Mike Judge’s “Silicon Valley” Disrupts HBO

Hacking. Disruption. Critical mass of users. Oh, and a TED Talk to boot.

Brogrammers, hold on to your iPhones because if you can’t laugh at yourselves, HBO’s “Silicon Valley” is going to be a rough ride.

Mike Judge’s new show is all in good fun, though. A former “Valley guy” himself, Judge and his producers immersed themselves in the tech world, spending time at places like Google and TechCrunch Disrupt to take an anthropological look at the land of high-stakes and big egos.

The show features eccentric venture capitalists, convoluted techno jargon, and the keen satire Judge is known for. However, “Silicon Valley” is really about pursuing the next big thing and the friendships you can make along the way. The first episode cut right to the heart of a problem facing many entrepreneurs: Should you take the money or keep your company?

The brilliantly awkward Richard (Thomas Middleditch), lives in a startup incubator, which is really just a house where he and his friends live and work for Erlich, the pot-smoking owner of both the house and the “incubator.”

Essentially a geeky frat house, the incubator spins out killer apps like “Nip Alert,” a geo-location app that alerts users to the nearest woman with … well, you get the idea, and “Bit Soup,” a binary take on canned alphabet soup. Needless to say, the entrepreneurial band of brothers is struggling to earn the money and respect they desperately want.

Everything changes when Richard unknowingly creates a game-changer of an app and finds himself in a bidding war between Hooli (basically Google, but much, much funnier) and a venture capitalist who spends his free time encouraging kids to drop out of college.


Josh Brener and Thomas Middleditch, stars of “Silicon Valley”

“Silicon Valley” is a very human story of determination and friendship situated in the often surreal tech mecca where everyone is always pitching, even the physician treating your investor meeting-induced panic attack. My only gripe about the show is the overload of Y chromosomes, though this is probably Judge’s snarky nod to the gender-challenged Silicon Valley in real life.

Tune in (or schedule your DVR) to HBO Sundays at 10pm EST to see how Richard and his coder crew navigate the startup life — and maybe to poke a little bit of fun at ourselves along the way.

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Written by:
Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup. She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, "Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership," which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.
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