Although HBO's comedy series “Silicon Valley” is a parody of the hi-tech hotspot, startups and entrepreneurs can actually learn from the show's absurd and frantic storylines. Here are some lessons from the hit TV series. (Beware, spoilers ahead!)
1. Don't let anyone stand in the way of your dream.
When the Pied Piper startup team is about to give up and give in to their new CEO's terrible business strategy, the incubator house owner Erlich Bachman points out that “when George Washington founded a little startup we've come to know as these United States of America, and he was tired of getting [crap] from his CEO, the King of England, he didn't just roll over and take it."
If someone or something is getting in your way, remember your original goals and values and hold onto them for dear life. Gather up your teammates and stick together, ask for help from your outside resources, but don't ever give up when you've come such a long way.
2. Teamwork is magical.
In the season 2 finale, Pied Piper's video streaming platform unexpectedly starts to broadcast a real-life drama that goes viral, and programmer Gilfoyle's homemade servers can barely keep up. The team scrambles to keep things going — even when it all seems to be falling apart. Initially, Erlich resists joining the team to help, but he eventually jumps in. Together their ingenuity and scrappiness prevails. As Jared points out, “...look at us, doing this. It's intoxicating! Don't act like it's not magical. It is!"
You may have already experienced such euphoric moments with your team. To make sure that energy and spirit will always be there when times get tough, keep everyone on your team happy with casual hangouts, fun group activities and trips, flexible work hours and special perks.
3. There is always another way.
Essentially, this is the underlying theme for every misadventure in the show. What starts out as a cringe-worthy, hopeless disaster almost always transforms into a golden opportunity for the eccentric Pied Piper members to display their creative and technical prowess and save the day. Like when Gilfoyle builds servers (lovingly named “Anton") in the garage in less than a week due to limited funding. Or when Erlich and Richard blackmail their ferret-owning neighbor from reporting on their running of a startup in an area not zoned for business.
Thinking creatively is an integral part of running a successful startup. When challenges arise, you and your team will need to crank up the creative wattage. A certain solution may initially seem impossible—but that just might be the answer you're looking for.
4. Don't neglect your health.
Richard is one stressed out dude. The highs and lows of running a startup are causing him to randomly vomit and have night sweats, which his comically inappropriate doctor insists can lead to bed-wetting.
Although time is a slippery commodity in the entrepreneurial world, it's important to find a way to maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly (try a fitness app) and get a decent amount of sleep for the sake of sanity. Some quiet time or meditation each day can also help clear the mind and make way for more brilliant ideas. Holding regular exercise/meditation/yoga classes for your whole team is great for support and accountability of everyone's fitness goals.
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