Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley – just for geeks?

There are people who live to code, and then there are those allergic to it. If you fall in the second category, who probably haven’t ventured into the comically geeky world of Silicon Valley. Yet.

Created by Mike Judge, loosely based on his experiences as a Silicon Valley engineer in the 1980s, this sitcom follows the struggles of the introverted college dropout and accidental genius, Richard, and his friends.
Richard, Gilfoyle and Dinesh, in trying to make a niche for themselves in the hottest place for aspiring entrepreneurs, spend their time in an incubator run by Erlich, a millionaire who had hit it big in Silicon Valley long ago. Erlich lets them stay at the incubator rent-free in exchange for stakes in any successful projects they invent there. Richard, in creating an uninspiring music copyright app, comes up with a killer compression algorithm which makes him an overnight hero. He decides against selling his app to an insufferable, commercial company – Hooli, and instead works with his friends at his own company – Pied Piper. They work together, improving the algorithm to incorporate 2D and 3D video compression as well, which fares extremely well against a fictional compression metric, the Weismann score.  

With quips and jibes, the series manages to show the two types of people needed to run a successful tech company. One such incident involved the following exchange between Erlich and Richard.

Erlich: You’ve got to deliver, like Steve.
Richard: Jobs or Wozniac?
Erlich: …
Richard: Steve Jobs or St …
Erlich: Oh I heard you. Jobs!
Richard: Jobs was a poser, he didn’t even write code

Even after this take on Steve Jobs, the sitcom manages to show how Jobs is essential to Wozniac and vice versa. It also manages to capture the essence of the tech world, as being predominately male, more obsessed with technology and efficient algorithms, than girls. A scene also depicts Dinesh falling in love with a girl for the Java method she wrote. To quote him –

“She wrote a Java method that was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen in my life. It was elegant, tight. There’s just something so hot about a woman who can code like that”

Of course all his hopes came crashing down when he found out he was actually in love with Gilfoyle’s mind, who had written the code for her. (Oops!)

It goes on to show how geeks are taking over the world. In another inspiring quote by Richard –

“For thousands of years, guys like us have gotten the shit kicked out of us. But now, for the first time, we’re living in an era when we can be in charge. And build empires! We could be the Vikings of our day.”

The show also cites a comical and interesting observation about programmers.

“It’s weird. They always travel in groups of five. These programmers, there’s always a tall, skinny white guy; short, skinny Asian guy; fat guy with a ponytail; some guy with crazy facial hair; and then an East Asian guy. It’s like they trade guys until they all have the right group.”

Silicon Valley could be one of the best satires of our time. After the huge disappointment that was ‘The Internship’, I found this sitcom a refreshing take on the lives of programmers at Silicon Valley.  The characters are stereotypical, thoughtful and lovable. The sitcom team went a step further and actually created a website for the fictional Pied Piper. You can check it out here.

Now if you didn’t understand some of the things mentioned above, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the show. There are a few heavy tech words thrown about, but if you don’t know what they mean, it really doesn’t matter. After all, you don’t need to have a Ph.D. and Sc.D. to be amused by The Big Bang Theory, do you?

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