What you can learn from Silicon Valley’s HBO show
I don’t know how to feel about Silicon Valley’s TV show. I think I like it, but I guess we can all learn something about it.
At the beginning I felt discouraged hearing all those quotes that everyone has already heard before from entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg and Jobs. We get it, they’re awesome and insightful, but if they’re going to make a tv show about entrepreneurs, they have to add a little more to what it’s already expected.
But somehow, although this first firewall, I got engaged with the show really quickly. First of all, the actors are great. My favorite is Gilfoyle (Martin Starr). Of course they’re all weird and funny –but he’s the funniest without even trying.
Here’s what we can all learn from the show –and pretend you watched it even if you’ve never seen it at all:
1. Selling yourself: at some point, the CEO of the company Pied Piper decided not to sell the idea and to make it work on his own. This means they have to build a business plan and cut costs. Therefore, they have to select those people who are essential for the company. Gilfoyle is the one who knows how to sell himself the most. Watch the link, he clearly know how to answer a question like ‘What’s your role in the company?’.
2. Don’t compete among your peers: I can’t find the link, but there’s a scene where the two programmers (Gilfoyle and Dinesh) try to mess with the accountant or general business guy of their start up by telling him they need at least 15 interns each. When the CEO asks them to cut the number of people they need ’cause they basically can’t afford it, they settle for 3 interns each.
‘Then why would you say you need 15 interns each?’ –asks Hendrick (the CEO)
‘Cause we are supposed to create conflict with him, aren’t we?’ –asks Gilfoyle or maybe Dinesh
‘No, we’re a team. We should help each other’ –says Hendrick
It’s amazing how many employees forget about this. Working as a team will always get you further than working remotely alone.
3. Following your intuition: it’s impossible to make decisions in our own if we don’t listen ourselves more frequently. When Hendrick has to decide wether to sell the company or to protect his product on his own, he has to stop listening what other people tell him to do to follow his gut. Of course it’s risky: but in all decisions there’s a risk tied to it. You can’t run away from decisions whenever something gets hard.
4. Teaming up with the right people: finding the right people to spend more than 8 hours per day is crucial for a business to survive. It’s not about befriending your peers, but more on how smooth work can be if you’re working with people with a positive attitude to it.
5. Knowing your product: of course, I am linking my Breaking Bad post in this one. Knowing what you sell regardless the name –yes, even though it’s lame– it makes your game stronger. The quality of the product that Pied Piper offers is outstanding: but they have to know this in order to sell this to venture capitalists and possible interns that might be interested to work with them.
Silicon Valley’s show it’s about working hard. It’s tough to make that pop out without making a boring show. That’s why they show all front-office stuff. But we must not forget the CEO must have spent most nights awake coding Pied Piper. Or else he would have had a girlfriend –that would probably make him stay awake all night too. But we don’t know.
But here’s the thing: we can still watch the show or make something on our own.
Why should someone hire you? That’s what you can learn from this show. Build your personal brand from what you think you can stand for. But above all: don’t be a dick. Or you’ll regret it in the long run.