We're recapping "Silicon Valley" now because it's the best satire of tech and venture capital around, so let's all take a moment to breathe that in...
Then let's do this.
The premiere of Season 3 seems to indicate that we'll be dealing with a "Wandering founder" narrative this year. After all, the story of a founder being stripped of his CEO credentials by rapacious money people only to reclaim his throne years later and build a massive company is basically what Joseph Campbell would have come up with if he'd lived in modern-day Palo Alto.
At the end of last season, Pied Piper founder/CEO Richard Hendricks had wrested full control of his startup from the legal clutches of his former employer, Hooli ("not Google") and it's quasi-evil CEO, Gavin Belson. Unfortunately, in the confusion, Richard has lost control of his own company to his own VC firm, Raviga Capital.
After being told the news, Richard flips out and calls and emergency late night meeting with Raviga, his partner Erlich Bachman, and his bro-tastic corporate counsel, Ron LaFlamme. On the way to the meeting, his car hits a robotic deer being tested by Stanford robotic nerds and Erlich physically attacks it... because "Silicon Valley" is a great show.
When Richard finally arrives at Raviga Capital - the totally realistic tech venture firm run entirely by women - he is forced to hear what Steve Jobs, Jack Dorsey and Elon Musk must have heard in the early days of their careers. “Essentially, you’ve created a company too valuable for you to run,” says annoyingly spectrum-riding Raviga CEO Laurie Bream. Richard is then offered the title of CTO, sending him into a maelstrom of geek rage.
Richard storms from the office and back to his home/startup incubator/office. In the morning he pleads his case to the other Raviga character, Monica. In Richard's angry rant to Monica, "Silicon Valley" makes it clear that it has a new writer this season. While defending his leadership skills, Richard admits that he's f@cked up, but that he's committed to learning and getting better, concluding "I'll even go to one of those CEO coaches like that guy at fucking Twitter."
That could be newly-hired "Silicon Valley" writer Dick Costolo taking a shot at his old tormentor, Jack Dorsey. Jack was known to have been coached up by famed CEO coach Bill Campbell in the early days of Twitter.
But Richard's pleas fail to gain any traction and he continues on with his founder's tantrum. Raviga offers Richard chance to pick new CEO which he snottily rejects, leading to the second possible Bill Campbell reference when Raviga hires "Action" Jack Barker to run Pied Piper. Barker is a middle-aged Unicorn shepherd with a sterling resume and some huge IPOs. His hiring only serves to worsen Richard's tailspin.
In anger, Richard takes an interview to be CTO of Flutterbeam, a Snapchat-esque outfit led by a pair of Evan Spiegel types who say things like "We raised a shit-ton of money and we're growing fast as balls but we're not exactly super psyched with the quality of our engineering." And they need a major talent infusion because they're working on a super-dope, yet buggy, chat filter that lets users wear fake mustaches.
Richard becomes immediately despondent with the notion of "Stache-Mode Alpha" and helping these bros shorten their "Stache-lag" in time for Movember.
In the end, he drives out to "Action" Jack's ranch where he is disarmed by the veteran executives basic humanity and efficacy. The unraveling of his un-matured ego has begun.
- When Gavin Belson “bravely” fires the entire "Nucleus" division instead of himself, Hooli stock surges and Valley types call it “The gutsiest thing” that they've ever seen.
- Belson gets carried away and decides to fire 1 in 4 employees, even paying out a $20 million severance to Richard's erstwhile buddy, "Big Head."
- There is no sign of Russ Hanneman, the insane yet eerily realistic billionaire played beautifully in Season 2 by Chris Diamantopoulos. But we will not abandon hope.