You know a reality TV show is hitting too close to home when its subjects are griping about it — and it doesn’t even air until winter. Bravo’s new show Silicon Valley follows several startup companies that have recently landed venture-capital funding as they try to ramp their businesses.
Why are many Silicon Valley startup owners worried? First, because social-media insider Randi Zuckerberg — yes, sister of Facebook’s own Mark Zuckerberg — is a producer on the show. What does she know? Who might she make look arrogant or clueless? We’ll have to wait and see.
Beyond that, entrepreneurs have been squawking that the show trivializes their efforts to create amazing companies that change the world — like, well, Facebook. Except most of their companies aren’t going to turn out anything like that.
Also — what did you expect? It is TV.
It’s no surprise that Bravo has chosen to focus on some of the silliest and vaguest business concepts — one brother-sister duo are creating a “fitness app,” as if that hasn’t been done before. And also a good many vapid, self-centered and outrageous entrepreneurs turned up for the casting call. It’s like they injected show business into Bloomberg’s gritty Techstars show. Expect a heavy focus on flashback-to-dotcom-era excess, as with that duo’s $17,000-a-month rental home, which has its own Twitter feed and a rooftop pool.
In the biz, they call that “making good TV.” Who takes it seriously? Apparently the answer is. . . startup owners in Silicon Valley.
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It’s pretty funny for me to see entrepreneurs get offended by this show. After all, do you see actual New Jersey housewives mounting a protest that they’re not really like that? Not that I’ve heard. Most folks know TV is not real life — even “reality TV.”
What’s behind the reaction here? I’m thinking there are three things about Silicon Valley that possibly hit too close to home: