Silicon Valley is actually critical of Silicon Valley. I am sure HBO’s lawyers made sure that none of the characters could be confused with real people. Reporters keep asking Mike Judge regarding that and his response is most of the times like CIA, "I can neither confirm nor deny these suspicions."
We never want him to admit actually, because we love the show and we want it to keep entertaining us without being caught up in legal drama.
This post is all about the character and companies in the tv series which parodies real recognized figures of Silicon Valley.
Let's dive in!
Hooli seems to be closely modeled after Microsft. Don't misinterpret, I don't mean to say that Hooli = Microsoft. But rather, that Hooli parodies Microsoft most!
Trying to map Hooli to an exact company is kind of pointless. Because
Hooli is meant to be as the face of entrenched corporate beauraucracy.
Making the world a better place.
Making africa a better place
I'd have never come to know if Microsft was helping in curing cancer had I not tried finding similarities between Hooli and Microsoft. Watch this video to know exactly how Microsoft is helping cure cancer. Microsoft is definitely making this World a better place!
The devil is in the details.
Hooli makes a terrible phone that was a total failure. Do you think that it mocks windows phone, Android or Fire phone (amazon)? Well, it doesn't. Do you remember the Microsoft Kin? Microsoft must be praying to God that you forget it ever existed. Kin- the family of phones from Microsoft that launched in 2010, sold incredibly poorly, and it was killed just 48 days later. In Silicon Valley, Hooli gathers a focus group to test out a phone it's developing.
“It’s just stupid,” Ramon says. “You took a good phone and made it shitty.”
As Gavin watches from behind a two-way mirror, the organizer asks Alan, Lisa, Josh, Ianna, Katie, and Ramon for feedback on the new Hooli phone. It’s the old Hooli phone now powered by a new, vastly inferior OS named Nucleus.
I'm sure Alan, Lisa, Josh, Ianna, Katie, and Ramon would agreee that this was meant to be an intentional reference, but the scene was very similar of what happened when Microsoft tested its ill-fated Kin smartphone among focus group testers. In late 2012, after Microsoft killed the phone, Wired posted three internal Microsoft videos that show how badly the focus group reacted to the Kin and Kin Two.
"Don't tell me this is Zune bad," he says to the assistant, referring to Microsoft's failed music player.
"I'm sorry Gavin, it's Apple Maps bad," she replies, referring to Apple's Google Maps competitor that was riddled with bugs when it launched.
Hooli also makes references to Google and Apple, but they are few as compared to the times it mocks Microsoft.
Remember Hooli was in need of renting server space? Wait, I remember a tech giant who did that. Apple did select Microsoft's Azure and Amazon's AWS to jointly host its iCloud service
Also, I believe the name Hooli is derived from Yahoo! That 'i' at the end of Hooli like "!" in Yahoo! Okay, maybe I'm just overthinking that.
And you've probably heard this one before: Hooli's offices are modeled after Googleplex and Hooli.xyz making a reference to Google[X]
CEO of Hooli, Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) is clearly patterned after Marc Benioff, since they both run B2B enterprise companies that serve corporate clients while also bettering the world through charity, destroying the competition, and seeking spiritual council from gurus.
Pied Pieper's Revolutionary Compression
Which controversial Silicon Valley figure is Hanneman most-closely modeled? “Radio on the Internet” is a clear shoutout to Cuban’s Broadcast.com
Then, there's Three comma club!
And unfortunately, when Russ loses over 200 million dollars and becomes a 986-ionaire and is out of the three comma club, he narrates a story:
I remember the second I became a billionaire. I was a**-naked sitting right there, just clicking and refreshing, clicking and refreshing, watching my stock rise. And when it happened, I popped a rod so fast, I went blind for a full minute. Nutted all over those cushions. I was the king. Now look at me. Two shitty fucking commas. I had to sell my McLaren.
There's a 95% chance that you know this one (I made that statistic up, just like 73.6 other stats).
Just for the sake of comprehensiveness of this post:
Peter Gregory, pays college students to drop out, encouraging young genius geeks to leave college and start businesses, just like Peter Thiel. But Gregory may not be all about Peter Theil.
(Is it just me who feels the guy on the right looks similar to Peter Thiel?)
Remember that Burger King subplot from episode 3rd of second season? Another promising startup begs Gregory for an "emergency capital injection" of $15 million in order to avoid shutting down. However, Gregory is occupied with sesame seeds. In the real world, it's peas not sesame seeds and the investor is Bill Gates, judging by this Bloomberg report
Because General Mills was early to recognize the potential of plant protein, the Betty Crocker owner has stocked up from suppliers like Canada's Alliance Grain Traders Inc. (AGT), creating a shortage that's left rivals rushing to catch up. How hot is this trend? Enough to attract investment from billionaires Bill Gates, Li Ka-Shing and Tom Steyer.
Although there are many more characters and references that can have a dedicated section, but considering that you've been reading this for a long time, I'll keep it short.
Nelson "Big Head" Bighetti's app NipAlert, a fictional app made by Bighead in season one (I can't really describe it here), seemed like an extreme parody of sexist startup culture until two guys introduced TitStare in real life just before the show aired.
The highly competitive, halting speech and lack of eye contact of Laurie Bream is slightly inspired, but not based on, from Marissa Meyer, as admitted by Mike Judge.
On 16th July, 2014 Airbnb redesigned their logo. Many seemed to think the squat, circular pink shape looked like female body parts, though there was somewhat agreement which one. In Silicon Valley, after being "Negged" by VCs, the Pied Piper have a moment of realization. Headed next to Ross Loma Capital, they decide to play it dirty. To Eric, Ross Loma's logo seems to be 'racist', you know why.
Also, did you notice what was written on Eric's T-shirt?
01000010011010010111010001100011011011110110100101101110 = Bitcoin
And then there's the heartthrob of the show, Monica crushworthy (no, that's not her actual last name), who is possibily the crush of Richard Hendricks.
In case you're racking up your brains to figure out who the beauty on the right is, relax. She is just a look-alike: Re/code Senior Editor Lauren Goode
I'd love to see a disclaimer to this show that starts with:
"Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental. Neg that!"
Don't forget to check out their website: http://www.piedpiper.com/
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