The new season of “Silicon Valley” examines a common issue in the
tech industry known as pivoting.
Pivoting is the decision companies make when they realize what’s
appealing to customers and what isn’t, then decide to focus their
efforts on what’s working. In many cases, they find that the
product or service that’s clicking with consumers isn’t what
their companies were originally founded on.
That’s where fans will find Pied Piper on the fourth season of
HBO’s “Silicon Valley,” premiering on Sunday at 10 p.m.
“A lot of companies are started with one thing in mind and
then they turn into something else,” “Silicon Valley”
executive producer Clay Tarver recently told Business
Tarver referred to Instagram’s origin as a sort of Foursquare
knockoff called Burbn and Yelp’s turn away from its original incarnation as
a business referral site and into a review site when it
noticed that its users were writing unsolicited business
reviews instead of answering referral requests.
On “Silicon Valley,” the pivot into video messaging puts
Pied Piper founder Richard (Thomas Middleditch) at a crossroads.
Does he accept that his data-compression algorithm is a failure
and go along with the video-messaging app, or remain focused on
his original vision?
“Everyone who starts a company and founds something like
Pied Piper, I think they reach a moment where they’re
questioning,’Is this it? Is this really what I want to do?’ It’s
like with any of our dreams,” Tarver said. “
season three, Richard went and finally got to do what he wanted
to do, but no one really liked it. It was too complicated for
them, and too advanced. It was too good. And it was heartbreaking
for him, but we felt that was a really interesting dilemma for
him to face.”
On season four, the act of pivoting and Richard’s
decision about what to pursue become central.
“For Richard, this amazing algorithm that he has, we view
it as, almost like his soul,” Tarver said. “So can he have
success without selling his soul? Or selling it short?”