that appears to be doing really well. After talking up Pied Piper in order to show that they are not traitors, the CEO then asks them if they are hiring #startupfail.

So many penises...

So many penises…

They all wind up in the hotel room to sulk. There, they get into a ridiculous argument about how to best jerk off the whole room within 10 minutes. This turns into a problem solving session and it seems like . This ridiculousness becomes the spark of inspiration that Richard needed – which I find true to life – most startups are inspired by the most mundane and ridiculous conversations in order to find their true purpose.

Impressions/opinions:

Leila: Like I’ve said before, I’m super disappointed with the way women are portrayed and the serious lack of female characters in here. But this is a typical TV show, so in that respect, I am not terribly surprised. Obviously they were going to win or something fabulous would happen, considering the show has received some serious acclaim and overall great reviews. Plus they were showing at Disrupt, what would be the point in showing off a merely average app. This is the first time that we see Richard seriously working instead of constantly worrying, which is a relief. For a while I wasn’t sure if he did anything other than whine and cry.

Beth: On pivoting – Pivoting isn’t bad. In fact, Marty Cagan of the Silicon Valley Product Group says that 3 out of 4 startups will iterate or pivot at some point in their life. It’s pretty rare to get it right the first time. Successful pivots happen when a greater pain to be solved is discovered through customer validation and/or customer development and NOT when something simply isn’t working without understanding why.

Silicon Valley - A Happy EndingIn the end, we’ll have to wait until next season to figure out what they do with Peter Gregory’s character (unfortunately, the actor has since passed away), how much money Pied Piper has raised since winning the competition, and how awful the Richard/Monica paring will be.

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