Silicon Valley (the HBO Series) review and top moments
I love Silicon Valley. I love Silicon Valley. I love Silicon Valley. Yes, three times. I am not a person who is into series. My Facebook is full of Game of Thrones memes, or some ancient ones about Breaking Bad that I don't understand. I like good movies, documentaries, video games, and reading. A series demands too much time and many, many years ago I decided they were not for me.
Until I watched Silicon Valley. It all started with a video, not posted on Facebook, but rather sent to me by a friend, titled "what do I do?" I found that 1:30 clip, amusing, daring and ballsy.
Some months later, someone said to me that the clip was from the series and that I should watch it. I gave it a chance and since then I am hooked. It's funny, entertaining and "real".
Silicon Valley is about a group of programmers and entrepreneurs trying to create their own company. The main character is Richard, a college dropout, and programmer who lives in an incubator with some other programmers.
Richard works at Hooli with his best friend, "Big Head". Hooli is a fictional company that has hints of Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple.
The other characters are Erlich, the owner of the incubator (his house). Dinesh, a Java programmer from Pakistan. Gilfoyle, a Canadian illegal immigrant who specializes in network design, systems architecture, hardware, and security. Jared, an ex VP from Hooli. Gavin Belson, CEO of Hooli (primary antagonist).
Richard is working on a music application that searches for similar songs using a custom compression algorithm. One day at Hooli, Richard is bullied by a "brogrammer", until they realize what he has created. At that moment, Richard receives two offers for his algorithm (the offers are more than a million dollars both). He rejects both and decides to create his own company, Pied Piper.
The series reflects perfectly the life not only in "the Valley" but also the one of a programmer. The series has 4 seasons and the fifth one premieres in April 2018. If you are a programmer, or simply love series, Silicon Valley is a must, Rotten Tomatoes gave a 100% score to seasons 2, 3 and 4 and 94% to season 1.
Here are some moments, scenes or concepts that I have found amusing, brilliant or simply dazzling.
Naming a company
Almost ten years ago I tried to fund my own company, and giving it a name took enough time for us back then and was a raging discussion. This is seen in the series, too. Richard loves the name "Pied Piper", but Elrich is selfish enough to think he can get a better name through a mushroom trip.
Tabs vs. Spaces
Using a tabs or a space for code indentation is a debate among programmers (for certain scenarios, I use one, the other or even both, although I prefer tabs). Richards new date uses spaces, and Richard loves tabs. He gets angry enough that he actually breaks up with her because she uses space.
At some point, our characters decide they need to build their own infrastructure using custom servers that use GPU processing instead of CPU. Not only I found this interesting, but actually "real" in a way that GPU processing is indeed better for some scenarios and there are not many on demand GPU processing services (NVidia has a nice one). I had this argument and discussion at some point in college with friends and seeing it in the series gave me a manly tear.
Ed Chambers is a fictional character Jared creates when he speaks to a Microsoft representative to request fees for Microsoft Azure. The fact that the series mentions both AWS and Azure and the sky-rocket fees they can have brilliant. Jared actually had the guts to call the Microsoft representative a "homo."
When the future of Pied Piper is uncertain, Gilfoyle changes his LinkedIn status to unemployed. Almost instantly, he gets contacted by dozens of recruiters. He receives presents, invitations and many calls. There is a high demand for programmers, and recruiters are fierce when contacting them. Recruiter stalking is a thing with programmers.
SCRUM is a methodology for software development. Some programmers like it, some others don't (personally, I don't). In season 1, Jared tries to implement the methodology to the gang. When I saw I laughed my ass off.
Sexism in the tech world
There are many moments when the series mentions the sexism that plagues the tech world today. With enough humour, but addresses a real problem.
In season 1, there is an argument when Pied Piper hires a "woman engineer".
In season 4, Erlich tries to get a job in Raviga Capital by force. They are generous enough to tell him no and give him a check, and he suddenly interrupts Monica and Laurie with his explanation ("mansplainning").
At the end of season 4, Richard tries sneak his App into the Hooli Appstore, in a way the everybody downloads it without the users noticing it. The way they try to achieve this is by doing a MITM. The concept fit brilliantly with the scenario given.
What do I do?
In season one, Jared and Richard are interviewing their own friends who will work for them at Pied Piper. When they ask Gilfoyle, this is his answer. This is why I fell in love with the series.