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How close to reality is the show "Silicon Valley"?

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Software Engineer at Government25 days ago

A mixture of Silicon Valley and The Social Network is what inspired me quite a few years ago that pursing a start-up was even a possibility.

I even learnt the concept of what a "kanban" board was from Jared (played by Zach Woods).

Pursing this start-up ended up getting me into an incubator and then into a software job (after having no $ to continue the venture lol)

As someone who has never been to America, let alone the bay area and has never worked in big tech/a real start-up:

How close is the show to reality?

Met any Russ Hanneman types haha



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    Engineer @ Robinhood
    25 days ago

    The show hits many/nearly all of the common tropes of the Silicon Valley, but takes them to the extreme for the sake of satire. There are many examples in real life that could naturally fit in the show like the rise (and fall) of WeWork. That being said, overall I feel like people in the Bay Area (and other major tech hubs in the US) have a higher baseline on average of trying/caring/competence, but not to the point where it's clear being here will supercharge your career.

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    Friendly Tarodactyl
    Taro Community
    24 days ago

    It's super realistic so much it scares people and that they refuse to watch the show. I however, found it completely hilarious (like omg this is my life) when it came to VR, "hot dog not hot dog" (AI), and seeing the little knight robot roaming around Stanford campus (yes, this is true). Also the tethics episode looking back now is all too real and reminds me of the end of last year and early 2020 when I was discouraged not to apply to work at OpenAI in 2020 because #tethics, boy do I regret that. Silicon Valley HBO is a great show, and The Social Network is also hilarious and too close for comfort as my former boss actually knew Sean Parker's ex'es. Silicon Valley the region is incestuous. I probably know too many Russ Hanneman types.

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    Tech Lead @ Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero
    15 days ago

    I grew up in the Bay Area, my dad's a software engineer, and I am now a software engineer who has worked for Big Tech, startups, and is now doing his own startup. I can confidently say that Silicon Valley is both hilariously (and sadly) quite accurate.

    Of course, it's exaggerated for the sake of satire, but there were so many moments in the show where I was thinking "This can't be real", and well, it was. Anyways, here's some stuff off of the top of my head:

    • Resting and vesting - Hooli is largely a parody of Google, and a long time ago (not just before the current layoffs, before even that), Google just hired anybody they thought was smart, even if they didn't have a project/team for them to work on. Google's goal was to prevent other companies from getting this talent. This led to a lot of people hanging around Google not really doing anything. These types of Big Tech engineers are pretty much extinct in the "era of efficiency" now though.
    • Billionaires are treated like Holocaust Jews - There is an insane scene where Gavin Belson compares the current vilification of tech billionaires to Nazi Germany. This is based on a real thing a tech VC actually said: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PN-vUaawaF8
    • Startups just spit out buzzwords - During TechCrunch Disrupt, all the startups are saying things like "We're SoLoMo" and "We're MoLoSo" (So = Social, Lo = Local, Mo = Mobile, the buzzwords of the early 2010s). Bad startups do this all the time and good startups will do it too to raise money/build hype. The current buzzword is "AI" as you might imagine. Startups everywhere are just jamming AI into their products/company name, most of them with products that don't really need AI.
    • Tech is terrible with gender diversity - All the stuff with Monica and Carla is sadly pretty true - I know a lot of woman engineers in Silicon Valley, and I have heard so many horror stories, regardless of company quality (i.e. FAANG has a problem here too). It's a double whammy as people in tech can be sexist by legitimately being misogynistic (often subconsciously) or "White Knighting" (like Jared), where the intent is good, but the behavior ends up being weirdly condescending that it overshoots into sexism.