Silicon Valley Season 2

Last year I found this great show on HBO. It’s called Silicon Valley, a comedy that follows a group of guys going through the trials of running a startup. I’m in the IT field and love technology. This show is chock full of tech related things along with coding references. So I think being in the tech industry or having a love of technology may add to the enjoyment of the show. This year the second season dropped and I loved it just as much as the first season last year. The second season is now over and I am sad but here is my thoughts on the show and where it seems to be going. Spoiler I will be talking about the most interesting points of Season 2 so there will be spoilers. If you watch Silicon Valley and you haven’t watched Season 2 or you’re not finished stop now and come back after you’ve finished the season.
Last year people complained that there weren’t many women in the show. The ones that were on the show followed the typical troupes of women in technology. The writers and creators of the show seem to be listening to audiences because there were quite a few women added to the cast and in different roles. A socially awkward, very number based, calculating woman executive, Laurie Bream, takes over at Raviga. The funding company backing Pied Piper. Along with a computer engineer who joins the Pied Piper team and finally the CEO of a porn company. This season continued the hilarity with Richard facing mis-step after mis-step and odds stacked against him.
The season starts with the death of Peter Gregory, who was running Raviga. Many venture capital firms are interested in funding Pied Piper’s Series A round after what happened at Tech Crunch Disrupt. At Peter Gregory’s funeral Gavin Belson announces that Hooli would be suing Pied Piper for ownership of their intellectual property. Hooli wants the compression algorithm maintaining that Richard worked on Pied Piper using Hooli resources and on Hooli time. Raviga finds out about the lawsuit and though Richard knows the lawsuit is frivilous Laurie Bream decides it’s too risky a proposition. So Raviga withdraws their offer to fund Pied Piper. This causes backlash as all the other firms once offering to fund Pied Piper start backing out. So now with Pied Piper unable to get funding and an expensive law suit coming up. The Pied Piper crew is up a creek without a paddle. Richard gets a call from Gavin Belson to meet privately. Gavin offers to buy out Pied Piper for more than the $10 million offer he made in Season one. Richard rejects initially but starts considering Pied Piper’s lack of options and the upcoming lawsuit. A hail mary gets tossed Pied Piper’s way when Jared says he became friends with a firm that is interested in funding Pied Piper. So the Pied Piper team heads in to a meeting where the guys are asking all about Pied Piper and the compression algorithm. Erlich is the first one to notice and after talking to Jared calls Richard, Dinesh and Gilfoyle because these guys are from End Frame, another company trying unsuccessfully to develop a compression algorithm. The meeting was a front to actually secretly get the Pied Piper team to give away all the workings of their algorithm, a “brain rape” as they termed it. So with no other options Richard tells the team about Gavin’s offer and that he is thinking of accepting. Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Erlich all hate the option of selling to Hooli and will not support the decision. Regardless Richard doesn’t see another option and is on the way to Hooli. This is where Russ Hanneman enters the picture. A boastful, selfish billionaire who offers them $5 million in funding which Richard accepts. Russ promises to be hands off then he is anything but and he brings the hilarity. Hooli’s Nucleus is used to stream an MMA title match and messes up big time. The picture is blocky, glitchy and freezes when a huge moment in the fight happens. Pied Piper decide to try and gain some publicity by live streaming an event showing how good their algorithm works compared to Hooli’s Nucleus failure. They plan to do a stream for an energy drink Homicide before backing out when they learn that Homicide doesn’t plan to make it known at all that Pied Piper is streaming their event. They find out that End Frame instead live stream the Homicide event. The stream was glorious since End Frame was now using all the information that Pied Piper leaked in the meeting before Jared and Erlich stopped them. Richard takes the Pied Piper team down to End Frame to confront them about their theft of Pied Piper’s information during the fake meeting. The confrontation leads to hilarity but End Frame knowing Richard doesn’t have any legal options shows the Pied Piper guys their huge sales team. Telling the Pied Piper team that although their implimentation is inferior because they only got a small part of the system Pied Piper uses. The sales team will make the company a huge success regardless. Richard is pissed at what End Frame has done and Russ in character brings Richard to a meeting he organized for Pied Piper to aquire End Frame. Richard rejects the offer and when he tells the Pied Piper team Gilfoyle tells them that he is lookinig at all the terms and details of End Frame’s sales contracts. He found a post-it note with the administrator username and password at the End Frame office. Which allowed him to login to their system. They plan to go after the biggest deal End Frame has worth $15 million. A deal with porn company Intersite. Richard approaches the CEO and offers her a technically superior deal. Promising to save the company millions more than End Frame could because of Pied Piper’s superior compression. The CEO proposes a competiton where End Frame and Pied Piper will be given tons of video data to compress. Whichever company does it best wins the contract. The guy in charge of security at End Frame is let go because they figure out that Pied Piper was able to get into their network. Richard feels guilty and meets with him and ends up telling him Gilfoyle found the username/password on a sticky. The security guy loses his mind and threatens to infiltrate Pied Piper’s network and do nasty things to it. Richard becomes highly paranoid while they are downloading the Intersite data because of the threat. Then hilarity ensues when the data is suddenly being deleted. Pied Piper obviously doesn’t get the deal having wiped out a third of Intersite’s video catalogue. Pied Piper then decides to live stream the video of a condor egg waiting to hatch being hosted by a museum. Nelson Bighetti meanwhile finds a prototype of a smartphone running Nucleus left behind at a bar, yes iPhone 4 jokes can be made here. He calls Richard and gives it to him to use as leverage against Belson to drop the lawsuit. Gavin and Richard agree instead to go through arbitration which would end the lawsuit sooner. During arbitration Hooli’s lawyers don’t seem to have much of a case. Until they realize during the whole process that something caused Richard to use a Hooli computer to run a single test on Pied Piper. The one test due to the terms of his employment by Hooli means they, Hooli, own the rights to Pied Piper. It seemed like Hooli had won and all was lost. Except that in reviewing Jared’s contract with Hooli which was also made part of the lawsuit. The judge discovers that the contract is unlawful. Richard’s contract as well as most of Hooli’s employees have the same stipulations making them unlawful as well. The judge ruled in Pied Piper’s favor because of that so Hooli had no right to Pied Piper’s intelectual property. Meanwhile the museum sends an employee to take down the camera at the site of the condor egg. The employee falls with the camera into a chasm and is hurt and bleeding. The live stream is still broadcasting his cries for help and goes viral with hundreds of thousands of people watching. Dinesh and Gilfoyle make drastic moves to keep the livestream up as the numbers increase and their serves start heating up from the huge load. Raviga, impressed by Pied Piper’s live stream using servers they built and housed in the garage. The lawsuit now over they decide to buy out Russ Hanneman’s stake of Pied Pipper in order to earn 2 more votes on the 5 vote Pied Piper board. Due to the crazy events with Intersite and End Frame they doubt that Richard can truely impliment the real power of Pied Piper. So they vote to remove him as CEO and that is the end of Season 2.
I loved the season just like I loved the first one. It was hilarious and when I got to the second last episode I was sad because the season was coming to an end.The only thing that was just getting a bit much for me were all the obstacles that are stacked against Richard. In the first season it was funny but now it just seems to be going a little too far. In the fist season I think it was also a little more balanced because it wasn’t only Richard that seemed to be having all the bad luck. The other people around were also suffering their own problems and setbacks. I still enjoyed the mishaps but for example when he won the lawsuit and tried to stop his team from torching the system his phone died. Then he hurried towards his car and his keys slipped out of his hand and down a sewer drain, he goes to a store and tries to use their phone but he can’t remember the number because it’s in his phone, he gets on a bus and borrows the driver’s smartphone to send an email but it went to junk mail. It was funny and some of the things like not remembering a number because you usually dial it from the phone is something many people experience. After awhile though the jokes started getting a little redundant. This season ended with the Raviga board voting to fire Richard as CEO of Pied Piper. At the same time Gavin Belson, CEO of Hooli, seemed to be heading towards being ousted from the company. Gavin was suing Richard in order to try and get Pied Piper’s compression algorithm to use in Hooli’s Nucleus software. Laurie Bream who is now running Raviga thought that Richard wasn’t making proper use of the technology that he created. My thought is that next season might see Raviga hire Gavin Belson as the CEO of Pied Piper. It would be a sort of show that some people in the Valley just never fail no matter what. If after spending so much time pursuing Pied Piper even when it seemed Gavin wouldn’t get it in the end he gets it. My thought is that they might go a few different ways with Richard’s reaction. They could have him launch another fight against Raviga in order to remain or be re-instated as CEO. They could also do a Steve Jobs like scenario and have Richard create another data compression company rivaling his own Pied Piper. The interesting and possibly hilarious wildcard is the possible  rise of Nelson Bighetti to CEO of Hooli. It would be funny to see the crazy things that would happen to the company under his leadership. I do look forward to the next season and my only hope is that they tone down the mis-haps that are faced by Richard and also show up some of the other members of the cast suffering mis-haps of their own.
I think this show seems to be very polarizing. You either love it or you don’t. I also know that there are some in the tech industry who have said the show is not a true representation of Silicon Valley, startups and engineers. When I hear this I think it’s TV. If you want a true representation watch a documentary. As a Jamaican I can tell you that the representation of Jamacians in TV is not accurate. As a canadian I can tell you that American TV’s representation of Canadians is as far as possible from a true represenatation. I’m looking forward for Season 3 and I can’t wait to see what happens from here.