Silicon Valley (–…): Season 4, Episode 9 - Hooli-Con - full transcript
Guys are preparing undercover operation at HooliCon. To ensure enough space to run their app. This forces Dinesh to meet his destiny. While Erlich heads on a soul searching journey after his inconceivable loss.
Just think about it.
On Saturday, over a
are gonna stream through that building.
A veritable who's who of nobodies.
Richard, we've tried
marketing at trade shows.
We suck at it.
No, I'm not talking about that.
Let me ask you this:
We need , phones, right?
What is the first thing
people do when they get in there?
Log on to free Wi-Fi.
But Hooli makes you download
the Hoolicon app in order to sign in.
So, what if we somehow hack
our code onto the app?
Then we will have our ,
phones all in one day.
I'm sorry. You're you're
talking about sneaking our code
onto people's phones without
them even knowing about it?
I mean, that's malware, Richard.
No. No, no, no. Think of it more as, um,
forced adoption through
aggressive guerrilla marketing.
Well, as a product of forced adoption,
I can assure you there are consequences.
- I like it.
- Well, hold on.
Even if we get our code into that
app and onto all those phones,
people are just gonna delete the app
as soon as the conference is over.
People don't delete apps.
I'm telling you. Get your
phones out right now.
Vine, may she rest in peace.
All right, this works in theory,
but penetrating the Hooli servers
to hack their shitty convention app?
We'd need a black hat
ninja for this one.
I wonder where we can
find someone like that.
It's so great to see you, Mia.
- How's Pakistan?
- It's so great.
I was there for a while,
and as I said before,
I have to go back there right after this
for an extended period of time.
Anyway, how's all this stuff going?
You must be, like, dying of boredom.
I am, but the terms of my plea agreement
forbid me to touch a
computer or go online, so.
Let me run a hypothetical by you,
just to, like, exercise your brain.
Like, for instance, if I had to hack
the Hooli app servers, mess with an app,
and push it out over a
venue's free Wi-Fi
how would I do it?
It's a trick question, right?
Because you wouldn't
hack the app server.
You'd just launch a man-in-the-middle
attack with Pineapples.
Google it. Speaking of
if they even catch me
talking about this,
they could send me to
maximum security prison,
but I think I found a way to get online.
- There's a computer in the library
that's not supervised on Sundays.
I think if I can pull library
duty, I'll be able to sneak on
and track down whoever ratted me out.
I am going to destroy that motherfucker.
Not if I destroy him first.
Excuse me. What's your
policy on anonymous tips?
- sync and corrections by Mr. C -
- www.addic7ed.com -
Fuck. Wi-Fi Pineapples. It's so obvious.
Not to me.
Look, we set up a bunch
of these at Hoolicon.
We position ourselves between
everyone's devices and the real Wi-Fi.
So, they log onto our boxes
and our boxes log onto the real Wi-Fi?
- So, we show them a fake landing page,
and force everyone to download a
doctored version of the Hoolicon app.
And they'll never know the difference.
No wonder Mia's in prison.
- I think this might actually work.
It'll never work.
You don't even know what
we've been talking about.
I don't need to, Richard.
The truth is, we've tried and tried.
Every time we've gotten
a whiff of success,
a giant pelican by the name of Fate
takes a four-and-a-half-pound
shit right on top of us.
There are people who are destined for
greatness and people who are not.
Richard, it seems you and I are not.
And so, I've had enough.
I'm ending it all tonight.
Suicide? I have a book for you.
No, Gilf. Last night, when
I was sitting out there
by the smoldering husk of my palapa,
- so cruelly taken away from me
- You burned it down yourself.
which led me to my epiphany.
"Greetings from Tibet. If you find
yourself in Qamdo prefecture,
do drop in. Gavin Belson."
That was addressed to me.
No, that was addressed to
"Richard Hendricks and company."
Company, of which I am a part.
You're not seriously
thinking of going to Tibet?
You're broke. How the fuck
are you gonna pay for that?
That's where you come
in, my great friends.
I figured we might pass the hat?
Just give whatever you
are comfortable with.
I'll pay for it, whatever it costs.
Well, it seems the smallest
of us has the biggest heart.
Thank you, young Jinathon.
- Business class?
- Premium economy.
You fly one way.
Don't you need a visa to go to China?
Yes. I can call my uncle in Beijing.
He's very corrupt.
That sounded ominous,
but, gents, it's as I was saying:
Where there's a will, there's a way
just not for you guys.
No, I will not help you on this mission.
Richard, we always said we didn't
want to end up like Hooli.
How are we like Hooli?
We are trying to give free
Internet to the entire world.
If we have to bend a few
rules here and there
I mean, it's all for the
greater good, is it not?
Gavin Belson started out
with lofty goals too,
but he just kept excusing immoral
behavior just like this,
until one day all that was left
was a sad man with funny shoes
disgraced, friendless, and engorged
with the blood of a youthful charlatan.
I am never going to be
any of that.
Richard, not that long ago,
you agonized over using a stolen log-in
to get into a bake-off with Endframe,
a company that stole from us.
But now you're, what, shrugging off
against innocent civilians?
It's a means to an end.
It's not who I am.
I mean, Lincoln had to suspend
habeas corpus to end the war,
- but he restored it after.
Richard, it's not that easy.
There's always a next time and
a next time and a next time.
I cannot knowingly contribute
to your moral decay.
Well, what if you didn't do it
You're always telling me how you
spent your entire childhood
pretending that everything
going on around you was okay.
- Uncle Jerry's game.
- Yeah, that.
Let's play Uncle Jerry's game.
Do you know what you're asking?
Okay, guys, how we looking?
- One second.
- Almost done.
All 12 Pineapples
tested and packed.
Jared, you can come in now.
All right, all of our
swag is in the car,
and I look forward to a
of our legitimate space-saving app.
Yup, that's what this is.
Well, now, gentlemen, this is it.
Obviously, I don't care to
make a big deal out of it,
so I think it's sufficient
just to go around
and each of you say a memory or two
of times where I've profoundly
impacted your life.
It doesn't have to be a profound impact.
We're leaving now.
- International flight.
Four hours early.
No, international flights
are three hours early.
It's a new rule.
Okay, let's have some fun.
First hurdle down.
We're past security.
That made me
nervous, sneaking all that shit in.
Why? We're bringing
tech to a tech convention.
When did Pied Piper get
added to the vendor list?
That looks like us.
Oh no, that can't be.
No. This is not what I was promised.
- What? It's fine.
- But they told me
that we would have prominent placement
with proximity to high-traffic corridor.
We're in the
middle of the road here.
- Yeah, who gives a fuck?
Well, Jared does, and
and we do as well.
Uh, you know what? Why
don't you go check out
what the bathroom situation's like?
- Yes. Nothing would make me happier.
You know, I actually believe him.
okay, while Jared's gone,
let's get our bearings.
All right, so, we are here.
Now, you guys deploy the Pineapples.
Start with high-traffic areas,
so that means entrances.
People are setting up
so it shouldn't look that unusual,
but be careful, don't get caught,
- and remember why we are here.
- Hello. Hi.
I haven't seen you since
Since you threw yourself
down a flight of stairs
to prove how smart you were.
- That whole spaces-tab thing was
- Kind of petty?
Petty? No, I was gonna say "illustrative
of our vast differences."
- What are you doing here?
I'm here helping my friend
launch his new company.
"My friend." He's actually my boyfriend.
- That's his booth right there.
- Oh wow.
He's got a big one I mean the booth.
But, um, boyfriend, uh-oh.
Nothing. It's not. It's actually
Totally cool. Cool beans.
Beans, beans, magical fruit.
The more you eat, the more you
Hey, Joel? Come over and meet Richard.
Oh, not not needed.
- Joel, Richard.
- Not needed. Hey.
Oh. Stairs guy.
Uh, that's quite a booth you got there.
Oh, yes, thank you. We really think
our company's message is
worth getting out there.
Yeah, us too. Us too.
Um, we're just trying to be a bit
responsible with the spending.
Sure, but when I sold my last company,
I realized I had the luxury to
invest in something I believe in.
- Helping humanity thrive.
That's why I decided to bring
PeaceFare into the world.
Ah, good for you.
Okay. It was great to meet you, Richard.
Yeah, and you too.
- Good seeing you.
- Not if I see you first.
Not that you asked, but you
handled that very poorly.
You know, Jian-Yang, the silence in
the car gave me some time to think
about the fact that our
- Fuck you, fat fuck.
- Pineapple two is a go.
Fucking look at him,
Fucking bearded baby.
Cost us millions of dollars.
It would make me very happy
to pour boiling metal down
Keenan Feldspar's asshole.
How would that even work?
Flip and pour.
He's gonna run, and then
you're slowly chasing him,
trying to not spill your
vat of boiling metal.
- You're gonna look like a fucking idiot.
- Fuck you.
- Anybody looking?
- No, just go.
What's taking you so long? Hurry up!
What are you boys up to?
All right? I go through my slides.
Click, click, click.
Now, I would very much like
to welcome my good friend,
- Where the fuck is he?
Son, you're supposed to be
coming up from over there.
Totally, I'm just really kind of
digging the vibe over on this side.
- Uh, Terry?
- Kid wants to come from over here.
Excuse me, sir, do you have a moment?
This morning, Pied Piper were
a last-minute add to the vendor list,
so I started watching them and
noticed some suspicious behavior.
I sent in for our
tactical response team,
and with your permission,
I'd like to sweep
the convention floor with
Yagi antennas, which are
- Yes, sir.
Four days ago, I spent $2 billion
on a piece-of-shit VR gadget
that's never gonna work.
I had to rebuild the
entire operating system
just to get a second demo
that could play on a phone.
And by the grace of God, I
just may have pulled it off.
And now you want to talk to
me about Pied fucking Piper?
Sir, I'd like to think that if Gavin
Belson were here, we'd make sure
Gavin fucking Belson is not
here 'cause I fired his ass!
Now, look, you go back to
your little security room,
you sit in the corner
with a tinfoil hat on,
and I swear, if I hear you
wandered down the hallway
to take a piss, you are out on your ass.
You got that?
I do, sir.
You know what? This might be a good
time for me to hand out some flyers.
Pineapples up, six to go.
- Something wrong?
Yeah, actually. Very wrong.
PeaceFare is a game.
- Yeah, look at his website.
Give virtual coins to
virtual homeless people.
Grow virtual corn to feed
virtual starving villages.
What the fuck, right? I
mean, he's over there
making all this noise about turning your
mobile device into an empathy machine,
- but it's not doing anything.
- Fascinating, Richard.
Have you heard anything about how
Pied fucking Piper is doing?
Yes, our code is in the app,
the Pineapples are online,
and we're at downloads.
We're ahead of schedule.
Shit. This could work.
We are doing something real.
He is not, but she's with him,
and I'm the petty one. Okay,
well, what about the idea
of growing real corn to
feed real starving people?
- Yeah, his thing seems way easier.
Yeah, you can do it on your
phone in your underwear.
Just plant the rest of
the Pineapples, please.
- Oh! Here he comes, folks.
- Oh, thanks.
Richard Hendricks, the
Monet of compressionism.
Hey, which of the bathrooms is closest?
Uh, end of the row, 78
paces to the right.
Do you know this is the actual
laptop I used to code the app.
Hey, let's take some without
my shoes, yeah? Perfect.
Okay. Oh, hey, come.
Yeah, so please start with my toes.
Can you And these
are photos of irrigation,
captured in the rain.
it's gonna look great.
Yeah, like that.
Poverty and penthos.
That looks so good.
Let's do another one.
Go on the other side.
- Did you do this?
- What? What?
Did anyone see someone
touch this laptop?
- Hmm? What?
- Oh God.
This is very disturbing.
Fuck it. I'm just gonna punch him.
Yeah, right. Have fun
in jail, you moron.
- Oh shit.
- Oh fuck, it's him.
- What do we do?
- Uh, keep moving.
Fuck, do you think he saw us?
Oh, he saw us.
- He saw us see him.
Shit. Wait. What if he
thinks we did it on purpose,
like, we snubbed him?
Fuck yeah. We just snubbed the
fuck out of Keenan Feldspar.
- Hey, Richard.
I'm letting everyone know you might
want to reset your critical passwords,
because we've been hacked.
Oh! Uh, why why would you say that?
Someone changed my
and I know it wasn't
anyone on my team,
because they all respect me too much.
What did they change it to? If you
don't mind me asking, just 'cause
No, no, I won't dignify
it by repeating it.
I'm just saying you
should take precautions.
Also, Winnie spoke to security,
and they're sending the
tactical response team.
The Oh, here they are.
Bingo. We've got hostiles.
Red team, Sebastian, fan out
and sweep the entire venue.
Guess who has four thumbs
- and just snubbed Keenan Feldspar.
Guys, someone called security, now
they're doing a sweep of the area.
Okay? You've gotta go
pull all the Pineapples.
What the fuck? Who ratted us out?
I don't know. Probably we'll never know.
It's impossible to tell.
Just go. Go get get them now.
Go. Just go. Please.
Oh crap. We've got to split up.
I'll take the food court. You
take the east concourse.
- I want the food court.
- Just go!
- Hey, man.
- F-f-f-fucking Keenan.
- Hey, I have to go.
- Totally. Hey, did you snub me earlier?
- Yeah, you did.
You know you did.
You made me feel bad.
I like to feel good. Why
would you do that to me?
You fucked us, Keenan.
Richard was gonna take that deal,
and then you pulled it
right out from under us.
You cost me, personally,
a shit-ton of money.
Whoa. Is that what Richard told you?
Hey. So? They got every
single one, every single last one.
- I don't want to hear this.
But we gotta be close, right? Like,
how many more phones do we need?
I don't know. Close isn't good enough.
No, this is binary.
Either we have enough or we don't.
Oh f-f-f-fuck. Okay, I have an idea.
So, I've got one Pineapple left. Now,
I've rigged some batteries on top of it,
- because we're gonna have to go mobile.
We have to try. Okay, I'm going
to put this in your backpack.
- Oh no.
- No, it's fine.
- I don't want it. I don't want it.
- Dinesh, it's fine.
And you, you're gonna
hold this kill switch,
and then you're gonna walk into the most
densely populated area you can find.
All right? If you see
the security coming,
remember, you press that
button and, poof, you're gone.
I'll get as many of those
motherfuckers as I can.
We'll be rewarded in the end.
When the fuck were you gonna tell us?
- Tell you what?
- You know what, fat sack of shit.
- Richard, do you know what?
- No, I don't.
I-I I don't know what.
Dinesh, you need to move.
Well, not until I find
out if you know what.
- Go on.
- Okay, fine.
Fine. I messed with Joel's screensaver,
and then he told security,
and now they're the ones
pulling up all the Pineapples.
- What the fuck are you talking about?
- What are you talking about?
You acted like you wanted to
take Keenan Feldspar's offer.
Well, I just ran into him.
He said you turned him down.
Well, n Okay, well Who are
you going to believe, me or him?
Him. He showed me the
e-mail you sent him.
Showed you the e-mail?
You fucking snake.
Dinesh, you need to move, now.
Look, he pulled the deal.
Yeah, but you didn't know that when
you sent him the e-mail, did you?
Dinesh, you need to move.
I mean, come on.
- You need to go. Go. Go.
I'm going to have to see the
contents of that backpack.
What did you change it to, Richard?
It doesn't matter now.
I'm sorry. PoopFare?
Yeah, it was, like, a play on the name.
Is it a play on the name?
PissFare would be way better.
Or PeaceFart. That's just
changing one letter.
Look, he he turned around.
I had, like, a second, okay?
It's the best I could come up with.
- Are you serious?
everything that we've worked for
How was PoopFare
for the greater good?
You compared yourself to
Abraham Lincoln, Richard.
Can you do me a favor?
Can you say it so I know
I'm not hallucinating?
- I just did.
- Just say it.
- say it.
- Richard, look me in the eyes!
Look me in the eyes, and you name
- our undoing!
- Hey, come on. Calm down now.
PoopFare! You reckless child.
Gentlemen. Come with me, please.
Well, well, well.
Sorry, do I know you?
No but I know all about you.
These Wi-Fi Pineapples
are they yours?
And this image from
the security footage?
These two individuals
look familiar to you?
Do you recognize this?
It's an interview I just
found from Code/Rag
from October of this year,
in which you said you and
Gavin Belson would, quote,
"put Jack Barker out of a job."
Did you say that, Richard?
You know what? Yes. Yeah.
Yeah, this is me.
everything I say or type
gets me into trouble,
because I'm a idiot.
What the hell are these
gentlemen doing in my office?
We caught them with Pineapples.
You mean the Pineapples that I hired
them to bring to the conference
as part of a covert penetration
test of our Wi-Fi security?
- Sorry, we didn't know.
- You weren't supposed to.
Now, give these gentlemen their
passes and equipment back
and get them back on the floor.
You know, you said some very nice things
about Gavin Belson in that interview.
You could've very easily kicked
a good man when he was down.
Good luck with whatever
it is you're doing.
I'd walk you down myself, but for
reasons I really can't get into
I'm not allowed to leave this room.
There you are. You never
came back to the booth.
You didn't want to see
how it all turned out?
I wasn't really in the mood.
Are you playing PeaceFare?
Yeah. I just gave an orphan
her first calculator.
got something much better.
See that number?
That is the number of installs
that we've got from Hoolicon alone.
We have moved all of Melcher's data
onto a network of mobile devices.
- We did it.
- Do Dinesh and Gilfoyle know?
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, they know.
Now that this worked,
they like me again.
They're off getting
churros to celebrate.
I told them that we would meet
them at Barker's keynote, so
Richard, the fact that you think that
success justifies all your behavior
We were in crisis mode, okay?
And yeah, I lost my head,
but crisis averted,
so it's time to reinstate
habeas corpus, huh?
Be Honest Abe again.
What about the next crisis, Richard?
Jared, this won't happen again. I swear.
So, let's just enjoy it
for a minute.
Come on, give it up!
I love this company!
And how about you?
And how about Jamiroquai?
Ladies and gentlemen, oh, let's have it.
But wait a minute. Wait a minute.
Wait a minute.
Wasn't the original title of their
chart-topping hit "Virtual Insanity"?
Why is he singing "Virtual Reality"?
You know, I may need a little help
getting to the bottom of this
from my very good friend,
Oh! There he is! Hey, hey, hey, hey!
You guys ready to see the future?
You know, at the beginning
of the presentation,
I told all of you to update
your HooliPhone OS, right?
Now, I want you to go into "Settings,"
and you're gonna find a brand-new
toggle labeled "HooliVR."
You're gonna want to turn that on.
Now, look under your seats.
When you power up your HooliVR goggles,
they will "automagically"
pair with your phone.
Put 'em on
and prepare to be amazed!
Say hi to that barmaid for me.
Huh? Oh! Ow!
Oh shit! Fuck!
What's going on?
Uh, turn up the lights, please.
Something's happening here.
Uh, stay calm.
You don't think this had
anything to do with us, do you?
We appear to have a bit
of a technical problem.
I'm going to get to the
bottom of this right away.
Gelong-la, there is a
loud man here to see you.
He says you sent for him.
Qamdo in the house!
Are you fucking kidding me?
I'm really here.
Episode 10The Uptick
Silicon Valley Season Finale Recap: Fear of the Walking DAUsThe Emmys need to stop ignoring Thomas Middleditch and T.J. Miller.
Episode 9Daily Active Users
Silicon Valley Recap: The Passion of the PipeyRemember Clippy, Microsoft’s terrifying digital assistant? This is so much worse.
Episode 8Bachman’s Earning’s Over-Ride
Silicon Valley Recap: Paying the Piper“Erlich Bachman, the name once synonymous with success, is broke.”
Episode 7To Build a Better Beta
Silicon Valley Recap: The Sooner, the BetaFor the very first time, we feel sorry for Erlich Bachman.
Episode 6Bachmanity Insanity
Silicon Valley Recap: Grand Opening, Grand ClosingJared is a veritable sex machine.
Episode 5The Empty Chair
Silicon Valley Recap: Return of the KingLaurie Bream isn’t here to soothe male egos.
Episode 4Maleant Data Systems Solutions
Silicon Valley Recap: Laurie Bream, Professional BadassNow that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you shoot a king.
Episode 3Meinertzhagen’s Haversack
Silicon Valley Recap: Shooting the KingIf you come at Action Jack Barker, you best not miss.
Episode 2Two in a Box
Silicon Valley Recap: Horsing AroundThe figurative screwing of Richard is juxtaposed with … well, you know.
Episode 1Founder Friendly
Silicon Valley Season Premiere Recap: The Ballad of Action Jack BarkerAs season three opens, Richard’s ego has reached DEFCON 1.
Today, let's meet the man who built Silicon Valley. The University of Houston's College of Engineering presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them.
My wife and I often drove down from Berkeley to her parents' house on the coast during the late s. The road passed through the hot, sleepy valley around San Jose. The valley had a new IBM plant and a small state university. Stanford lay off to the right. The yellow hills on either side shimmered in the summer heat. It was a land of wine and artichokes.
Today that valley is built up, hill to hill. We call it Silicon Valley. It seems changed beyond all recognition. Yet that name was starting to fit it even then. To see why, let's meet Frederick Terman, who joined Stanford in
Terman grew up in the Valley, and he grew up with electricity. Together, he and Herbert Hoover's son built a radio transmitter. Terman went off to MIT for an engineering Ph.D. Then, back at Stanford, he unleashed a remarkable vision. It began with a simple enough remark that he "would like to take the boys out to see what the world off campus was like." That obviously meant ties with industry. But Terman took it much further.
He began by giving lab space to two engineers who wanted to improve airplane navigation. They invented the Klystron tube and set up a company to produce it. By Klystron research at Stanford was giving America its edge in the microwave field. In Terman encouraged two former students to form a local company. Their names were Hewlett and Packard.
Terman insisted that engineering should interact with chemistry, math, and physics. That paid off in a big way when Shockley came into the Valley with his Nobel Laureate for the transistor. Shockley put together a strong team. One member had just helped invent the integrated circuit. Shockley was a hard person to work with. The team soon walked off to create another company. Then it, in turn, split into eight more companies.
So the Valley grew. It was wild and unstable. It was young and volatile. My wife and I didn't know it then, but dozens of firms were already giving America its dominance in computers and semiconductors among the artichokes and wineries.
And we're told this about Terman: "He was studious, soft-spoken, and forever self-effacing a brilliant teacher a profound visionary." So Terman is an apt hero. Others found fame and wealth in the Valley. But what they claimed, he gave away. In the end it was because he served others more than he served himself that Terman could make all this happen.
I'm John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work.
Hear Startup Alley companies pitch expert VC judges on the next episode of Extra Crunch Live
We know how much you love a good startup pitch-off. Who doesn’t? It combines the thrill of live, high-stakes entertainment with learning about the hottest new thing. Plus, you get to hear feedback from some of the smartest folks in the industry, thus learning how to absolutely crush it at your next pitch meeting with a VC.
With all that in mind, we’re introducing a special summer edition of Extra Crunch Live that’s all pitch-off, all the time.
On August 4, Extra Crunch Live will feature startups exhibiting in the Startup Alley at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. Those startups will pitch their products/businesses to a pair of expert VC judges, who will then give their live feedback.
Extra Crunch Live is usually a combination of an interview with a founder/investor duo and an audience pitch-off. But as it’s summer, and Disrupt is right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to bring you even more pitches and even more feedback.
On August 4, our expert VC judges will be Edith Yeung from Race Capital and Laela Sturdy of CapitalG. Register here for free!
Edith Yeung started out as an investor at Startups and is now a general partner at Race Capital. Shes an expert on both the China and Silicon Valley investment landscape and has made more than 50 investments, with a portfolio that includes 50 startups, including Lightyear/Stellar (valued $ billion), Silk Labs (acquired by Apple), Chirp (acquired by Apple), Fleksy (acquired by Pinterest), Human (acquired by Mapbox), Solana, Oasis Labs, Nebulas, Hooked, DayDayCook, AISense and many more.
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Valley silicon next episode
BY JAMIE MORROW
Daily Post Associate Editor
“$50 million sounds great, but it’s an awfully low price to pay for your integrity,” Pied Piper founder Richard is told in last night’s episode of HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” And he agrees.
But when the number is upped to $1 billion? Straightforwardly titled “Blood Money,” the episode presents the startup’s struggling leader with his greatest temptation yet.
Pied Piper founder Richard (Thomas Middleditch) is looking for money in the first place because he’s determined to stick by his principles of not selling ads to the users of his new peer-to-peer internet or invading their privacy and exploiting them — despite a tool he built in the previous episode making it easy to do just that.
But he’s frustrated by his lead development partner, gaming company head Colin. The opening scene shows that Colin has taken Piped Piper’s AI technology and used it to make a new version of his game that sells targeted ads in-game and in real time based on what it hears users saying into their gaming headsets. Say out loud that you’re hungry? Expect to see a Domino’s appear in the medieval fantasy game. Scream in frustration? You’ll see ads for calming meds and Massage Envy.
Hating money and needing it
“Money just perverts everything,” Richard exclaims. But to get rid of Colin, he needs some. He and CFO Monica (Amanda Crew) go to a charity gala to hunt VCs, but it turns out the denizens of Sand Hill weren’t sold on his high-minded principles (which in the last episode he had declared to members of Congress on national television). Set to inspiring music, the speech had been eloquent, and his coders loved it. But VCs? They saw a man committing to a horrible business model and alienating every major tech giant at the same time. They all thought he was the dumbest man in tech, as one VC tells him.
Utterly demoralized, Richard is thrilled to meet and be offered a lifeline by an admiring Chilean billionaire, Maximo Reyes. But Monica informs him that Reyes’ grandfather was the chief of secret police under Pinochet. Reyes’ family enslaved people to work in mines and executed people in soccer stadiums. “We cannot take blood money,” she says. But when the offer is upped to $1 billion — for a 10% stake in the company — the number is so big that Monica loses all her moorings and declares that Richard alone must make the decision.
Of course, how far removed from blood must money be to not be tainted? In the real world, much of Silicon Valley has spent the last year wrestling with the implications of taking millions of dollars in funds from Saudi Arabia. Of course, it was known that Saudi Arabia oppresses women, commits human rights abuses, and has led a civil war in Yemen that has killed thousands of people and caused a famine there. But in October , dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, prompting a wave of backlash and introspection. However, a year later, it seems Saudis are still at least indirectly putting billions into hot tech ventures.
Some seem to believe money is merely a tool or at least will do better in better hands. MIT Media Lab’s Nicholas Negroponte, who encouraged the lab’s leader to accept donations from Jeffrey Epstein, comes to mind. But it’s hard to take someone’s money without creating an alliance of sorts.
As the episode ends, Reyes threatens Richard and makes clear that he is an apt heir to his family’s fortune. He wants to mine data as well as minerals, and we will have to see next episode if Richard will have the courage to walk away from him.
Hooli CEO in a foxhole
The episode also expertly parodied a real-world example of the perils of foreign ownership in the Valley. Earlier this year, U.S. officials made a stink about the gay hookup app Grindr being acquired by a Chinese company, citing security concerns that the deal gives foreigners access to sensitive information (like HIV status) about U.S. citizens. That resulted in an agreement that the Chinese owner must sell the app by The U.S. agency involved, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has been more aggressive when it comes to Chinese investment in tech over the past year, according to reporting by Recode.
Over at Hooli, the show’s now much-diminished tech giant, CEO Gavin (Matt Ross) is told by his investors that he has three months to show a profit or he’s out. He plans to cut costs by relocating Hooli to Belarus, but two of his minions who don’t want to move foil him. Because one of Hooli’s properties, Foxhole — basically an Ashley Madison for soldiers in the military — means some very interesting personal info would then be overseas. Enter one four-star general who’s a user, and yeah, that plan is toast.
• Best line of the episode is from Gavin: “If we can get close enough to the Chernobyl exclusion zone, it’s a buyer’s market.”
• Richard’s run-ins with the VCs who thought he was dumb all took place at a “Hack Famine” gala, where a man on a screen says “Just 39 cents a day can feed an entire family” while guests in tuxes and gowns eat caviar and network million-dollar deals.
• The same gala sees Richard and Monica run into Laurie (Suzanne Cryer), who is now CEO of the Chinese internet company from last season. She’s taking it to the U.S., where it could be a new rival for Pied Piper.
• In a surprising subplot, the show’s sarcastic, uber-competent coder Gilfoyle (Martin Starr) is thoroughly pwned by the new HR lady. “You’re ‘that guy,’” Tracy informs him. She’s seen his type before, having helped take seven previous companies public. Usually Gilfoyle escalates a conflict until he wins, and he does so here until she wins.
• Items surrounding Gilfoyle’s workstation include “Shadowrun” and “Magic the Gathering: Ravnica” from the Dungeons & Dragons world.
Email Jamie Morrow at [email protected] Look for previous reviews at padailypost.com.
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|◀️Previous episode Gallery Transcript▶️Next episode Episode info|
|Director: Mike Judge Writers: Carson Mell Aired: April 13, Season: One Number: Two |
Summary: After a celebratory party at the Hacker Hostel, Richard and Erlich learn that Peter Gregory won't pay up until they deliver a viable business plan--one that includes a slimmed-downed staff. A desperate Richard hires former Belson underling Jared, and they set about trying to trim the fat. While Gilfoyle and Dinesh prove themselves essential, Big Head's place in the company is less certain.
Hey! Sorry if I scared you, I know I have somewhat ghost-like features. My uncle used to say, "You look like someone starved a virgin to death."
Jared shows up at the Hacker Hostel bearing a bottle of champagne and congratulations for Richard -- he’s inspired by Richard’s ability to say “no” to the $10 million his boss Gavin Belson offered for Pied Piper. Richard wants to give Jared a chance, but Erlich kicks him out just before introducing a stripper, Mochachino, in celebration of their new business. Mochachino spends most of her time with Big Head, who seems uncomfortable with the situation. Richard gets stuck paying Mochachino.
Richard and Erlich meet with Peter Gregory, who expects the guys to present their business plan. He asks for the cap table, investment deck, business plan, and other relevant paperwork, but Richard is empty-handed. Richard assumed he was just picking up a $, check, but Peter tells him to come back in 48 hours with an air-tight business plan, strategy, and three-year P&L. Afterward, Erlich tells Richard he needs to learn to be a “complete asshole” in order to figure out the company’s direction.
At the Hacker Hostel, Richard calls Jared for help with the business plan -- a move that doesn’t please Erlich at all. Jared conducts interviews with Gilfoyle, Dinesh, and Big Head about their roles in the company. Gilfoyle does system architecture, networking and security; Dinesh writes code, especially in Java; and Big Head agrees with Jared that he’s a master of nothing specific, sort of a jack of all trades. Gilfoyle keeps going on about the pointlessness of Big Head, who overhears what he says a couple of times.
Big Head goes missing, and Richard finds him in San Jose with Mochachino. Big Head says he’s leaving the Valley because there’s nothing for him to do on Pied Piper. Richard decides, however, that Big Head can stay, but only just after it’s too late: Gavin Belson offered Big Head a promotion and more money, in retaliation because Richard took Jared. Big Head warns Richard of Hooli’s plan to use the Pied Piper prototype to build a competitor algorithm call Nucleus. Richard finishes his Peter Gregory presentation and arrives at the bank with his $, check, but he can’t deposit it because, as it turns out, Pied Piper isn’t a registered corporation.
The end music used is Ah Man (feat. Cali Martyr) by Thurz.
- Referring to the episode title, a Cap Table (Capitalization Table) is a table that provides an analysis of the founders' and investors' percentage of ownership, equity dilution, and value of equity in each round of investment.
- “Richard, I just wanna say, I really respect what you're doing here, and if you could ever use someone with my business development skill set, I would love to be a part of this.”— Jared
- “The fuck you will be! We'll call you when we want pleated khakis.”— Erlich
- “'[to Erlich] You kind of have a like a king-ish feeling to you. You're like a Norse god from Valhalla.”— Jared
- “Richard, if you're not an asshole, it creates this kind of asshole vacuum, and that void is filled by other assholes, like Jared. I mean, you almost gave him shares. You need to completely change who you are, Richard. A complete teutonic shift has to happen.”— Erlich
- “A "tectonic" shift is the earth's crust moving around. "Teutonic", which is what you just said, is an ancient Germanic tribe that fought the Romans. They were originally from Scandinavia”— Richard
- “Stop it! Stop it. You're being a complete tool right now. I need you to be a complete asshole.”— Erlich
- “Dinesh, change the lighting to something erotic because it is about to get pretty fucking erotic in here.”— Erlich
- “That was nice, guys. He heard everything.”— Richard
- “That doesn't make it not true.”— Dinesh
- “I mean, come on, Richard. As far as Pied Piper is concerned, he's as pointless as Mass Effect 3's multiple endings. I mean, he's a completely useless appendage and we all know it.”— Gilfoyle
- “Peter Gregory demanded a lean, ruthless business plan. And I don't think that the CEO of Microsoft has a paid best friend.”— Jared
- “'[laughs] Sergey Brin does. Larry doesn't do shit.”— Big Head
- “Did you just take a sip from an empty cup?”— Peter
- “Why did you do that?”— Peter
- “Just something to do.”— Richard
- “What do I do? System architecture. Networking and security. No one in this house can touch me on that.”— Gilfoyle
- “OK, that's good to know.”— Jared
- “But does anyone appreciate that? While you were busy minoring in gender studies and singing a capella at Sarah Lawrence, I was gaining root access to NSA servers. I was one click away from starting a second Iranian Revolution.”— Gilfoyle
- “I actually went to Vassar.”— Jared
- “I prevent cross-site scripting, I monitor for DDoS attacks, emergency database rollbacks, and faulty transaction handlings. The Internet heard of it? Transfers half a petabyte of data every minute. Do you have any idea how that happens? All those YouPorn ones and zeroes streaming directly to your shitty, little smart phone day after day? Every dipshit who shits his pants if he can't get the new dubstep Skrillex remix in under 12 seconds? It's not magic, it's talent and sweat. People like me, ensuring your packets get delivered, un-sniffed. So what do I do? I make sure that one bad config on one key component doesn't bankrupt the entire fucking company. That's what the fuck I do.”— Gilfoyle
- “That's basically what I told him.”— Jared
- “Listen, wherever we end up here I just wanna say that I think I should get more equity than Dinesh.”— Gilfoyle
- “I know that Gilfoyle probably came in here and puked out a bunch of tech specs, three-fourths of which are total horseshit. Did he bring up the Iranian Revolution thing? Yeah, those words mean nothing. But here's a fact: I am the only one of these clowns who can code in Java, and I write sleek performant low-overhead scala code with higher order functions that will run on anything. Period. End of sentence. So basically, I think whatever equity I get, it should reflect that I contribute more than Gilfoyle.”— Dinesh
- “Audious, play John Lennon's Imagine.”— Gavin
- “Queueing John Wayne in a mansion. [pause] Not found.”— Audious
- “Invalid command.”— Audious