10 Startup Tips We Learned From Watching 'Silicon Valley'

Not only is 'Silicon Valley' very funny, it’s also brimming with advice for the aspiring tech bro

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A scene from the fourth season of 'Silicon Valley.' Not easy to fulfill your dreams.
A scene from the fourth season of 'Silicon Valley.' Not easy to fulfill your dreams. Credit: HOT/HBO
Adrian Hennigan
Adrian Hennigan
Adrian Hennigan
Adrian Hennigan

Not only is HBO's “Silicon Valley” very funny, it’s also a fun way to pick up free advice on how to succeed in the high-tech industry. Here are 10 things we’ve learned from the show

>> What sets HBO's "Silicon Valley" apart from its tech bros >>

The company you keep

When a top venture capitalist wants to back your project, they’ll expect you to know your company inside-out and outside-in. Oh, and never slurp from an empty mug:

Keep your enemies close but your friends closer

If you’re going to do something that will incur the wrath of one of Silicon Valley’s most spiteful, vindictive players, make sure you’re not the one left carrying the can:

Don’t dally in the Valley

No one goes to the high-tech capital of the world and pitches a soup. Or at least, they shouldn’t

All publicity is not good publicity

When your CEO is invited onto a business show to discuss your hot product, it might be worth letting them get a word in occasionally:

Don’t spend your ad money ad hoc

Blowing your marketing budget on a very dumb idea can be the death of your company and your credibility:

The story of CEO

The boss’ chair can be a very uncomfortable place to be:

No more Mr. Nice Guy

When you’re the boss, you need to be the biggest a-hole in the room. Otherwise, someone else will fill that vacuum:

Enjoy your free time (if you have any)

If you’re fortunate enough to get some downtime, on no account should you mention Hitler, the Nazis or the Holocaust on a date:

How soon is now?

Never tell the CEO of a high-tech giant that you’re sure the thing you’re developing will happen “in our lifetime”:


Never be afraid to accept that your product sucks and you need to pivot to something new. If it’s good enough for Instagram