Smart People Can Denounce Bravo's "Silicon Valley" All They Want, the Wantrapreneur Douchebags Will Still Love It
"Oh my God I am sick of hearing about this stupid show!" my nanny just screamed, slamming her iPhone down on the table, as I walked past her to get more coffee.
"This is all people keep asking me about. People need to understand that this does not reflect reality. If one more person asks if I've seen this show I'm going to go insane."
She wasn't talking about Bravo's "Silicon Valley." She was talking about "Beverly Hills Nannies."
Since the show started running, everyone she knows has said a variation of, "OMG. You have to see this show. They make $40 an hour! You should move there!"
"People don't understand that these are actors. They want to get rich and famous. They had to submit headshots. They are not real nannies," Megan has been exclaiming in a long, 20-minute rant, sounding, well... exactly like me on the topic of Bravo's "Silicon Valley."
It seems anyone who takes pride in what they do hates when someone makes a public mockery of it. The rant included a familiar bit about "Super Nanny," as Megan was cleaning up gross, spit-up waffle. "She could be called Super Therapist. Have you ever seen her change a diaper?" she yelled.
Point being, if Megan's annoyance is any indication, it's about to get worse for the real Silicon Valley, when this awful, horrible show finally airs, painting people sunbathing and getting paid to eat Popchips in a $17,000-a-month "villa" as your standard Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
No doubt people with less common sense than Megan, who think "Beverly Hills Nannies" is real, actually are moving to Beverly Hills expecting they'll made $40 an hour to talk to their friends on the phone while a baby crawls around nearby. And no doubt, that's going to be a scourge on any poor parent actually looking for a remotely affordable nanny who actually likes children.
This is precisely why I think the "Silicon Valley" show is so dangerous. It's not, like the Ben Huh show, about one person's journey (and in Huh's case, an actual successful entrepreneur at that). It's claiming to be representative of an entire community. And a community that I happen to care greatly about. We were early in our scorn, but in the last week everyone with a shred of credibility has denounced it -- even the New York Times mocked it.
But unfortunately that matters little. Once this thing airs, the exact people we don't want in Silicon Valley will be the ones who love it. They'll eat it up like candy. They'll suddenly think startups are easy and fun and flock here in "Wall Street"-like droves. Producer Randi Zuckerberg -- with her very loaded last name -- is confirming the misguided fan fiction in their heads: I can use Facebook, so surely I can create the next one! I hope VCs think about that before they agree to fund any of the companies in this show. Do we want to set the standard -- on national television no less -- that it's perfectly acceptable for founders to use venture capital, not to pay for engineers and servers, but to pay $17,000 a month in rent? Once done, this injection of cultural frivolity will not be undone for a long time.
The worst part about the fact that people in the show aren't experienced entrepreneurs is that they don't actually know enough about the Valley to get why this is so dangerous. (Clearly.) Most weren't here in the late 1990s when the glamour of dot com businesses was running high, and douchebags flooded the Valley looking for easy money. Those years were unbearable for anyone trying to do anything substantial. The silver lining of the carnage of the dot com crash was that they all left when it became apparent that building a company was actually hard work. Now people will flood here not just looking for easy money but something even less meaningful: easy fame.
[Note: The above image was what came up when I typed "douchebag" into Shutterstock. Consider it a WANTED poster. If that guy comes to pitch you on his photo-sharing, fitness app, just walk away.]