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Silicon Valley by HBO. Photo by: HBO Store / YouTube
Silicon Valley by HBO. Photo by: HBO Store / YouTube

Minimum Viable Product

Mike Judge and Alec Berg created and released season one to Silicon Valley in 2014. The viewership for the first season bounced around from 1.5 to 2 million views per episode.

Thomas Middleditch, is the lead actor that performs as Richard Hendricks. He is supported by a group of comical stars. Kumail Nanjiani performs as Dinesh, and Martin Starr as Gilfoyle. Amanda Crew play as Monica, and Jared is performed by Zack Woods.       

Mike Judge covers his creative workflow during the development on the show during SXSW 2016

Judge is credited for directing and helping write the first episode. Additional writers include: John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky.

This fictional comedy also works well for a blueprint to learn from for other startups.

Browse over the review to episode one, as well as other shows. Connect with Silicon Valley season four currently streaming on HBO.

*Spoilers, and plot from Silicon Valley Season 1 will be discussed in the following section.

During the first season the group works on the startup known as Pied Piper within Silicon Valley. Richard Hendricks, owner of Pied Pier, has wrote an algorithm that compresses data when searching for music online.

The first episode of season one is titled ‘Minimum Viable Product’ and is filled with interesting cameos featuring Kid Rock, Eric Schmidt, and Matt Ross.

Minimum Viable Product

Dry humor is layered within the first scene to Silicon Valley. Kid Rock performs in a backyard for a tech launch party. The show pokes fun at the social behavior within the tech community, and the overindulgence lifestyle that takes place in sections of California.

Josh Berner, an actor performing as Nelson ‘Big Head’ Bighetti in the show, is friends with Richard, and works with him at a fictional company called Hooli. Gilfoyle and Dinesh worked with Big Head and Richard to create Pied Piper. The small team built the application in a startup incubator owned by Erlich Bachman, performed by T.J. Miller.

Richard and Big Head find themselves living with the stress of working for a corporate tech company in Silicon Valley at Hooli. The show identifies major stress points for entry level employees, as well as entrepreneurs and managers.

Richard and Big Head attend a TED Talk with Peter Gregory as a speaker. Gregory is a tech investor performed by Christopher Evan Welch. The heartbreaking piece to the first season is Welch passed away following his work on the show. His work as an actor does live on with cinema.

Along with the startup perspective, the show also offers a view from the investor’s point of view. Gavin Belson, played by Matt Ross, offers Richard a large sum of money to buy his company outright. Peter Gregory, another investor in the show, starts a bidding competition for Richards’s company.

The bidding war is one of the elements that made this show impactful.

When Richards turns down a ten million dollar offer from Gavin, he is left with the decision to run his own company.

The decision to run his own company instead of turning it over to an investor is a major decision that other startup companies face during success.

Silicon Valley and Mike Judge does do a poor job of making light to self-inflected gun shot injuries.

On one hand, the joke gets the uncomfortable topic of emotional distress that can be caused from entrepreneurship into an open conversation. On another hand, the joke glorifies abuse. It gives me a chance to show the problem, and help fix it.

If a business owner ever feels stress from selling a company; the solution, build another company. If a business owner ever feels stress from running a company; the solution, ask for help from similar minded people in your field.

Take out the part of the equation that gets overemotional about owning a company. I compare this to a stock. Be comfortable finding new stocks, creating new ideas, and stress will never push you to unwanted mindsets.

After Richard decides to partner with Peter Gregory, he is faced with the huddles of taking an idea and getting into the marketplace. This struggle creates a compelling first season. The song selection to the end credits is done well.

Points I learned from within episode one, season one:

  • Mike Judge taps into the stress within Silicon Valley, and turns it into comedy.
  • Dinesh and Gilfoyle would have needed resources to build and maintain the code they built. The show starts off with an unfair advantage in favor of Richard. Why not just loan him a million dollars? Peter Gregory’s $200,000 is fair enough, but most startups work years before any major demand is created for their product or service.
  •  Martin Starr does a better job on Silicon Valley in comparison to his role on Party Down.

Silicon Valley Season 1: Trailer (HBO)

Silicon Valley Season 1 Show Reviews