Startups Silicon Valley

It’s trashy and unrealistic but nevertheless an interesting reflection of the industry and region, more indicative of how we are seen than how we are. The show bombed in the ratings, and thus was quickly disposed of. Nevertheless, spoilers await.

The main characters of the piece are: the siblings Ben and Hermione, founder of 43 non-digital companies in the UK, and a UK tech journalist respectively, attempting to raise funds for their company Ignite; David, an ex-Google coder out on his own, trying to build his own app; Sarah, a Silicon Valley tech journalist who hurls drama everywhere and becomes something of a villain; Dwight, a hardcore programmer in the middle of building the Google of cars; and Kim, a smart, very pretty, and incredibly ambitious marketer on the brink of leaving her position at a successful startup in order to found her own.

It’s set up quite cleverly – the characters are at different stages and focus on different aspects of the lifecycle: Kim is pre-concept, weighing up sticking around in a place that doesn’t appreciate her and grappling with the idea of becoming a non-technical founder; Hermione and Ben are seeking funding by shopping around a big-picture idea; David is getting straight into developing a prototype; and Dwight has a site that gets a hundred thousand users per month but is coding day and night.

Additionally, the drama is high, usually with the non-technical characters: Ben patronises and manipulates Hermione, and tries to hook up with Sarah while having another girl on the side (he’s a fine specimen of humanity – my favourite line is “I’m a technologist, not an engineer”); Hermione is woefully unprepared to deal with the people around her, is reluctant to transition to her new situation, and does questionable things while drunk; Sarah is dellusionally narcissistic and manipulative; David is a decent guy but takes Sarah’s side; Dwight is totally in love with Kim but is has been relegated to the friendzone; Kim (as discreetly as interviews on a TV show allow you to) regards the rest of the cast (and most other people) as a trainwreck. Well, it’s not so bad, Dwight and Kim get along great, and even funds his meals from time to time.

Oh, and Hermione and Sarah hang out in bikinis quite often. I can’t say how attractive the male cast are, but they’re a lot less dumpy than the average techie.

As always, there are some hilarious lines:

  • “Silicon Valley is like high school… but it’s only the smart kids… and everyone has a lot of money”
  • * “People have been intimidated because this package generally doesn’t come with the brain”
  • “It’s like meeting a cartoon character”
  • “Are you really taking me to a nerdling party?”

If you don’t take the series as a serious depiction of the tech industry (I’m sorry, but “blogger” is not a tech job), it’s pretty entertaining.


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