The show opens with Kid Rock epically playing to an empty lawn at a tech party, where no one seems to be genuinely excited about anything save for the host. The main characters are all there, speculating the ways in which a person can make so much money all at once. One of them, who goes by “Big Head”, thinks out loud, “They built a mediocre piece of software that might be worth something one day and now they live here.”
That’s the state of Silicon Valley, and all of us non-techies are standing around wondering the same thing.
Richard, the main character, has started his own project, called Pied Piper—the “Google of Music” as he calls it—and it’s not long before Hooli, the company he works for and other heavy hitters in Silicon Valley realize his development’s value and begin to throw money at him.
The show preys on a lot of typical, obvious tech stereotypes (the tiny cars, the complete lack of women anywhere, strategically placed non-white characters, the characters’ awkwardness). It’s certainly not alleviating any tension or diminishing any preconceived notions about the tech community’s takeover of the Bay Area, but it does add a little humor to a touchy subject. It gives an approachability to a tech titan (in which Hooli is pretty much a fictional Google) at a time when many non-startup Bay Area residents think of those giants as faceless, conscience-devoid organizations.
Meanwhile, San Francisco residents are clashing with Google’s bus transport program and are urging Twitter to start paying taxes. The city needs tech money just as much as heritage renters need it to go away, and ultimately “Silicon Valley” will do nothing to solve any of that—but it is a funny little show that pokes fun at the culture’s tendency to lionize tech entrepreneurs as prophets and visionaries.
Where Hooli’s founder Gavin Belson—a character that the main troop living in a South Bay incubator have an open disdain for—represents the point where money has made the disgustingly rich delusional, clinging to a god-like demeanor, Richard is the indie hero. When he realizes how much potential his product is worth, he opts to build his own company rather than sell out to the tech intelligentsia.
So what he have here is a David and Goliath story forming. Can Richard and his coterie of brilliant slobs create something that outdoes the company that tried to acquire it? Or will Pied Piper turn out to be a worthless dud?