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Where HBO's Silicon Valley Nails it... and Where it Kind of Misses

Posted By: Jay Brooks on June 4, 2015

HBO Silicon Valley

As a tech company, Silicon Valley is on the top of our watch list. With its raunchy humor, candid look at tech giants and assessment of the startup game, it’s truly priceless viewing. If you have not seen it (and are not easily offended) you should. It’s a show that’s binge-watch-worthy.

That said, there are a few things that are kinda off, technically-speaking…

Apart from the obviously "wrong" humor, some of the technical details are a little off. Clearly, most are purely for comedic affect, but in the interest of not misleading the audience – here are a few noteworthy clarifications:

1. A tequila bottle is going to delete terabytes of data.
When Mr. 3 Comma accidentally places his tequila bottle on a laptop and it starts deleting massive amounts of data, it was definitely hilarious, but the likelihood of this is actually happening is pretty remote.

2. Running a data center from your garage is an option.
While I guess this one is technically possible, it would be a practical nightmare with way too many issues to list here.

3. Tech giants are clueless.
This is by and large not the case. While CEO's may be eccentric and slightly self-absorbed, the portrayal of fictional tech giant Hooli is a little over the top. However, I can think of one tech giant in particular that I would put into the clueless category …Bing, Bing, Bing!

4. You can "pivot" your platform overnight.
In the Season One finale, Richard re-codes the entire Pied Piper platform in one night. Um, right...  In my 20-year career, I've met very few people (more like none) that could pull off this or anything remotely similar. Sure, we've all pulled all-nighters and done some amazing things in a short period of time, but that one was a little hard to swallow.

5. Everybody is a comedian.
Unfortunately, not everyone you work with has the same sense of humor.  There are a lot of people that need to lighten up because let’s face it, if you can't laugh at yourself, other people will gladly do it for you.

All of the glitches aside, here’s what's pretty darn accurate…

These are just the tip of the iceberg and a few of the reasons the show has such appeal. Let's start with the one thing that they hit so square on the nose it's not funny (actually, it’s hilarious):

1. The painfully obvious lack of women.
Just visit any tech company and visit their tech department and nine times out of ten it's a sausage fest.

2. Usernames & passwords are on post-it notes.
I can't count the number of times I've been at client site or potential vendor (red flag!) and someone says "hold on, let me find my password" then reaches for a post-it note hanging off their monitor. Scary!

3. Everybody wants some.
If you've got good tech, ideas and execution, everyone wants a piece, wants to take credit for it or just flat out steals your ideas. "You're a double a$$hole." -Nuff said.

4. Naming a tech company.
This is the big joke in tech. What do you name your startup?  Good domains are hard to come by and alternate spellings have become pretty ridiculous. The addition and replacement of letters in names and domains makes it nearly impossible to find companies, if you don't know the specific spelling. The combination of "techy" words to form another “nonsensical” word is pretty common as well.

5. Some of the ideas are crazy and a lot are just overdone.
To get a sense of what's being developed and funded, just visit Crunchbase on any given day and look at the latest funding rounds.  There, you'll find several companies that seemingly do the same thing as ten others, plus a bunch that have nebulous descriptions/objectives and a few others that just make you scratch your head and think "WTF"? "Bit Soup, like alphabet soup, but ones and zeros instead of the letters. Cause binary... Binary is ones and zeros."

All this being said, I think we could do a blog about what we've learned from SV but it'd be mostly just validation and priceless quotes.  One more thing - these twitter feeds are a must ( ,

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