HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (2023)


And what you need to know about it

HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (1)

“If you really want to understand how Silicon Valley works today, you should watch the HBO series Silicon Valley.”

-Bill Gates

Forget all the series you have binge-watched. This one is different. Besides being hilarious, it also teaches you a great deal of what goes on in the valley, how people are, and how they treat each other. Many people from the valley admit an uncanny resemblance. CEO of Snapchat described it as “basically a documentary”.

Silicon Valley is a name that is synonymous with the technology industry. Huge companies are there and it all looks so good from outside. Working hard to have an impact on the world, being on the driver’s seat of change… But is that all? HBO series helps us understand more by showing us life-like events through the series.

The producers of the show are doing their homework. Silicon Valley has consulted with over 250 tech insiders. They go and ask people what best represents the valley including Bill Gates, and then write their scenario accordingly. This is the major reason why the show is such a success.

HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (2)
(Video) HBO’s Silicon Valley: Season 6 premiere Watch Party and Discussion

In Silicon Valley, everyone has their part to play. This holds in real life just like in the show. People want to change the world, work day and night, demonstrate ambition as well as determination and face trade-offs while doing so. Richard, the young CEO who is starting his journey could be viewed as the younger version of Gavin, the CEO of Hooli, who is at the peak of his game. Everyone, from the arrogant and egoistic doctor to the guy working at the supermarket is after entrepreneurial success in the show, just like in the real world where people move to with dreams and hopes. It is a different world, where there is one prize and everyone is after it.

As in any situation, some people try to use shortcuts to success by cheating, lying, manipulation while others try to stand right by their moral code and try to be successful. There are no absolute rights and wrongs. This is what makes it so challenging to succeed in the valley.

The show reflects the truth of many. Taken from real life, the examples are there for you to understand the conditions, see what works and what doesn’t, and end up being hilarious at the same time. Below are some of my opinions about the show and how it mirrors examples from real life. Before you move on if you want to watch the series and have not done it yet, be aware of the spoilers. This is where I say, spoiler alert!

Hooli represents any big company with near-unlimited sources with the best talent, in the leadership position. It reminded me of Google, Apple, or Microsoft. With its CEO, Gavin Belson, the company is ready to attack other companies to be able to stay in their position of power. Especially in the 90s, Microsoft was known for its aggressive acts to the rivalry, killing them off with the few regulations present at the time. They have been heavily fined for that.

Hooli has many features from Google. Nucleus, which is a subdivision of the company was separated from that of Hooli, just like what happened to Alphabet and Google in 2015. Moreover, the company sometimes does not give an active role to employees, nor do they fire them so it keeps them waiting until the next role not to lose them to rivalry just like Google does. In Hooli, we see a rooftop with employees doing nothing but spending time and drinking beer.

The design of Hooli is very similar to Google offices, where there is unlimited food in the kitchen, bike parks, sleep pods, chill workspace, and no clothing policy. It’s all the same because it was copied from them. Production designer Richard Toyon says he followed Google’s rule of the three “H’s” when constructing the Hooli office set: “Health, hygiene, and hunger.”

HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (3)
(Video) HBO's Silicon Valley | Thomas Middleditch, Kumail Nanjiani + More | Talks at Google

Pied Piper represents any startup that starts in a garage with the vision to set out to “change the world”. HP, Apple, Microsoft, Dell, Amazon, Google all started this way. They managed to grow, reach a wider audience, and influence the way we live today.

They were a middle-out compression company at first. In the real world, there is a Chinese compression startup called Terark that does the same. Like so many startups, Pied Piper eventually pivoted to a different business model — the decentralized internet. It turns out there are real-world startups working on developing the technology, including Anonymouse and MaidSafe. It aims to give users control of their data and privacy. That way, companies could not use it to spy on people or exploit them. Pied Piper is the anti-Facebook. With Richard’s resemblance to Zuckerberg and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal, that is a big contrast.

Pied Piper goes through difficult things as they try to grow. First, their idea gets stolen during their pitch to get funding and they have dealt with that just like many startups in the valley. Then, they got money from an investor, Ross Hanneman, who they don’t seem to share any common ground with. We see the real-life struggles all along with their expansion.

He is a mix of Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Wozniak, and Bill Gates since he is a good coder, who is not comfortable in social situations and shows signs of high anxiety. He represents the hoody generation.

Richard gets fired as CEO of his own company and then returns to the company which reminds me of Steve Jobs. During the show, he had a line “Jobs was a poser. He didn’t even write code.”. So maybe Wozniak could be a better fit. Plus, he does not have the influence of Jobs who is known for his good skills to convince those around him. He wrote the compression algorithm himself just like Woz did with the initial development of the Apple Macintosh.

I would say he resembles Zuckerberg with his looks including his ginger hair and pale skin, but not his way of life. Yes, he testifies in court like the Facebook founder and is a drop out too. However, they belong to opposite sides in their ethical codes. Richard puts ethics first, gives up short-term success for the sake of doing the right thing. He demonstrates that all the way during the show. He is against holding user data and using that for monetary gain. What about Zuckerberg? I didn’t think so too.

He could have some traits with Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. Richard wants to develop Internet 2.0 and just like Berners-Lee, he wanted to make data more open and accessible on the Web.

(Video) Silicon Valley | Ten Years Later: The Extended Pied Piper Documentary | HBO

HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (5)

He represents any leader of a successful big company who is charismatic yet egoistic and has an obsessive desire for power or in other words, megalomaniac. Larry Page has been known to share similar traits.

He is into eastern philosophy like Steve Jobs and is known for saying the right things about the good of humanity like Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce. He does this especially in the board meetings where he tries to convince the board to justify the ambitious actions he is taking.

He is willing to do anything to win by any means necessary. This could follow any lie Zuckerberg has told people about what Facebook does with data or all the big companies not paying taxes for years. He symbolizes power.

She is an investor in a Venture Capital firm called Raviga. She reminds me of Marissa Mayer, who is known for being very analytic, always backing up her claims with data and not involving emotions in decision-making. That being said, she is excellent at what she does. It also represents the real-life where she is one of the few women in a position of power in the valley. The women investors represent between 7% and 8% in Silicon Valley today.

When Laurie gave birth, she continued to work even the same day. Marissa Mayer is also known for not taking absence leaves and even returning to the office two weeks after giving birth. Who can blame her for doing that considering the patriarchal structure present?

(Video) T.J. Miller on Why He REALLY Left Silicon Valley

HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (7)

He owns the incubator Richard and Pied Piper belongs to. Throughout the show, he shows signs of Steve Jobs. He wears clothes like him including the sandals and the turtleneck, smokes marijuana and demonstrates good influence when convincing others. Plus, he handles business dealings and is a good presenter. Although he really wants to be him, he is nothing like him despite his attempts.

Some people say he shares some traits with Sean Parker, the co-founder of Napster and former president of Facebook, who has also made large investments in pot legalization. I am not sure if that is enough, but it is a start. He seems to have taken traits from many people from the valley who are over-confident, yet lack the discipline that is necessary for success.

HBO’s Silicon Valley is the Real Valley (8)

The rules in the valley are shown with the HBO series. As you saw, there are many examples from how big companies operate and where startups stands with regards to them. There are players committed to their role and people are playing their part.

It gives all of us something to think about and question. Is it how it should be?

(Video) A Real Hacker's Review of Silicon Valley HBO

Thank you for reading. Let me know if you have any comments about what is mentioned.


How realistic is HBO Silicon Valley? ›

Bill Gates finds HBO's depiction of Silicon Valley in its fictional series ”Silicon Valley” to be fairly accurate, he said in his blog Monday. “If you really want to understand how Silicon Valley works today, you should watch the HBO series ′Silicon Valley. ′ ” “The accuracy is well-earned,” said Gates.

Is Silicon Valley based on a real story? ›

Silicon Valley is one of the smartest, most well-researched shows on TV. No one is going to accuse Mike Judge of creating a documentary, but the HBO series does draw a lot of inspiration from real people and events in the tech industry.

Is Gavin Belson based on a real person? ›

Trivia. Gavin is based on two real-life CEOs, Sergei Brin (formerly of Google) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon), as well as Gavin Newsom, the current Governor of California and former Mayor of San Francisco. The role of Gavin Belson was given to Matt Ross after he auditioned for the role of Peter Gregory.

Is Pied Piper based on a real company? ›

Pied Piper, the fictional startup headed by a tech genius who created a revolutionary algorithm from Silicon Valley, doesn't exist in real life.

Who is Erlich Bachman based on? ›

Erlich, a sandal-wearing visionary with a couple of loose screws, reminded us of tech billionaire and investor Sean Parker. Erlich was often seen smoking from a bong. Coincidentally, Parker contributed $8.5 million to the effort to legalize recreational marijuana in California in 2016.

Is hooli based on Apple? ›

I always felt that the name Hooli with a double o is a conscious attempt to look more like Google. Also the work environment on the inside resembles the google office. But somewhere during the series we see Gavin stating, “I built this company with my own bare hands in my garage” which hints at Apple and Microsoft.

Is hooli real? ›

Hooli is a fictional company on HBO's series “Silicon Valley,” which is loosely based on Google.

Who is Peter in Silicon Valley based on? ›

Thiel was the inspiration for the Peter Gregory character on HBO's Silicon Valley.

Why did they stop Silicon Valley? ›

Part of Judge and Berg's reason for ending the series was the serious turn certain tech companies have taken in recent years. “When we started out, it was absurd in more of a funny way … but it has gotten a little more serious now,” says Judge.

Is hooli an Amazon? ›

But the prideful and stubborn Belson scuttled last-minute negotiations with his board. Amazon promised no layoffs, retention bonuses of two years, and executive autonomy for Belson in its generous takeover offer — with one major stipulation. All Hooli properties were to be rebranded as Amazon.

Is Richard autistic Silicon Valley? ›

DEADLINE: One of the supporting characters makes a reference to Richard (the main character) having Asperger's syndrome, which brings to light how tech companies in Silicon Valley recruit those with autism and Asperger's to fulfill specific roles.

Why did Pied Piper fail? ›

In Silicon Valley's penultimate episode, Pied Piper lost out on a mega-payout deal to put its technology onto AT&T's phones and network because of a powerful but flawed Chinese knockoff.

Does middle out compression exist? ›

Is middle-out compression real? The algorithm itself is fictional. The "Weissman Score" used for measuring the efficiency of compression was a piece of fiction before the show was conceived. However the show's creator Mike Judge collaborated with actual researchers to turn the Weissman Score into a real thing.

Does decentralized internet exist? ›

By creating an ecosystem built on a peer-to-peer infrastructure — often by way of blockchain technologies — the control and decision-making transfers from a centralized entity to the distributed network itself. At this point in time, the decentralized internet exists only in theory.

Why is Silicon Valley called Pied Piper? ›

It takes all your files and makes them smaller when you need a little help!” The name is derived from the expression “who pays the piper gets to call the tune” or more commonly known as “pay the piper.” After ordering t-shirts, Richard realizes the name Pied Piper is already trademarked by a sprinkler company in Gilroy ...

Why was Erlich written off? ›

Initially, Judge offered Miller the chance to come back in Season 5 for three episodes to give his character a proper send-off, but Miller wasn't into the idea, and so the two parties struck a mutual agreement for Miller to leave, allowing Erlich's story to end in Tibet.

Why was T.J. Miller kicked off of Silicon Valley? ›

In a Hollywood Reporter cover story, various sources admit that the decision to cut ties with Miller was “a long time coming” and that his use of drugs and alcohol got in the way of his ability to do his job — “there had been stretches when, multiple show sources say, he looked to have things under control, and others ...

Who is Nelson Bighetti based on? ›

Nelson "Big Head" Bighetti is a fictional character on HBO's television show, Silicon Valley. He is played by Josh Brener and was a tenant of Erich's incubator who works at a large internet company called Hooli.

Who is Big Head based on Silicon Valley? ›

Joshua Max Brener

Who is Richard Hendricks based on? ›

Trivia. T.J. Miller, who played Erlich, initially auditioned to play Richard. Mike Judge, the series' creator, claims that Richard is partially based on Mark Zuckerberg.

Is Gilfoyle real? ›

Gilfoyle may be a fictional, but the Gilfoyle Problem is very real. Inside many IT organizations, immature IT and cybersecurity people play out many of Gilfoyle's behaviors.

Did Silicon Valley get Cancelled? ›

Silicon Valley is an American comedy television series created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. It premiered on HBO on April 6, 2014, and concluded on December 8, 2019, running for six seasons and 53 episodes.

Why did Gavin Belson get fired? ›

Gavin Belson is fired following the disastrous acquisition of PiperChat. He is replaced by Jack Barker, who has found a way to avoid the COPPA fines.

Who is Russ Hanneman based off? ›

Russ Hanneman is definitely based on Mark Cuban. Who is Mark Cuban? He is an eccentric American businessman, investor and philanthropist. He is one of the judges of the reality show 'Shark Tank' and owner of the NBA team Dallas Mavericks.

What is hooli in Silicon Valley? ›

Hooli is a rival company for Pied Piper. Although it is a company like Pied Piper, it is a far larger company in terms of market capitalization, popularity, and in net revenue. Hooli first appeared in Minimum Viable Product and has appeared in almost every episode since then.

Is Gavin Belson smart? ›

Gavin Belson is a villain and one of the least likable characters in Silicon Valley. Upon first consideration, Belson seems smart as he is a successful tech magnate. However, he shows his dull wits in several examples.

What happened to Denpok Silicon Valley? ›

Denpok Singh was Gavin Belson's spiritual advisor during his time at Hooli, but was fired when Gavin Belson left Hooli to work on his novels.

Who is the most powerful person in Silicon Valley? ›

The coolest and most powerful people over 40 in Silicon Valley
  • Nick Woodman, 40. Founder/CEO, GoPro. ...
  • Marissa Mayer, 40. CEO, Yahoo. ...
  • Stewart Butterfield, 41. Cofounder/CEO, Slack. ...
  • Josh James, 41. Founder, CEO, Domo. ...
  • Adam Cahan, 42. Senior vice president of mobile, Yahoo. ...
  • Larry Page, 42. ...
  • Sundar Pichai, 42. ...
  • Nirav Tolia, 42.
6 Jul 2015

Is Silicon Valley safe to live? ›

Life in Silicon Valley is generally safe, and the Los Altos Hills has the lowest number of crimes in an average year (just 5.54 per 1,000 residents). Los Altos itself has the fewest violent crimes at 0.20 per 1,000 people.

Is Silicon Valley still growing? ›

“While some firms may be migrating outwards because of working from home and globalization, Silicon Valley is still ground zero, with no other area even close to its prominence in the industry,” he said.

Is Pied Piper compression possible? ›

No, and while there's a wide variety of clever tactics for compressing specific kinds of data, Huffmann codes are the most efficient kind of general-purpose lossless compression for arbitrary data known ahead of time, which is the sort of compression Pied Piper would be—if it were possible .

What is Fiona from Amazon? ›

Designed in 2005 at Amazon's Silicon Valley R&D campus, Lab126, Inc., this was the first prototype for Project: Fiona, the internal codename for the original Kindle project.

Who is the brains behind Amazon? ›

Jeffrey Preston Bezos was born on January 12, 1964. An American technology entrepreneur and investor he captained and led the company from being an online merchant of books, to become the largest online selling network in the world.

Is Benedict Cumberbatch Autist? ›

I don't think he was on the spectrum. I think a lot of people are very lazy with that.” It's a suggestion Cumberbatch has heard raised again and again, and he's frankly had enough of it. “I think it's a really dangerous thing to toy with that,” he says.

Is Richard CEO of Pied Piper? ›

Richard Hendricks - CEO and Founder at Pied Piper - Oakland, California, United States | LinkedIn.

Is Gilfoyle a software engineer? ›

Gilfoyle is a security achitect while Dinesh is a software engineer.

Who killed the Pied Piper? ›

Charles Schmid
Cause of deathHomicide by stabbing
Other namesThe Pied Piper of Tucson Smitty
Criminal penaltyDeath Commuted to 50 years imprisonment
11 more rows

Are the Pied Pipers still alive? ›

They had several chart hits through the 1940s, both under their own name and in association with Tommy Dorsey and with Frank Sinatra.
The Pied Pipers
Years active1938–present
LabelsRCA Victor Capitol
MembersNancy Knorr Don Lucas Kevin Kennard Chris Sanders David Zack
7 more rows

Did the Pied Piper kidnap children? ›

A town facing a rat infestation was visited by a piper, who promised to get rid of the rats in return for money. However, after the piper succeeded in leading the rats away, the townsfolk failed to pay him. In revenge, the piper seduced and kidnaped 130 children from the town, and they were never seen again.

Is Silicon Valley algorithm possible? ›

The compression algorithm shown in Silicon Valley is possible in reality, but it would require a lot of computing power. The algorithm takes advantage of the fact that some data is more compressible than other data. For example, text files are usually more compressible than images.

What is New York style compression? ›

Parallel compression, also known as New York compression, is a dynamic range compression technique used in sound recording and mixing. Parallel compression, a form of upward compression, is achieved by mixing an unprocessed 'dry', or lightly compressed signal with a heavily compressed version of the same signal.

What is the current highest Weissman Score? ›

It was created by Stanford electrical engineering professor Tsachy Weissman and Ph. D. student Vinith Misra. It was believed that the theoretical limit for a Weissman score was 2.9 but this was disproved when the tech startup company Pied Piper achieved Weissman scores up to 5.2.

Is Amazon a decentralized company? ›

"The people make the place." One trait that might prove helpful for a dual-headquartered company is the decentralization of teams at Amazon.
Fox News Democracy 2022.
Iowa (S) 98% in
1 more row
15 Sept 2017

Is Bitcoin 100% decentralized? ›

Simply put, Bitcoin is far from being the most decentralized cryptocurrency. Its mining and mining pool system allows single groups to own large portions of the computing power on the network. Other tokens use different systems to verify transactions that promote decentralization, such as sharding and proof of stake.

Is decentralized illegal? ›

The legality of DEXs is as varied as crypto assets themselves. In the United States, some exchanges are banned in the state of New York, among others.

Is Odin the Pied Piper? ›

In this myth Odin is the piper, the shrill tones of the flute are emblematic of the whistling wind, the rats represent the souls of the dead, which cheerfully follow him, and the hollow mountain into which he leads the children is typical of the grave.

Why was the Pied Piper angry? ›

The Pied Piper went back to collect his reward. However, now that their problem was solved, the townspeople no longer wanted to pay him the money. This made the Pied Piper angry, and he decided to punish the town. The Pied Piper began playing his pipe once again.

Is a Weissman score real? ›

Originally Answered: Is the Weissman Score a real metric as shown in Silicon Valley? No. It's fictional and it was developed by a Stanford professor and a grad student for this show.

How accurate is Pirates of Silicon Valley? ›

The movie is historically inaccurate. Nevertheless, it manages to capture the essence of how much of modern computing came to be: the cluelessness of Xerox about what its own computer scientists were doing; Steve Jobs' artistic vision at Apple; and Bill Gates' ruthless business practices at Microsoft.

Why did HBO cancel Silicon Valley? ›

Part of Judge and Berg's reason for ending the series was the serious turn certain tech companies have taken in recent years. “When we started out, it was absurd in more of a funny way … but it has gotten a little more serious now,” says Judge.

Why was Erlich written off Silicon Valley? ›

Initially, Judge offered Miller the chance to come back in Season 5 for three episodes to give his character a proper send-off, but Miller wasn't into the idea, and so the two parties struck a mutual agreement for Miller to leave, allowing Erlich's story to end in Tibet.

How smart is Gilfoyle? ›

He presents himself as perhaps the smartest member of the team and does so in some of Gilfoyle's best quotes in Silicon Valley. He is a skilled engineer, and Richard needs him to help Pied Piper flourish. Gilfoyle shows major foresight and often helps get the crew out of jams thanks to his forward thinking.

Who is the most realistic pirate in One Piece? ›

Blackbeard is based on a real-life pirate named Edward Teach and most One Piece fans should already be aware of this. In fact, Edward Teach also carried the same epithet as him, as he was known as Blackbeard. To this day, he remains one of the most famous pirate in the history of the real world.

Who was the best real pirate of all time? ›

Perhaps the most famous pirate of all time, Blackbeard definitely lived up to his fearsome reputation. He was said to enter into every battle with a bevy of weapons including knives, pistols and two swords. At his most powerful, he had four ships in his fleet and 300 loyal pirates to man them.

Do modern day pirates still exist? ›

Piracy in the 21st century (commonly known as modern piracy) has taken place in a number of waters around the world, including the Gulf of Guinea, Strait of Malacca, Sulu and Celebes Seas, Indian Ocean, and Falcon Lake.

Why did T.J. Miller not return to Silicon Valley? ›

Miller declined and decided to leave after season four. He cited his then-burgeoning film career as part of the reason he left but that recently surfaced sexual-assault allegations have diminished his prospects.

Does Erlich Bachman come back? ›

At the start of Season 5, Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) claimed that Erlich was dead and was attempting to gain control of his assets. But in the series finale, Jian-Yang catches wind that Erlich is alive and in Tibet, and last we see him he's venturing off to Tibet to do… something.

Did Erlich sell his shares? ›

Now Laurie uses the terms to block Erlich from selling half his shares to Russ for $5 million, and forces Erlich to sell all his shares to Raviga Capital for the exact amount of Erlich's debts ($713,000). This leaves Erlich with nothing except extreme public ridicule.

Did Erlich Bachman sell his shares? ›

Ehrlich Bachman (T.J. Miller), the person who incubated Pied Piper in his home, has run in to some financial difficulties and needs liquidity. To pay off his debts, he sells his holdings in Pied Piper (10 percent) to Laurie Bream (Suzanne Cryer), the head of Raviga Capital and the main investor in Pied Piper.

Who is Gilfoyle's girlfriend? ›

Gilfoyle has a girlfriend Tara (Milana Vayntrub) who is also a LaVeyan Satanist, with the two having an open and long-standing relationship, though Tara still lies to Gilfoyle about sleeping with other men.


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