HBO’s Silicon Valley | S1/Ep. 1 “Minimum Valley Product” Recap


Programmers. TED Talks. Investors. Palo Alto. This is teh world Mike Judge (Office Space, King of the Hill, Idiocracy, Beavis and Butthead) envisions, delving 3.14 x 10^408 lines of code deep into the world of the HBO original series – Silicon Valley. SPOILER ALERT! Here’s a recap of Episode 1 of this quirky new comedy:


Richard (Thomas Middleditch) is the genius programmer behind a “compression algorithm,” that allows one to search for compressed information in a database quickly with no quality loss. What does that mean? Well, in Silicon Valley, it means big money for investors. But for Richard it means choosing between selling(-out) his code to big investors or bootstrapping the idea and exploit in the code himself, which was only revealed to him after the-ever-attractive Monica (Amanda Crew) pointed out the algorithm from Richard’s original dream website, “Pied Piper.”

That’s where Big Head (Josh Brener), Dinesh (Kumail Nanjiani), and Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) come in. A group of engineers who live together, living the dream, working on the “Pied Piper” website hoping to, like many young programmers and entrepreneurs, make a difference in Silicon Valley…and the world. But lets not forget about 10%-er Erlich (T.J Miller) – fellow roommate and partner/not-partner who likes to wear I know H.T.M.L. shirts and sold his tech-company for millions. In an epic banter between Richard and Erlich, one-line gems emerged. Like, “Steve Jobs is a poser. He didn’t even write code.”

Aside from the “Pied Piper” project, Richard and Big Head are employees of hooli – one of the most-revered tech companies in Silicon Valley, home to some of the brightest programmers and brogrammers. We soon learn that hooli CEO Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) is very interested in “Pied Piper” and the algorithm and is willing to pay $4 M for 10% ownership of the “compression algorithm.” But a bidding war begins when a billionaire named Peter (Christopher Evan Welch) who encourages college students to drop out of college, offers $200,000 for 5% ownership, also valuing the algorithm at $4 M. What will the group do? What would you do? Guess we’ll find out next episode.

Credits close out the first episode with Minority, an infectious tune from the Bay Area’s own Green Day, which is a nice touch to the show.

Overall, I like the direction where Silicon Valley is headed. Hollywood has obviously coded in its influence, with over-the-top characters and outrageous interpretations of how the world sees Silicon Valley. And that’s why I like it. Its a satire of our bubble and I look forward to what’s next. The only farce I do see is in the opening credits – come on now, Myspace is NOT even in Silicon Valley.

Check out Episode 1:

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