The valuations of startups in Silicon Valley have been so outlandish the past few years that the creators of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” have had to repeatedly swap in new numbers on the fly to make it seem more “realistic.”
The show chronicles the struggles of a rag-tag (and loveable) bunch trying to navigate the world of startups.
“We were looping in lines to change amounts,” show creator Mike Judge said at a panel on Saturday at the South by Southwest event.
Here’s an example. At one point, there was a line where a character claimed to own 10% of gay social network app Grindr. They realised that if the character actually did own that percentage, he’d “be worth like $100 million,” Judge said. They ended up changing the line to, “I own a very small percentage of Grindr.”
Thomas Middleditch, who plays the show’s lead Richard Hendriks, said that in one episode they had his character turn down a $10 million acquisition offer. They wanted to make it $100 million, but felt like that would be too much. Then Snapchat reportedly turned down a $3 billion buyout from Facebook. That was egg on our face, Middleditch laughed.
“The amounts money are so stunning,” showrunner Alec Berg said. While writing the show, the team consulted with different venture capitalists to try and find funny challenges the group could have when trying to raise $10 million. They struck out. “They’d be able to raise $10 million no problem,” the venture capitalists told them. “Any VC would give it to them.”
But all that money can be bad for a show, the creators also explained. Judge said he thinks of the cast of “Silicon Valley” as a bunch of outsiders trying to crack the machine and get a win. Once they are the guys with all the money and all the success, the show would sort of end, he said.
Still, Berg said they get pitched plot arc ideas about the lives of Silicon Valley’s rich and famous all the time by tech bigshots. A lot of people think their lives are super compelling, Berg said. But your life as a rich VC guy worth $10 billion is probably going to be boring to watch, he explained.
The creators didn’t address whether they were rooting for a downturn in the Silicon Valley financial climate. But Judge did say they were running out of obstacles to throw in the characters’ paths.
Silicon Valley’s loss might be the show’s gain.
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