A&E

The ludicrous lingo of HBO's 'Silicon Valley'

The top five best techspeak lines from the first three episodes

It was announced this Monday that "Silicon Valley," the Mike Judge-helmed HBO sitcom filmed in and around Palo Alto, has been green lit for a second season by its parent network. Deservedly so.

"Silicon Valley" follows Richard Hendricks, creator of an innovative file compression algorithm and founder of the Pied Piper startup, as he attempts to get his company off the ground. Along the way Hendricks must work with an eccentric venture capitalist, a blow-hard roommate (who owns 10 percent of Pied Piper because it was created by Hendricks while he was living in the man's house/startup incubator) and doing battle with a powerful CEO who wants to steal his product.

The half-hour program is masterfully written and cast. While "Silicon Valley" does highlight the entrepreneurial spirit and DIY ethos that helped make the mid-Peninsula and South Bay great, the show mostly lampoons Silicon Valley's tech culture.

There's the cult-like culture of the region's largest firms, including the fictional Hooli, where the show's protagonist works; dilettante "brogrammers," who are only in it for the money rather than the love of coding; and the greedy, billionaire CEO, ruthless and Machiavellian behind closed doors, but out to "make the world a better place" when the cameras are on. The show even nails down the stereotypical older Palo Altan -- the gray-haired professorial types who bemoan the libertarian leanings of the new tech elite and ride fold up bicycles past perfectly landscaped, drought-tolerant front yards.

The show is particularly apt at capturing the nonsensical lingo of Silicon Valley. When the show's characters aren't talking about changing the world with their next app, they are spouting off techno-babble jargon, which one character, whilst in the grips of a magic mushroom-fueled trip, identifies as "meaningless words."

Here are the top five most meaningless, nonsensical or downright ridiculous examples of techspeak from the show's first three episodes.

1) "Silicon Valley is the cradle of innovation because of dropouts."

-Peter Gregory, the billionaire venture capitalist (and Peter Thiel analog) played by the late Christopher Evan Welch.

2) "Making the world a better place, through minimal, message-oriented transport layers."

-Gavin Belson, CEO of the fictional tech giant, Hooli, played by Matt Ross.

3) "What about 'smaller,' spelled S-M-L-L-R,, you know, because we make things smaller, and this would be a smaller version of the word 'smaller.'"

-Zach Woods, played by Donald "Jared" Dunn. Woods is brought on to Pied Piper to help the flailing startup develop a business plan.

4) Gavin: "I hate Richard Hendricks, that little Pied Piper prick. Is that wrong?"

Denpak: "In the hands of a lesser person, perhaps. But in the hands of the enlightened, hate can be tool for great change."

Gavin: "You're right, once again. (Speaking to a computer) Audius, play John Lennon's 'Imagine.'"

Computer: 'Queuing: "John Wayne in a Mansion." Not found."

-Conversation between Gavin Belson, Hooli CEO, and his spiritual adviser, Denpak.

5 )"I had three startups myself, and I couldn't get those Sand Hill Road morons to fund any of them."

-An unnamed worker at BevMo!, explaining his plight to Richard Hendricks, founder of startup software company Pied Piper.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by SV Native
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2014 at 11:48 pm

As both a native of Palo Alto and a long-term member of the high-tech community (both start-ups and large corporations), I found the pilot episode somewhat entertaining but annoyed/bored by the high-school humor. Silicon Valley nerds provide plenty of fodder for comic humor without making them all seem like high school losers. Less stupidity and more intellectual humor could make this show really great.

I only saw the pilot (we don't get HBO so won't see the other episodes, and the pilot did not incite me to pay more to get HBO) but I did notice the lack of women among the primary characters. Unfortunately, this series promotes the male-dominated stereotype of the tech community, which is incredibly harmful to very intelligent and qualified women. While I am not typically on the "equality bandwagon," it just jumped out at me in this pilot episode - possibly because of the stupid-humor rather than intellectual-humor.

Include women and make the humor more intellectual and you may have a winner in Silicon Valley!

Aside from a (very) little fun tech-humor, this show is devoid of any value


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:44 am

@SV Native: I was so bored with the first show that I could not even sit through it till the end. But the second show was hilarious! You made a mistake by judging by the first episode. There aren't as many women in the tech world so it's realistic. Why should they make it unrealistic by throwing in women to appease the feminists?

I loved the acting of Christopher Evan Welch, aka Peter Gregory! A shame he died last December. Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Palo Alto Native
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:56 am

Web Link Christopher Evan Welch

The acting is superb: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hate these shows
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 23, 2014 at 11:22 am

What I most dislike about these programs, other than the moronic dialogue, is the fact that they all make it look as if people in Silicon Valley never really work, and spend a lot of time either getting venture capital or partying and getting drunk/stoned.

They never show the real facts-- people working 60-80 hours per week, living on coffee, sleeping under their desks. kids who never know their parents, etc


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 23, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Been here over 30 years, as both a engineering employee and founder in over half a dozen companies large and small. I think it's very funny and entertaining.

Obviously, it's not a documentary. But the show captures some of the same goofy moments I've seen, particularly in the last few years. Lot's of hardworking brilliant people with no social skills - as well as people with massive amounts of money operating without a clue.

The show does an especially good job of showing the meanness and pettiness that's part of everyday life here. Nobody in the show seems capable of seeing anyone else's perspective, which is spot on here in Palo Alto.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by humor me
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Apr 23, 2014 at 2:21 pm

"Include women and make the humor more intellectual and you may have a winner in Silicon Valley!"

You mean, both of them?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SV Native
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 26, 2014 at 8:48 pm

@Palo Alto Native:

"You made a mistake by judging by the first episode."

As I said, I don't have HBOso the first episode is all I have to go on. Maybe the producers should have put their best foot forward with the pilot that aired for everyone.

"There aren't as many women in the tech world so it's realistic.

Sorry, but the ratio of women in tech is ridiculously higher than what is represented in the pilot episode of this show, which only serves to further the male-dominated view that folks like you have.

"Why should they make it unrealistic by throwing in women to appease the feminists?"

It wouldn't be to appease feminists (oh, those pesky women!) it would be to reflect REALITY.

Anyone under 100 years old should know better.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Apr 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

"Sorry, but the ratio of women in tech is ridiculously higher than what is represented in the pilot episode of this show, which only serves to further the male-dominated view that folks like you have. "

Bloggers don't count


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