Rulebreaking Made Silicon Valley


Frank Masi / HBO

Halfway through the second season of HBO's Silicon Valley, wannabe tech entrepreneur Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller) dresses down a nosy neighbor intent on alerting the cops to Bachman's unlicensed commercial activities. "Do you know why your shitty house is worth 20 times what you paid for it in the 1970s?" Bachman rants. "Because of people like us moving in and starting illegal businesses in our garages. [That's] why Silicon Valley is one of the hottest neighborhoods in the world."

It's a fitting statement of purpose for this show, which celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of friends trying to launch a revolutionary tech company called Pied Piper. They court investors, haggle with employees, and wage unfriendly competition with corporate giant Hooli, a fictitious Apple or Google clone that fights dirty.

The Pied Piper crew members are cynical about their chances, but the opportunity to build something that could one day be worth millions keeps them motivated—zoning restrictions be damned.