Silicon Valley is an American comedy series created by Mike Judge, John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky. The story revolves around a group of programmers in the highly technical world, that is, Silicon Valley, California, who are trying to create their own startup.
It has an IMDb rating of 8.5/10.
Cast: Thomas Middleditch (Richard Hendricks), TJ MIller (Erlich Bachman), Zach Woods (Jared Dunn), Kumail Nanjiani (Dinesh), Martin Starr (Gilfoyle), Josh Brener (BigHead), Amanda Crew (Monica), Matt Ross (Gavin Belson), Christopher Evan Welch (Peter Gregory).
Richard Hendricks is an introverted, underconfident coder who works at this internet giant called Hooli. He develops a music app called Pied Piper in his spare time. Richard and his friend and roommate Erlich Bachman pitch the idea of the Pied Piper to Peter Gregory, who doesn’t seem too pleased with the idea. Soon, however, a bunch of guys at Hooli, who earlier mocked Richard, and Peter Gregory’s assistant Monica, discover the hidden potential in Pied Piper. The app streams over a very stable and revolutionary file compression algorithm.
Hooli CEO Gavin Belson offers to buy Pied Piper for a sum of 4 million dollars, while Peter Gregory offers two hundred thousand dollars for 5% ownership of the company. Belson increases his offer to 10 million dollars, but Richard, after a lot of thinking (and a trip to the doctor) accepts Peter Gregory’s offer.
He hires his friends (and roommates). But he has to leave behind his best friend, BigHead, who in an interesting turn of events, is later hired by Hooli. Richard also hires Jared Dunn- a former Hooli executive.
Hooli works to reverse engineer Pied Piper’s data compression algorithm, and they develop a product called Nucleus. Richard is supposed to present Pied Piper at TechCrunch Disrupt, a competition for startups. Belson decides to unveil Nucleus at the same event. Richard explains to Monica that he meant to withdraw from the competition, but Gregory insists they continue to participate. The team now has a time crunch – they have to present Pied Piper within six to eight weeks, instead of five months.
At TechCrunch, Bachman decides to present Pied Piper in a dramatic way, but ends up being mobbed by one of the judges as Bachman had relations with his wife. As compensation, the organisers promote Pied Piper to the finals. Gavin Belson launches Nucleus, and the team realizes that it has a much better data compression performance, and cloud storage than their app. A dejected Richard then proceeds to lock himself up in a room, and redesign Pied Piper. He decides to do away with cloud storage, and focuses on its initial objective: data compression. Their new algorithm strongly outperforms Nucleus – with a higher Weissman score than what was thought to be theoretically possible. Needless to say, they win the competition.
*Weissman score is a fictional parameter for measuring efficiency in lossless compression*
The show is extremely hilarious, and has amazingly real characters. These characters are the ‘nerds’, the weird guys you would sometimes want to hang out with. It also shows us the outcomes of being self confident and over confident, although very subtly, through people like Bachman. Richard is shown to be, in general, an under confident guy. Like, in the season finale, he isn’t very sure that his compression algorithm will work. His voice shakes, he messes up the presentation- and makes the audience empathise with him.
There are some stereotypes in the show, like hiring an Asian guy, and sexist jokes, like Dinesh saying something along the lines of “a girl who can code so well is so hot”. However, the positive points outnumber the negative, and the show is entertaining to watch.