SILICON VALLEY Review: “To Build A Better Beta”


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Airtime: Sundays at 10PM on HBO
Episode: Season 3, Episode 7 (S03E07)


Tweetable Takeaway: Richard & Co. launch a beta version of the Pied Piper platform on #SiliconValley

Richard is once again captain of the Pied Piper ship, meaning his usual anxiety and perfectionism is back front and center. Richard decides to launch a beta of the Pied Piper platform, to work out all the kinks. Each member of the team gets a handful of beta codes for this limited release. One thing that’s really sharp about is that they make the tech jargon accessible. I’m still none the wiser on what the Pied Piper platform does precisely, but that’s okay. Instead, “To Build A Better Beta” focuses on the simple question of whether the public likes the product or not.

There are a couple of subplots that kick off when the beta is sent out. Dinesh worries if he has enough friends to release his beta codes to. Monica also gets a beta code, but isn’t really impressed by what Richard and the guys came up with. Actually, it’s worse than that: She doesn’t like the product at all. Meanwhile, Erlich and Big Head continue to deal with the fact that they’re broke. Actually, to be more precise, in last week’s episode it looked like all the financial consequences would be placed squarely on Big Head’s small shoulders. This week, their financial adviser explains that Erlich is on the hook, too. Uh oh.


To Richard’s surprise, the feedback for the beta is strong. Almost everyone seems to love the product, including Gavin and Hooli, who gain access to the beta too thanks to the overzealous head of security. Gavin is impressed but also pissed off that his team couldn’t construct such a platform.

Remember how I said a lot of this episode’s tech jargon is simplified? That’s true. But the episode also finds clever ways to show how smart team Pied Piper is. Using the platform’s “God Mode” they’re able to find out what computers are using their beta and where. This comes into play with Monica, who hides her opinion of the beta from Richard and claims she hasn’t even used it yet. Richard tracks down Monica to a hookah bar for a confrontation. Here the episode kind of struggles. The reasons Monica gives for not liking the beta seem unconvincing, as does her plea for Richard to go forward anyway. Almost everyone likes the beta. That seems like reason enough to go forward.


“God Mode” also allows our team to cut off the scheming guys at Hooli. Gilfoyle nukes the offending devices, forcing a dramatic Gavin to cut power in the entire headquarters. As for Erlich, he’s unable to easily weasel his way out of his latest dilemma and is forced to sell his shares of Pied Piper to cover his debts. A big moment, even bigger because at the end of this episode, Richard and Co. officially launch Pied Piper.



Ade Adeniji writes about the philanthropy of billionaires and millionaires by day, and writes screenplays by night.
Twitter: @derekadeniji 

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Ade Adeniji | Contributor


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