If you have been an avid follower of our blog, you know that we at Seamgen love our startups. Since we love our startups so much, one of our favorite shows as a company is HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley.

The comedy show pulls in all the fantastic pros and dreadful cons that comes with starting your own company in the technology industry. If you also watch the show, you know that it is a satirical take on what it is really like to build a startup in the competitive culture of Silicon Valley, but how close does it really get to representing present-day Silicon Valley?

The Culture of Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley is the nickname for the southern area in the San Francisco Bay from San Jose to Palo Alto. Originally it started as place for manufacturing hardware for the computer industry, but has since then became the international hub for the high-tech industry.

silicon valley map

As more and more high-tech companies began to set up shop, a common culture started to develop in the area. The HBO show tries to make fun of this culture as much as possible from the typical software engineer to the thirsty driven startups.

A huge part to Silicon Valley culture is the healthy lifestyle, and the show made fun of this in a variety of ways. It can be seen when they poke fun at a character for smoking a cigarette or from always shopping at a store like Whole Foods.

Another big aspect of representing real life Silicon Valley is the elaborate workplace of Hooli. As pictured below, the creators of the show wanted to get as close to accurate when creating the workplace of the infamous Hooli by replicating it exactly from the Google headquarters.

TV Show Characters Real Life Counterparts

The culture wasn’t the only thing that the show’s creators wanted to imitate. Many of the show’s characters are loosely based on some of Silicon Valley’s biggest stars. While there many similarities for all of the characters to relate to real life, two of the show’s characters stand out the most.

The most notable imitation comes from the first season as they portray renowned venture capitalist and co-founder of PayPal Peter Thiel as Peter Gregory.

peter thiel

Peter Thiel is known for being one of the best VCs in the Silicon Valley landscape as he is highly intelligent and analytical. He is also known for lacking the social skills to dealing with everyday human beings. The character of Peter Gregory accurately portrays this dynamic to its core showing the struggle between the high intelligence and lacking social skills.

Another character seen throughout the show to have a real life counterpart is Russell Hanemann. The creators wanted this crazy billionaire investor to replicate the real life Mark Cuban.

mark cuban

Both billionaires made their money by selling internet radio startups to major companies. Since then, Mark Cuban has been trying to sell shirts with three commas displayed on it while the show’s character Russell sells a tequila brand called also “three commas.” It is safe to say the show’s creators wanted to make this accurate distinction to draw parallels to the real world.

The Ups and Downs of Startup Life

The show’s biggest success in relating it to the real life Silicon Valley comes with its accurate portrayal of the life cycle of a startup. It showcases the hardships and failures that every startup similarly goes through. While the show adds a comedic flare to the startup drama, many startups today go through the same successes and failures.

It demonstrates that it isn’t easy starting from nothing, but it also shows that it is entirely possible for a group of guys working out of a living room to truly to create something brilliant to change the world.

Thanks for Reading!

There are many more similarities to be mentioned but I hope you enjoyed this article on HBO’s show Silicon Valley. We have several more where that came from. Check out a few of our other, recent posts below.

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