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Real-Life Silicon Valley is Too Weird for the Show

By Angela Chen on at

Everyone who lives in California's actual Silicon Valley and who also watches the show of the same name has said it’s creepily accurate. Turns out, the truth is stranger than fiction and writers have discarded real-life events as plot points to make the show seem more plausible.

In the arms race of television shows becoming increasingly realistic, Silicon Valley might be winning, writes Andrew Marantz for the New Yorker. It’s brought on former Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo to consult (including answering questions like “where would the most powerful person in a boardroom sit?”), asked Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz whether a fictional company would actually be fundable (“unknown”), partied with Peter Thiel (“not nearly as awkward in person”), and taken research trips to northern California.

Research aside, sometimes real-life Silicon Valley is too uncomfortable for the satire. Case in point is a first-season montage was inspired by a TechCrunch Disrupt event where founders pitch their ideas to investors. Then:

After the scene aired, viewers complained about the lack of diversity in the audience. Berg recalled, “A friend of mine who works in tech called me and said, ‘Why aren’t there any women? That’s bullshit!’ I said to her, ‘It is bullshit! Unfortunately, we shot that audience footage at the actual TechCrunch Disrupt.’”

And sometimes real-life Silicon Valley is just too weird. Writer Carrie Kemper recounts a meeting with GoogleX head Astro Teller:

Teller ended the meeting by standing up in a huff, but his attempt at a dramatic exit was marred by the fact that he was wearing Rollerblades. He wobbled to the door in silence. “Then there was this awkward moment of him fumbling with his I.D. badge, trying to get the door to open,” Kemper said. “It felt like it lasted an hour. We were all trying not to laugh. Even while it was happening, I knew we were all thinking the same thing: Can we use this?” In the end, the joke was deemed “too hacky to use on the show.”

Cutting the joke was probably a good move. [New Yorker]