The latest episode of Silicon Valley, To Build a Better Beta, marks a fundamental shift in the show’s direction and story telling. In every episode, until now, we have seen the Pied Piper team stumble at almost every turn, some due to their own doing, and some due to forces beyond their control. During the course of the show, we have seen Richard Hendrix (Thomas Middleditch) grow from the introverted software engineer to a more confident CEO. That does not mean there are no problems, far from it. Hendrix’s compulsion to get things perfect has him reluctant to release his company’s beta to a select few to track down bugs in their code.
This slight departure from the comedic aspect of the show where the gang continually fails is welcome. It’s good to see Pied Piper win a few and see how much they have grown. Even when Monica (Amanda Crew) admits that she was not too excited by the beta, feeling that it was too “engineered,” despite that everyone else polled favorably, Richard still manages to see that moving forward is the best option for his company.
Though things are (finally) going well for the Pied Piper team, it does not mean there aren’t a few missiles heading their way. Could the “too engineered” beta be what undoes the group? We can assume that all the beta invites went to fellow coders who are likely to write a favorable review. Monica admits she passed on Slack, the cloud-based team messaging and collaboration app co-founded by Stewart Butterfield, Eric Costello, Cal Henderson, and Serguei Mourachov. To be fair, I don’t quite get why Slack is so popular either. I see why it is useful and even use it on a daily basis to communicate with my colleagues at Mesh Cowork but why it is valued where it is at still befuddles me. Sometime you never know what will take off and what won’t. I guess we will have to wait and see if Monica’s assessment rings true.
On other fronts, things are not going too well. Shocked at how good the Pied Piper beta is, Hooli CEO, Gavin Belson (Matt Ross) pushes the Nucleus team to re-engineer the entire platform to do exactly what the Pied Piper team is doing. This would mean a complete re-write of the platform and is not without consequences. Finally fed-up with Belson’s demands, the two Hooli lead engineers, Naveen (Aly Mawji) and Jason (Brian Tiechnell) leave the project in disgust after Belson shuts down power to the entire campus because of Gilfoyle’s (Martin Starr) hack.
It’s good to see things working out for the team but with a few more episodes to go before the season finale. you know something bad is going to happen. Erlich and Bighead are bankrupt. Could this cost Erlich his stake in Pied Piper? You just have a feeling that something bad is going to happen soon.