Silicon Valley: The Uptick
June 26, 2016 11:22 PM - Season 3, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Pied Piper is running out of runway, Jared cries for ordinary reasons, and Bachmanity ensues. Season finale.
posted by rhizome (36 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Yay Donald! "You've weaponized my faith and used it against me."
posted by morganw at 12:11 AM on June 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


Was Jared in the last scene?
posted by drezdn at 3:57 AM on June 27, 2016


Yes, he was (sitting next to Big Head).

I was yelling at my screen for Big Head to buy Pied Piper and glad it ended up that way.
posted by noneuclidean at 4:08 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


The "previously on" bit at the beginning pretty much gave away the whole plot, and they were obviously dancing around naming the buyer at the board meeting. I feel like the writers used to be better at not telegraphing this stuff.

Still, a satisfying ending to a pretty good season. I'll definitely be back for S4.
posted by Etrigan at 5:46 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I'm worried the show is about to turn into Friends 2.0.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:18 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit worried they've now cut out both Laurie and Monica and made the whole show an even bigger bro-fest.
posted by joan cusack the second at 8:23 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm a bit worried they've now cut out both Laurie and Monica and made the whole show an even bigger bro-fest.

Monica is clearly employed at the post-Raviga Pied Piper, after Laurie fired her.
posted by Etrigan at 8:33 AM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I actually think that this might give Monica more screentime, which is great.

I was really happy for Pied Piper, but it seemed weird that the season ended in such a nicely-wrapped bow. I suppose the "twist" was obvious but I wasn't looking for it and was pleasantly surprised when it turned out that Bachmanity bought the company.

I also loved the awkard love declaration in the boardroom.
posted by radioamy at 9:34 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was really happy for Pied Piper, but it seemed weird that the season ended in such a nicely-wrapped bow.

Yeah. I was trying to figure out why I hated the ending so much and I think it's because years of being a Community fan have conditioned me to evaluate season finales as "possible series finale if they don't opt to buy another season" and this one definitely felt like it could easily be a series finale. I'm not sure where the show goes from here. I'm sad it seems like Raviga will be out of the picture as I really liked Laurie Bream and think it created a lot of interesting tension to have Monica loyal to Pied Piper but not working for them.

That said, there were a lot of great moments. I loved Erlich at the beginning describing his expert manipulation of VCs and was glad he got to be hypercompetent in this episode rather than acting the buffoon as he usually does. I loved the scene where Dinesh and Gilfoyle gave Richard their blessing to continue manipulating the numbers. There were a few really laugh-out-loud funny lines. I loved that Laurie Bream threw down with "elephant in the room" so drily and didn't take it anywhere. "My lawyer's in jail, so." The surprise boardroom declaration of undying love was painfully realistic...probably Monica paid him a compliment when they were both in the elevator two years ago and he's relived that moment in dreams ever since.

Jian-Yang's epic prank call from Erlich's future self!! Jimmy O. Yang has made me laugh pretty much every time he has appeared onscreen this season.
posted by town of cats at 10:19 AM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


The surprise boardroom declaration of undying love was painfully realistic...probably Monica paid him a compliment when they were both in the elevator two years ago and he's relived that moment in dreams ever since.

Didn't he say it was his first day?

(Oh, man, now I'm imagining an episode where Monica smiled at this guy at a party in S1, and he's spent the last three years trying to get hired by Raviga. Amassing student debt to get a more applicable degree, obsessively LinkedIn stalking everyone else at Raviga to get intel on which positions he can apply to, subtly undermining other candidates for months...)
posted by Etrigan at 10:28 AM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's interesting to note that a complete lack of interest in user experience completely killed a whole brand new technology dead. And yet still nobody knows or cares enough about ux to even notice. I do not understand this mindset among tech folks at all. If people can't use it, what's the point?
posted by bleep at 10:39 AM on June 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


I was really happy for Pied Piper, but it seemed weird that the season ended in such a nicely-wrapped bow.

I'm really glad that they've moved away from the platform (which was magical up until they pulled back the curtain on some of the specifics with the beta release), since having it out in the market with no real userbase is kind of a dead end. Now that they're pivoting to the chat app, which is actually popular!, there's room for a whole host of different challenges ahead.

Didn't he say it was his first day?

No, that was the other guy (they looked very similar but he was sitting on the other side of the table), the one that voted with Laurie.
posted by psoas at 10:40 AM on June 27, 2016


I'm usually not an Erlich fan (team Jared all the way), but I think he really stood out this episode, from actually doing his job, to his dressing down of Richard at the end.

> Didn't he say it was his first day?

That was the other guy Laurie brought into the room from the hallway. The guy that said he loved Monica (whose name I do not know) has been seen throughout the series at Raviga.

> If people can't use it, what's the point?

I don't get it either. I'm not even in tech, and one of my biggest problems is getting end users to actually use basic tools I build, so I put a lot of time and effort into making it really easy and compelling to use. It seems so obvious.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:47 AM on June 27, 2016


The video chat uses Pied Piper behind the scenes, so the video chat is the UX that PP was missing.
posted by rhizome at 11:06 AM on June 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


I really liked this episode. The speech at the beginning, the ending, the prank call, all of it. The declaration of love was handled perfectly by not responding directly to it. Even First Day Man shook his head at it. Jared standing in the window! I may print that out and have him always watching me at my desk.

I dunno, I'm worried the show is about to turn into Friends 2.0.


I don't see this. How do you mean?
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 11:23 AM on June 27, 2016


Well, no one told me entrepreneurship was gonna be this way
You're company's a joke, you're broke, 'til Big Head saves the day!
It's like you're always on the precipice of fear
When you could be sued, or sunk, or trapped by a self-driving car in a seabound shipping container, but

Just look out for Hoo-
(-li's a dangerous force)
Just look out for who
(Monica's working for)
Just look out for you
('Cause that Jaaaaared can screwwwww)

posted by psoas at 11:54 AM on June 27, 2016 [12 favorites]


I dunno, I'm worried the show is about to turn into Friends 2.0.

I don't see this. How do you mean?


Pied Piper just became a lifestyle company, for all intents and purposes. Bachmanity owns 100%. Monica is now working there. They still work (and mostly live) in the same house.

I see a lot more eps about Jared is Weird, Dinesh Can't Get Laid, Guilfoyle the Satanist With a Heart of Gold, Will Richard and Monica Hook Up, Bachman is a Terrible Boss, Oh Look Bigheads Doing Something Dumb etc -- basically character driven hijinks focused on the cast itself and a lot less relevant commentary on Silicon Valley, startups, etc. Maybe some Ripped from Last Quarter's Tech Blogs scenarios that are used to set up those character interactions but wrapped up an abandoned after an ep or two (which is already kinda the writers' MO).

I don't think it's too far from here to Smelly Cat.
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:09 PM on June 27, 2016 [6 favorites]


Fair enough. I guess I already see most of that stuff happening and I like it in small doses. I would not like it if there is any 'will they, won't they' crap or it focused only on Pied Piper - or whatever they're called now (but they already have the jackets). I would hope we haven't seen the end of Hooli, VC money, or general SV dealings, but who knows. Early on I was worried there was a Richard/Monica thing coming and thankfully they've completely avoided it so far. I hope that continues.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:23 PM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gavin's already getting pretty cartoon-villainish with the animal gags and his new Blartesque sidekick, to the point where he's almost a Dr. Claw figure.

ILL GET YOU PIPERRRRRRR!
mrowr
posted by snuffleupagus at 12:33 PM on June 27, 2016


> Laurie Bream
"to which contemptible asshole did you think I was referring?"

If Pied Piper can pivot (ugh!) to video chat, Raviga might want to invest. Then then can move out of the house again, Erlich can start a new round of hacker hostel people who Raviga might also want to invest in.

Always Blue Laurie! Always Blue Laurie!
posted by morganw at 1:10 PM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


The video chat uses Pied Piper behind the scenes, so the video chat is the UX that PP was missing.

I don't agree with this assessment. The file storage app seemed poised to revolutionize file storing, sharing, and access. Except people couldn't figure out how to use it. From the way they were talking in the episode, even a single competent ux designer (like me!) could have identified and fixed these issues to retain active users organically. And yet on the show, it's portrayed like a big mystery with only clumsy and ineffectual fixes. I'm not saying the show or the writers should have done things differently. It's just a sadly accurate portrayal of.. How people tend to act I guess. They want to do everything themselves, and if there's something they don't know how to do and it doesn't interest them they assume it doesn't exist. Then the lack of that thing destroys a promising idea but they're still completely blind to it. In a way it's a perfect illustration of why Richard isn't ready to be a CEO. I guess if there was one thing I wish the show did differently, it's that I get why Richard et al were ignorant in this way, but I wish the show itself knew more than they did.
posted by bleep at 3:18 PM on June 27, 2016 [9 favorites]


This is just a sticking point for me because I see this and deal with it every day.
posted by bleep at 3:42 PM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wait a minute, why doesn't Richard have shares? He owned most of the company before it was sold. Shouldn't he either have a bunch of shares in the Bachmanity incarnation of the company or get paid several hundred thousand of the million and one dollars?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:38 PM on June 27, 2016


I'm not sure where the show goes from here.

Neither are the creators of the show, if this interview at Variety is any indication:

How many seasons can the show run for?

I don’t know. The massive challenge of doing this show is I think it functions when these guys are outsiders. And I don’t know if these guys actually start to really win, if this show is as compelling. On “Entourage,” Vinny could get the big movie and get $10 million and they could go buy Ferraris, and that was voyeuristic and fun. But I think if these guys end up becoming the next Google, my fear is that the show is sort of over. So the real, existential question is how can we keep finding interesting ways to keep them away from the finish line? Or does it just become like Lucy and the football, and you just become annoyed and like, “If these guys can’t figure it out by now they’re just stupid and I’ve lost interest.”


There's some good stuff about why the skunkworks story was dropped so suddenly, too.
posted by mediareport at 5:42 PM on June 27, 2016


Pope Guilty, Pied Piper had a 'liquidity event' (i.e. it got sold), and, as Richard mentioned, the investors had preferred shares. The people with 'participating shares' get all the money, and the people holding the 'non-participating' shares (i.e. everyone but the VCs) get told 'thanks', and their shares are wiped out. Bachmanity can issue new shares to Richard if it so chooses.

Source: it's happened to me. More than once.
posted by Frayed Knot at 5:58 PM on June 27, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was not aware of the distinction between participating and preferred shares. That's pretty awful.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:03 PM on June 27, 2016


It's a liquidation preference. I think they slipped it into Richard's dialogue.
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:08 PM on June 27, 2016


I don't get it either. I'm not even in tech, and one of my biggest problems is getting end users to actually use basic tools I build, so I put a lot of time and effort into making it really easy and compelling to use. It seems so obvious.

My husband actually got to deploy a Pied Piper joke last week as I was at a seminar all week learning to use a platform that is supposed to be for non-programmers and laypeople but in reality involves quite a lot of xml coding and interacting in the command line with a subversion server. I was telling husband about it and the sheer insanity of PhD computer scientists thinking they know what the average user can and can't do, and he turned to me and said, "So what you're saying is that you would not recommend Pied Piper to your friends?"
posted by soren_lorensen at 7:17 PM on June 27, 2016 [1 favorite]


Code/Rag is now all Gavin puff-pieces.
posted by larrybob at 9:05 PM on June 27, 2016 [4 favorites]


> even a single competent ux designer (like me!) could have identified and fixed these issues to retain active users organically. And yet on the show, it's portrayed like a big mystery with only clumsy and ineffectual fixes.

It *is* a big mystery. I had a bug related to iCloud Photo Library (it puts video you shoot in the cloud library too) so had to turn it on for a bit and it just drove me batty trying to figure out when it would upload and download and what resolution photos (and video) it would keep in which locations.

Look at all these checkboxes & explanations
. Yes, UX people have been over this already.

An ordinary user would be spared some of those concerns and middle-out is lossless, so the issue of JPEG generation loss is moot, but an "ordinary" user with a 40 megapixel camera probably wants smaller versions of photos for web sharing. So how to keep track of both the big & small ones?

And what of backup? If you have 2 factor authentication turned on for an iCloud account and you lose your password and 2FA device (and recovery passwords), there is no recourse. No FAXing your passport to HQ or any other method to get your account back. OK, there is now, but the fact that it was deployed at one point with no recovery method reinforces this for me: even if I wanted my photos in the cloud, I'd still want that hard drive in the safe.
posted by morganw at 9:07 PM on June 27, 2016


Code/Rag is now all Gavin puff-pieces.

The elephant sanctuary had me rolling.
posted by Superplin at 9:10 PM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


> Code/Rag is now all Gavin puff-pieces.

Love it. The supposed real-world inspiration, Pando Daily, still pretends to have journalistic integrity and distance from its investors. Wouldn't it have been more realistic for Gavin to buy C/R personally through a Panamanian trust or something instead of having Hooli acquire it? How could Hooli's board see buying a mouthpiece that would have no future credibility as serving the shareholders?
posted by morganw at 9:11 PM on June 27, 2016 [2 favorites]


How could Hooli's board see buying a mouthpiece that would have no future credibility as serving the shareholders?

The board would probably just be relieved that he's only spending $2M on some stupid thing.
posted by Etrigan at 3:20 AM on June 28, 2016


Pied Piper - or whatever they're called now (but they already have the jackets)

"Big Head" is a fine enough name for a video chat thing.
posted by nobody at 7:56 PM on June 28, 2016 [3 favorites]


In an earlier season Richard insisted that as a condition of sale Monica voted for Raviga.
Seems like it would be breach of contract for laurie to fire her to enforce a particular vote.

It's not an important plot point I know, but I kept expecting it to come up and it never did.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 3:46 PM on July 3, 2016 [1 favorite]


I get the pivot to video chat and I actually think this is a better example of the role of UX (and maybe product management too depending on how you define product management).

The file compression thing was always flawed as a product. It was too techy for any sort of public appeal. File compression is not a solution to a user. That is why the original Pied Piper interface fell flat for users. They could not relate it to a real world problem it was trying to solve for them. Thus, when the focus group participant was confused about '0 bytes', well why does he care if it took up 0 bytes or 1gb. He's never had a problem with storage, the number just tells him "something exists". 0 = does not exist = confused.

The success of the video chat makes better sense. The leading video chat (Hoolichat) sucks. We know the quality sucks because that's why Dinesh created the video chat client using the compression technology. The compression technology improved the video chat experience.

Better video chat is the solution, the product, to the user, not file compression.
posted by like_neon at 5:46 AM on July 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


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