Bill Gates finds HBO's depiction of Silicon Valley in its fictional series "Silicon Valley" to be fairly accurate, he said in his blog Monday. "If you really want to understand how Silicon Valley works today, you should watch the HBO series 'Silicon Valley.' "
"The accuracy is well-earned," said Gates. The show's producers and writers do research to accurately capture Silicon Valley, including interviewing tech veterans like Gates, where they can "kick around some of their ideas," he said.
Gates identifies most with the "Pied Piper" founder and central character, Richard Hendricks, portrayed by Thomas Middleditch. Hendricks is a well-intentioned developer who struggles with learning how to manage people in his company.
The real Silicon Valley is wrought with egos and weak regulations, but is also ripe with world-class talent and creativity. Capturing all sides of technology's motherboard can be hard, but for at least one television show, it's certainly possible.
HBO's show centers on a group of developers, born from a San Francisco "incubator" struggling to maintain their company's oversight, leadership and most importantly, funds and investments.
Gates acknowledged that some of his fellow Silicon Valley friends have reservations about watching the show because they are sensitive to the fact that the show is making fun of them. The Microsoft co-founder refutes their fears by saying, "they don't make any more fun of us than we deserve."
The Microsoft co-founder's light-hearted approach to appropriate levels of criticisms sheds light on the true nature of Silicon Valley. The show typically captures the ebb and flow of how easy the label "genius" gets thrown around when more often than not, someone's idea is just a better iteration than someone else's original idea, according to Gates.
Gates has one complaint: The show is shaped around the success of startups like Pied Piper while competing against the big, bad "Hooli," an obvious imitation of companies like Google.
While big tech companies like Microsoft and Google have been criticized for their lack of "agility," the bottom line is they have more resources to invest in research, and therefore innovation, than "the underdog[s]," according to Gates.