deeper lessons from watching Silicon Valley

go ahead, plebs of ancient Rome.  watch the first season as it airs.  as a patrician, and contingent on what i hear in the Forum, i may join if it’s renewed after season 2.

that’s my TV show philosophy.  

during my date with this guy i considered tuning in to Silicon Valley immediately, but then he didn’t kiss me back at the end of the night, so his taste was obviously terrible.   

my first encounter with the show was shoulder watching over my roommate while he streamed season 2.  it was hilarious, and now i'm hooked and completely caught up.  the premise is 5 guys trying to develop a startup in present-day Silicon Valley.

it’s popular for the typical reasons:  the humor and/of for schadenfreude, since the team is constantly foiled.  but i’m a fan for another reason: inspiration

those dudes get massive amounts of work done.  they plug along, ignoring the myriad distractions available on the very machines they’re using.  and regardless of whether a gang member is painting an erotic mural on their garage door, or strangers are playing foosball in the study, someone’s always at a laptop, cooking up code. 

naturally, they also waste time on video games and absurd stunts, primarily to engage women.  and while i know it’s fiction, watching them plod away like oxen means i can’t watch an episode without doing something work-related afterward.

i should note that part of the reason they work so hard is they fail so hard. 

of course, there would be no story otherwise.  and the fact everything goes wrong is beside the point, because there are a lot of ways of getting through difficulty.  the difference is how admirably these guys do it. 

they respond like champions and refuse defeat.   their steady confidence and faith in their mission is amazing. 

consistently, their stance is “what’s next?  how can we make it work?”  when a problem surfaces, to the point of building their own servers when a competitor blocks them from providers.  (that's a lot of work) 

there’s always a solution because there are no alternatives. 

aside from recommending it for comedic value, their work ethic, and smart rebounding from chronic failures and mistakes, Silicon Valley illustrates 4 other values.


they blackmail a neighbor into keeping quiet about their zoning law violation because, as a ferret keeper, he’s also breaking the law.  and they force the guy to rent them his guesthouse.

they know, and accept, that inspiration can come from anywhere.  if you’ve finished season 1, you know precisely what i mean.


they’re truthful with one another.  maybe brutally so.  and there’s a healthy, refreshing understanding that intense best friendship is not a professional requirement.


despite the lead character's Asperger’s, he still forges ahead into challenging social situations, introducing himself to investors, prospective clients, and adversaries alike.  he doesn’t manage it especially smoothly, but it gets done.


both the “bros before hoes” and the traditional varieties.  the guys purchase server equipment instead of signing a lease for office space in the same building as a modeling agency, despite one team member’s pleading to be near attractive women all day.

although there’s plenty of betrayal and sneakily looking out for oneself, they don’t hold grudges.  at the end of the day, they’re a united front. 

don’t get me wrong, these qualities don’t make the show wholesome. the dialogue’s a 50/50 split between lewd jokes and great storytelling.  under no circumstances should it replace Sesame Street.  but inspiration from such an unlikely source—an HBO satire—makes it worthwhile.

i’m wondering if any of you watch Silicon Valley.  what are your thoughts?