Bill Gates Praises HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley:’ ‘Like All Great Parodies It Captures a Lot of Truths’

The Microsoft founder says he identifies with Pied Piper’s CEO Richard Hendricks

Last Updated: November 19, 2018 @ 12:34 PM

HBO’s satirical comedy “Silicon Valley” is known for its lampooning of the Northern California tech bubble and frequently drawing the ire of those in the industry. But the show can count one of the tech industry’s founding fathers as a fan.

“If you really want to understand how Silicon Valley works today, you should watch the HBO series ‘Silicon Valley,'” wrote Microsoft founder Bill Gates in a blog post on Monday. “The show is a parody, so it exaggerates things, but like all great parodies it captures a lot of truths.”

Gates said he helped consult with “Silicon Valley” writers for its most recent fifth season — the show has routinely sought input from industry players, including former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo — and argued that the show is pretty accurate, in both the industry’s triumphs and mistakes. “I have friends in Silicon Valley who refuse to watch the show because they think it’s just making fun of them. I always tell them: ‘You really should watch it, because they don’t make any more fun of us than we deserve.'”

He added that he sees a lot of himself in Thomas Middleditch’s Richard Hendrix, the founder and occasional CEO of Pied Piper, the fictional company at the center of the series. The series frequently pokes fun at “start-up culture,” where everyone is pitching the next new idea that is going to benefit the entire world, even if its just “Shazam for food.”

“Even a huge believer in technology like me has to laugh when some character talks about how they’re going to change the world with an app that tells you whether what you’re eating is a hot dog or not.”

But Gates has an unsurprising gripe about the way the large corporations are portrayed as mostly being inept. “But I also understand why the show focuses so much on Pied Piper and makes Hooli look so goofy. It’s more fun to root for the underdog.”

Gates will have a wait a bit longer for season 6, which may not be uploaded until 2020.