Home / Silicon Valley / In Season 4, HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Deals With a Tough Question All Entrepreneurs Must Face

In Season 4, HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ Deals With a Tough Question All Entrepreneurs Must Face

This season, HBO’s “Silicon Valley” will zero in on a big question entrepreneurs grapple with: to what degree do you compromise your vision and your integrity in exchange for success?

The show, which focuses on fictional tech startup Pied Piper, is set to return Sunday.

HBO held the premiere for the fourth season last week in San Francisco, showing guests and reporters the first two episodes of 2017. Without revealing too many spoilers, here’s what the next season entails: As Pied Piper begins to find success with a video chatting app, Richard Hendricks (played by Thomas Middleditch) is faced with a choice: run a company around a technology he could not care less about or abandon it all and pursue his true passions.

“One of the central tensions of the show is whether these guys will be able to succeed while keeping their souls,” actor Zach Woods, who plays Richard’s assistant Jared, told Inc. at the premiere.

“How much do you need to compromise of your character in order to do this thing?” Middleditch added.

“And even if you’re successful — if you get a billion dollars — is that meaningful success?” Woods said. “Or if you fail economically but retain some vision or some integrity?”

This question tears the team apart, and as we see in the show’s trailer, it leads to Richard’s departure from the startup.

“There’s a struggle for the identity of Pied Piper this season, and we’re stuck in the middle of it,” said actor Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh. The characters are trying to figure out “what we want the company to be and whether we want to be in it or not,” he says.

“It’s like ‘Avengers,’ but with nerds,” added actor Martin Starr, who plays Gilfoyle.

“And I’m Captain America,” Nanjiani joked. “This is the face of America.”

For Starr, the season’s storyline is reminiscent of the real-life events surrounding one of his favorite startups: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a popular Texas-originated dine-in theater chain.

The company was started in 1996 by Tim and Karrie League in Austin. “They took over Austin with their love of movies,” Starr said. “That looked cool to investors.” The couple sold the rights to franchise in 2004 to a group of investors but retained licensing and ownership of three locations.

Without the passion of the original founders, however, a big national expansion failed to materialize, leading to a legal dispute (since settled). When Tim League was brought back as CEO in 2010, the company was able to get back on track. Since then, Alamo Drafthouse has continued to grow, with recent expansions into New York and San Francisco.

“That’s the dream,” Starr said. “To find success in a way that doesn’t hinder your love of what you’re doing.”


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