So it turns out that Monica’s misgivings about Pied Piper were right on the money. The product’s awesome, provided you’re a savant engineer. For the rest of us, though, Pied Piper is a muddled mess. This tension plays out in this week’s SILICON VALLEY, a very fun and eventful episode which pays off a couple of things that have been building for some time.
For all of Richard’s genius, he didn’t bother getting feedback from the masses, “Daily Active Users,” as the episode is aptly titled. Team Pied Piper hosts a focus group and gets feedback. The product is just too ahead of its time, it seems, and no one gets it. Stubborn Richard uses this opportunity to teach his focus group about using his brainchild. He starts out with atomic analogies, but eventually dumbs it down so that they (and us, really) get it too. Soon, these reluctant users blossom into empowered users, stoked about the platform.
Unfortunately for team Pied Piper, they can’t exactly go door to door teaching everyone about the intricacies of their platform. Or can they? Rather than abandoning ship (actually Erlich runs with a plane metaphor), the team pumps the remainder of their dwindling funds into demystifying Pied Piper. They develop “Pipey,” an animated character that helps users get their feet wet.
Meanwhile at Hooli, that same overzealous Head of Security, catches wind of Richard’s struggles, and reports to Gavin. (This on the money security dude’s name is Hoover, by the way, and he’s cleaned up more messes than any vacuum I’ve ever owned.) When Pied Piper’s newest employees defect, Gavin swoops one up and gains intel. He then brings that information to the board, and is able to get his job as CEO back, with a cushy bonus. Behind curtain number one, Gavin also reveals Jack Barker, new Head of Hooli-Endframe Product. That mysterious meeting on the tarmac has paid off.
Despite Richard’s efforts to explain Pied Piper, nothing seems to be working. Richard takes a moment alone, and looks as disillusioned as we’ve ever seen him. Hope, though, comes in the form of Jared, who reveals that all of a sudden Pied Piper’s daily active user numbers have shot up. But wait, a reversal: We cut to the other side of the world where Jared orders more users for a click farm operation in Bangladesh.
Season 3, Episode 9 (S03E09)
Silicon Valley airs Sunday at 10PM on HBO
Ade Adeniji | Contributor