Five Things Silicon Valley Can Teach Us All

Some of you are reading this and your first thought is that we're referring to “Thee Silicon Valley”, “The Bay Area”, the “Tech Mecca of the World” in the title of this blog post. We are actually referring to the new hit comedy that has recently aired on HBO, which could in fact be argued as something much greater than Silicon Valley, itself. We hope you pick up on sarcasm. Now that we’ve cleared that up though - we’ll move on.

SPOILER ALERT: If you read any further and haven’t seen the show - chances are you’re going to become privy to knowledge you may or may not have wanted to know right yet. Some serious brain food. Stuff that will blow your mind.

First thing’s first. Everyone needs an Erlich Bachmann… Okay. Okay. Maybe everyone doesn’t need someone exactly like Erlich Bachmann, but everyone needs someone that’s willing to do anything for the company. In the case of Erlich Bachmann, it could be argued that his “stepping up to the plate” is purely ego driven, but throughout the series you gain a sense of understanding that he truly does care about Pied Piper and the people he works for (especially Richard).

Second thing - there’s no such thing as friendly money (probably should’ve been first, but lets be honest - Erlich Bachmann is too funny not to take the spotlight, even if it’s on a blog). As it relates to Silicon Valley (the Tech Mecca, not the show), people get carried away with the fact that they will be able to find “the right investor(s)”. The truth is - there are strings attached no matter who you take money from and any investor wants to see their money back (and more). In the first episode, Richard Hendriks is caught between a rock and a hard place trying to decide whose money he should take. He has very serious offers on the table from both Peter Gregory, Investor, (played by Christopher Evan Welch - blessings to his friends & family and may he rest in peace) and Gavin Belson (CEO of Hooli). Belson offers him $10m for the entire business/product and Gregory offers $200k for 5% of the company and the opportunity to learn from him as well as help in growing the business. At the end of the day - Hendriks took Gregory’s offer, ultimately believing in Peter Gregory's pitch to him, and things didn’t necessarily work out as they were messaged and expected to.

Third thing - Don’t hire a graffiti artist to do your logo. We’ll leave it at that.

Fourth thing - SCRUM. Use SCRUM and set up a SCRUM board. The episode where Jared Dunn sets up a SCRUM board and encourages the team to begin using SCRUM as a product management tool was pretty funny, but it had a lot to teach people. If you have visibility into what you’re supposed to be working on - productivity will shoot through the roof. As comical as it was to watch Gilfoyle and Dinesh compete with one another, the truth is - you become more diligent about what you’re working on if there aren’t the distractions of every other task weighing you down. We’ve done it both ways. We’ve tried a plethora of different product management software applications and SCRUM is without a doubt the best. It is in your face every day and there’s no pressing the little “X” in the corner of your window, “COMMAND-W”, or “SHUT DOWN”. Every day we walk in our office - it stares at us… and we stare back.

Fifth thing - always be open to change and be ready for it. In the season finale of Silicon Valley, the Pied Piper team watches Gavin Belson, from Hooli, (also the guy who tried to buy Pied Piper for $10m) present Hooli’s latest product - which is a direct rip-off of Pied Piper. Everyone on the Pied Piper team wants to call it quits and they quickly get derailed by a conversation related to “jobs” that have absolutely nothing to do with the product. Jared knows something needs to change, but his idea of pivoting ends up being a cluster in the state of mind he’s in. Richard, on the other hand, comes up with an idea of how to change everything and make the product better. In fact - he scraps it all and starts from scratch again. What we can learn from this isn’t that we should necessarily get rid of everything we’ve already built, but it is that we all need to take a step back every once in a while, look at things with fresh eyes and make it happen.

Bonus item - Erlich’s beard. There’s a lot to learn from that.

PS: is it just us, or does it seem to change shape and tilt differently, left or right, every week?

We hope you enjoyed the post. Thank you for all of your continuous support!

-- Weckey Team

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Mitch Williams