Sean Parker? Marc Cuban? Chris Sacca? Who is "Silicon Valley"'s Russ Hanneman, really?
Last Sunday's episode of Silicon Valley, "Bad Money," was probably the best of the entire season. And it was all thanks to the addition of douche ex machina Russ Hanneman, a foul-mouthed, open-shirted, orange-McLaren driving asshole whose douchiness is matched only by his cluelessness. (The act of Hanneman scratching his own sports car with the rivets of his jeans says it all).
But on which controversial Silicon Valley figure is Hanneman most-closely modeled? I guessed Sean Parker -- though Sarah Lacy rightly pointed out on PandoLIVE that Hanneman is more akin to The Social Network's flashed-up version of Parker than the real thing. All the more reason I say that Hanneman is based on him. After all, the writers had to know that general audiences -- even smarty smart-pants HBO viewers -- will most naturally make the connection between Hanneman and the most visible Silicon Valley douche in all of pop culture, Sorkin's fake Sean Parker.
Of course there's also an extremely good argument that the character is based on Mark Cuban. Hanneman's lucrative but ultimately insignificant "Radio on the Internet" is a clear shoutout to Cuban's Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo at the height of the dotcom bubble for $5.7 billion. And one commenter smartly pointed out that the profanity and questionable shirt selection is pure Chris Sacca. (Here, take a moment if you will, to watch Sacca in all his profane glory drop dozens of F-bombs in our PandoMonthly profanity supercut).
Others still have suggested Uber investor Shervin Pishevar while Paul Carr -- somewhat hilariously if you only know this man by his once-ubiquitous avatar -- suggested Myspace's Tom Anderson.
In truth, the character is an amalgam of everything horrible about the Valley. It doesn't matter whether you're an anti-tech activist or a seasoned Valley veteran: You can find something to hate in Russ Hanneman, hence the brilliance of the character. And so of course he's not a carbon copy of just one person in the Valley (correct me if I'm wrong, but not even the biggest douches and dotcom nostalgics in Silicon Valley still listen to "Nookie," right?
So here we've made an informal poll: Which Silicon Valley douche is Russ Hanneman to you? Tell us on Twitter, this article's comments section or, if you must, this Google form embedded below.
[illustration by Brad Jonas]