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ElectricBoogaloo

S05.E07: Initial Coin Offering

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Wow. They sure packed a lot of plot changes and activities into this one episode. I figured the China angle would come back to bite Pied Piper sooner rather than later, but Laurie's sudden partnership bodes ill for them. Nice to see Monica joining up as ICO business manager; hope they reach and exceed that $68 valuation quickly, they're going to need it.

Some character issues caught my eye.  As obnoxious as he had become, Erlich's departure has left a gaping hole in the group. Dinesh can only be given so many unpleasant and always unsuccessful  roles to play in each episode (no Plaid mode for you). Jared, who was obviously traumatized in childhood (cigarette burns?) is becoming rather bizarre. Why his obvious contempt for Richard's new sandwich maker? Did he really need to chase him down and traumatize him further?

Gavin continues to sink ever further into his own special brand of sociopathy with each new employee-busting business decision and its unintended consequences.

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I'm sure in next week's finale PiperCoin will miraculously reach the necessary $68 valuation just in the nick of time, regardless of how impulsive and risky that decision was. *sigh*

Russ Hannemann losing the thumb-drive with his one successful cryptocurrency would have been funnier if I hadn't seen a similar plot on Big Bang Theory last year.

If Monica was an equal partner in Bream Hall, how does she just walk away from that? 

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3 hours ago, Should Be Working said:

Why his obvious contempt for Richard's new sandwich maker?

I think it's less contempt and more jealousy because he's used to doing almost everything for Richard. He doesn't like the idea of being so easily replaced, task-wise or in Richard's affections.

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6 hours ago, Should Be Working said:

Gavin continues to sink ever further into his own special brand of sociopathy with each new employee-busting business decision and its unintended consequences.

I love the fact that the destruction of Gavin's new North Carolina factory was basically caused by his demands on the mayor that reduced local support services.  Because Gavin getting screwed over is always awesome.  Add in the fact that Gavin wants the signature on Box 3.0 to be bigger -- because he still doesn't see what his signature looks like.
And the IRS is on his case because of his humble-brag about his "offshore" primary residence in Bermuda.

Dinesh's Tesla obsession was getting to be a little much.

Watching Bighead try and cheat on that Rubik's cube was so subtle during his conversation with Dinesh.

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8 hours ago, Should Be Working said:

Wow. They sure packed a lot of plot changes and activities into this one episode. I figured the China angle would come back to bite Pied Piper sooner rather than later, but Laurie's sudden partnership bodes ill for them. Nice to see Monica joining up as ICO business manager; hope they reach and exceed that $68 valuation quickly, they're going to need it.

Some character issues caught my eye.  As obnoxious as he had become, Erlich's departure has left a gaping hole in the group. Dinesh can only be given so many unpleasant and always unsuccessful  roles to play in each episode (no Plaid mode for you). Jared, who was obviously traumatized in childhood (cigarette burns?) is becoming rather bizarre. Why his obvious contempt for Richard's new sandwich maker? Did he really need to chase him down and traumatize him further?

Gavin continues to sink ever further into his own special brand of sociopathy with each new employee-busting business decision and its unintended consequences.

 

1 hour ago, ottoDbusdriver said:

I love the fact that the destruction of Gavin's new North Carolina factory was basically caused by his demands on the mayor that reduced local support services.  Because Gavin getting screwed over is always awesome.  Add in the fact that Gavin wants the signature on Box 3.0 to be bigger -- because he still doesn't see what his signature looks like.
And the IRS is on his case because of his humble-brag about his "offshore" primary residence in Bermuda.

Dinesh's Tesla obsession was getting to be a little much.

Watching Bighead try and cheat on that Rubik's cube was so subtle during his conversation with Dinesh.

Did Tesla fund this season? I am so effing sick of Dinesh and his Tesla obsession. The actor who plays Dinesh was good in a movie he wrote called "The Big Sick" and I hate that he is just the stupid butt monkey of this show.  "Being the Tesla guy" does seem like something Erlich would do, but I would hate for the show to beg him to come back after the way he left.

I too am wondering how Monica can just quit a partnership? Wouldn't she have to cash in her shares? It was alarming how little chemistry this cast has now. When they were at the dinner that Monica paid for and then left to play video games, they seemed like a less charismatic version of The Big Bang Theory actors and I never watch that show. I hope they are not going for a Richard/Monica romance because again what little chemistry they had is gone and Richard is not a good boyfriend. I will be happy to see more of Monica in future episodes.

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9 hours ago, chocolatine said:

Russ Hannemann losing the thumb-drive with his one successful cryptocurrency would have been funnier if I hadn't seen a similar plot on Big Bang Theory last year.

First thing that came to mind.  You have a thumb drive with millions (billions) in bitcoin.  And you've never heard of a safe deposit box?

And yep - plot line straight from Big Bang Theory.  The fact that two different shows have the same plot arc involving bitcoin makes me wonder if there wasn't a news story out there that I glossed over about someone who misplaced their thumbdrive with millions on it.  

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1 hour ago, Carolina Girl said:

First thing that came to mind.  You have a thumb drive with millions (billions) in bitcoin.  And you've never heard of a safe deposit box?

And yep - plot line straight from Big Bang Theory.  The fact that two different shows have the same plot arc involving bitcoin makes me wonder if there wasn't a news story out there that I glossed over about someone who misplaced their thumbdrive with millions on it.  

I found a few different stories, but I'm not sure if they're all referring to the same person:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/man-lost-127-million-worth-of-bitcoins-and-city-wont-let-him-look.html

3 hours ago, qtpye said:

Did Tesla fund this season?

Not Silicon Valley, but I used to live in Seattle and Teslas became a big deal over the years I lived there. People didn't use to use cars to show off their tech money, but Teslas made that sort of thing more socially acceptable. 

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5 hours ago, MaryWebGirl said:

I found a few different stories, but I'm not sure if they're all referring to the same person:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/man-lost-127-million-worth-of-bitcoins-and-city-wont-let-him-look.html

Not Silicon Valley, but I used to live in Seattle and Teslas became a big deal over the years I lived there. People didn't use to use cars to show off their tech money, but Teslas made that sort of thing more socially acceptable. 

I lived in Seattle and I used to love the way that people did not really flaunt their money like in other cities and this Tesla arc kind of makes me hate Teslas

Edited by qtpye
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I knew the cryptocurrency thing would be a disaster the second Gilfoyle came up with it.  It's like he's pinning the company's future on a vague hope that a made up asset would magically become valuable.  I was spending the whole season wondering how Richard would destroy the latest iteration of Pied Piper through his mismanagement.

 

What exactly was Richard's plan to monetize his "New Internet"?  What is this anyway?  Just a weird way to replace servers and routers with "things that have storage and an IP address"?

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1 hour ago, MaryWebGirl said:

Not Silicon Valley, but I used to live in Seattle and Teslas became a big deal over the years I lived there. People didn't use to use cars to show off their tech money, but Teslas made that sort of thing more socially acceptable. 

 

1 hour ago, qtpye said:

I lived in Seattle and I used to love the way that people did not really flaunt their money like in other cities and this Tesla ace kind of makes me hate Teslas

I also used to live in Seattle, and I remember when the Tesla showroom opened right next to the Amazon offices, but I don't remember seeing many people driving Teslas. Like @qtpye said, Seattleites aren't usually flashy with their money. SV is a different story though; lots of people driving Teslas there.

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I had a hard time trying to get a grasp on the timeline for the two major stories (the California-based main story and Gavin's North Carolina subplot.) Clearly the events in Gavin's story would've taken several months to transpire, and while I suppose the main storyline could've taken that long, it seemed to be much more compressed. But I supposed they could've happened over several months as well.

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3 hours ago, MaryWebGirl said:

I found a few different stories, but I'm not sure if they're all referring to the same person:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/20/man-lost-127-million-worth-of-bitcoins-and-city-wont-let-him-look.html

Not Silicon Valley, but I used to live in Seattle and Teslas became a big deal over the years I lived there. People didn't use to use cars to show off their tech money, but Teslas made that sort of thing more socially acceptable. 

Well I live in actual Silicon Valley and tech people have always used cars to show off their tech money.  Because most of them are engineers.  Teslas are just the latest car to use.

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2 hours ago, meep.meep said:

Well I live in actual Silicon Valley and tech people have always used cars to show off their tech money.  Because most of them are engineers.  Teslas are just the latest car to use.

What us former Seattleites are saying is that showing off money is specific to Silicon Valley tech people, not tech people in general. Between Amazon, Microsoft, and many successful startups, there are tons of rich tech people in the Seattle area, but you wouldn't know it by looking at them or the cars they drive.

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I drive the freeways and major surface streets of Silicon Valley every week day for my commute. There are about twice as many cars on the roads between 6am and 10am and between 2am and 7pm as there were ten years ago, when commute times were quite a bit shorter and roads not quite as congested. Yes, one sees a fair number of relatively expensive cars on the road. I'd estimate that near-luxury or full-luxury vehicles (those priced over $60K) comprise about 15 to 20 percent of the current commute traffic.

When Apple built its pricey new spaceship campus in east Cupertino, there were promises of substantial infrastructure work to adjacent surface streets and the 280 freeway (road widening, a new dedicated on/offramp on 280) to support the 12,000 new employees there. The new campus has been open and occupied for over six months, yet none of these improvements have yet been started, much less completed, and the resulting traffic congestion just further clogs all nearby roads even more. 

While it's nice to have a Tesla that can go from 0 to 60 in three seconds or less or a high performance Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc., you're still creeping along at zero to 5 mph with the majority who drive battered Fords, Toyotas, and Mazdas for most of your daily to and from commute. The very small group that drives really exotic European cars (Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc.) are mostly CEOs, VC partners, and other tech industry elites.

Thanks to continuing capital flight infusions from Chinese and south Asian buyers, local home prices continue to skyrocket. Two million usually gets you a plain 1200 square foot bungalow on a very small lot. Most buyers are not tearing them down and replacing them with mini-mansions built to the fence lines.

So perhaps nice cars simply serve as a relatively inexpensive way to publicly announce your wealth (ha) when your tacky little suburban abode is costing you well over 6 or 7 grand a month.

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Good first-hand observations, SBW - thank you.  (and trying to stay on Topic here ..)  it's fun, as another SV native, to see bits of actual dowtown Palo Alto (or I think it's P.A.) on the show.   It was a nice little "college town" once.

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The part where Monica asks Richard why he thought they were friends was really poignant to me. "Do you even know if I live in an apartment or a house?" I think this happens a lot in real life, where you may think you're friends with someone but actually it turns out you're just friendly with each other.

Edited by niklj
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On 5/7/2018 at 6:16 AM, chocolatine said:

Russ Hannemann losing the thumb-drive with his one successful cryptocurrency would have been funnier if I hadn't seen a similar plot on Big Bang Theory last year.

Hannemann is so over the top that it was way more hilarious than the Big Bang episode. I didn't mind the similarity, the episodes have probably been written around the same time.

Finally Monica is a proper part of PP. They need 'new' blood, she knows her sh*t and I would love for her to become a competent counterpart to Dinesh and Gilfoyle - their characters have become a bit stale in this season. If they wanna go klischee and have a romantic plot with her and Richard I am not totally opposed, as long as the show keeps its vibe (unlike Big Bang).

Again so many nuggets of reality in the Gavin story. They don't want to produce in the US and if the do, their demands are irrational. His speech was very entertaining when he phrased it so that any failure would be on politics not Hooli.

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6 hours ago, Aulty said:

Hannemann is so over the top that it was way more hilarious than the Big Bang episode. I didn't mind the similarity, the episodes have probably been written around the same time.

 

Yes, Russ searching for the thumb drive and one of his guys finding an actaul thumb cracked me up

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Obviously I may be proven wrong in the finale, but my guess is still that Gavin will be allied with PP by season's end. I think the horrible signature, lack of Box manufacturing, and his vendetta against the Chinese will all come into play. On PP's side, they will need his funding.

Most SV seasons also end with a deus ex machina of some sort - so my other guess is that this year's will be a literal "machina," as somehow Fiona returns, if only digitally, due to her friendship with Jared and Richard. 

Loved seeing Monica finally join the PP team, although that also happened at the end of season 3 and didn't wind up sticking.

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On 5/7/2018 at 6:48 PM, Should Be Working said:

I drive the freeways and major surface streets of Silicon Valley every week day for my commute. There are about twice as many cars on the roads between 6am and 10am and between 2am and 7pm as there were ten years ago, when commute times were quite a bit shorter and roads not quite as congested. Yes, one sees a fair number of relatively expensive cars on the road. I'd estimate that near-luxury or full-luxury vehicles (those priced over $60K) comprise about 15 to 20 percent of the current commute traffic.

When Apple built its pricey new spaceship campus in east Cupertino, there were promises of substantial infrastructure work to adjacent surface streets and the 280 freeway (road widening, a new dedicated on/offramp on 280) to support the 12,000 new employees there. The new campus has been open and occupied for over six months, yet none of these improvements have yet been started, much less completed, and the resulting traffic congestion just further clogs all nearby roads even more. 

While it's nice to have a Tesla that can go from 0 to 60 in three seconds or less or a high performance Lexus, BMW, Mercedes, etc., you're still creeping along at zero to 5 mph with the majority who drive battered Fords, Toyotas, and Mazdas for most of your daily to and from commute. The very small group that drives really exotic European cars (Bugattis, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, etc.) are mostly CEOs, VC partners, and other tech industry elites.

Thanks to continuing capital flight infusions from Chinese and south Asian buyers, local home prices continue to skyrocket. Two million usually gets you a plain 1200 square foot bungalow on a very small lot. Most buyers are not tearing them down and replacing them with mini-mansions built to the fence lines.

So perhaps nice cars simply serve as a relatively inexpensive way to publicly announce your wealth (ha) when your tacky little suburban abode is costing you well over 6 or 7 grand a month.

Thank you for this insightful post. I wish you were writing for the show.

On 5/7/2018 at 10:25 PM, niklj said:

The part where Monica asks Richard why he thought they were friends was really poignant to me. "Do you even know if I live in an apartment or a house?" I think this happens a lot in real life, where you may think you're friends with someone but actually it turns out you're just friendly with each other.

I loved this.  It shows how underused the Monica character is on the show and it also kinda of illustrates how self-centered Richard can be.  He is a CEO and does not have a lot of free time, but really the only nonwork friend he has right now is Big Head.

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Glad that Monica is back with the guys, she could bring a different kind of energy to the group. As much as I was pretty sick of Erlich and his shenanigans by the end of his time with the show, we need more members of the ensemble. 

I always love watching Gavin getting screwed over due to his own dickishness. As smart as Gavin is, he lacks any kind of self awareness, and his people skills are absolutely awful. He probably still sees no connection between his sociopathic behavior in China and how that screwed him over, and his sociopathic behavior in North Carolina, and how that screwed him over again. I admit that I got some chuckles out of the increasing budget cuts ruining Gavins factory. Karma truly is a bitch Gavin. 

I am increasingly sure that Gavin will end up having to team up with PP against Laurie and the Chinese business. They need money, and he needs pattens for their new internet. 

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On 5/7/2018 at 12:16 AM, chocolatine said:

Russ Hannemann losing the thumb-drive with his one successful cryptocurrency would have been funnier if I hadn't seen a similar plot on Big Bang Theory last year.

That's probably because it's based on a true story (there might be more than one actually): https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/nov/27/hard-drive-bitcoin-landfill-site

On 5/7/2018 at 10:25 PM, niklj said:

The part where Monica asks Richard why he thought they were friends was really poignant to me. "Do you even know if I live in an apartment or a house?" I think this happens a lot in real life, where you may think you're friends with someone but actually it turns out you're just friendly with each other.

 

This is like all my friendships :( Silicon Valley may be a bit of an inconsistent show, but a lot of times they encapsulate certain concepts perfectly and I think that aspect of the show is underrated (as another example Richard is one of the most accurate depictions of generalized anxiety disorder I've seen on TV).

I think Dinesh has outlived his usefulness on the show (no offense to the actor, it's more a problem of the writing). Unfortunately I think they Flanderized his character so much from the beginning that there's no room for growth or development.

I kind of wished they found some way to mention the opiate/meth epidemic in the Gavin goes to North Carolina plot, to drive home even more how divorced from reality the 1% is. I liked the bit where the mayor says he lived in the same town his whole life and Gavin is disturbed by that. I felt like it was poking fun at the audience too. Most of the tech people I know have lived in one big city or another their entire lives and have no concept of the working class lifestyle or of living in a small town.

Edited by BuyMoreAndSave
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 I'm definitely disappointed in how little use the show seems to be making now of both Monica and Laurie, so I'm hoping that Monica's joining Pied Piper will mean she's around more. Also Dinesh: I always liked the character and his relationship with Gilfoyle. It's odd, because the show has given Kumail Nanjiani a real-life launch pad into a much more successful career...so why can't they write more interesting stuff for him?

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I appreciated the quick cut from Monica joining Pied Piper to the $0.07 trading screen. It's like when the team agreed to the skunkworks project and Jack Barker found out about it in the same episode. They set up a potentially episodes-long arc, then deflate it right away. It's funny!

Gavin is hilarious, but I wish he had more sides to him. Erlich was actually a rich character in comparison--former coder, Valley-savvy, quick on the uptake when Gavin accidentally valued the company and boxed in Monica, full of himself and proud of his crappy house.

I do hope that more Monica leads to more interesting episodes, but I'm still waiting for some more tension to build.

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