To quote the zen teaching of my friend (and LA radio legend) Vic “The Brick” Jacobs: enlightenment can happen in a moment. And in the penultimate episode of this “Silicon Valley” season, this adage range true for yours truly.
For weeks now — actually, seasons at this point — I’ve been trying to pin down who exactly Hooli CEO “Action” Jack Barker reminds me of in the tech world, and it finally hit me like a thunderbolt on Sunday night: he’s clearly Steve Ballmer 2.0.
If you’ve been following along, you know Barker has been sweating bullets leading up to his maiden voyage at the helm of “Hooli-Con,” Hooli’s annual tech conference. He’s been looking to one-up the recently ousted Gavin Belson — a Steve Jobs-esque parody in his own right.
To mask a product setback, the flamboyant and aggressive Barker looked to save the day by paying an ungodly sum for Keenan Feldsbar’s virtual reality startup (played hilariously by Haley Joel Osment). And as Barker took the stage, the Ballmer comparison crystalized.
First, watch Barker’s fired-up intro at Hooli-Con.
And now, treat yourself to this video of the former Microsoft CEO (and current Clippers’ owner) addressing the crowd at an internal company event — especially the final 20 seconds.
Catch it? The “Silicon Valley” writers nailed it — the twist on Ballmer’s “I. Love. This. Company!” routine, the jogging around the stage, the textbook tech guy wardrobe, the haircut, everything. That was masterful.
Of course, once Barker jarred my memory, I realized I’m late to the party. A reddit thread pegged the Hooli exec as Ballmer last year. Still, while they’re both big, balding, in-your-face tech execs, the similarity wasn’t stamped until Barker’s Hooli-Con performance last night.