If you ever wondered how to present yourself or a business strategy to the elitist companies of Silicon Valley – look no further. Last night’s return of HBO’s Silicon Valley saw Erlich Bachman demonstrate a refreshing approach on the art of effective persuasion and communication during a negotiation. I see his strategy in three parts – innovative, invincible and impertinent.
When I think of Silicon Valley (the city) I immediately think of the word innovation. I can’t think of a more innovative approach than that of Erlich and Richard in their quest for Pied Piper’s valuation process. I really feel that some of the key players in the tech world would be proud of their “thinking outside of the box” approach. Perhaps at the heart of the Pied Piper gang they embrace and uphold these quotes by Steve Jobs on innovation and Mark Zuckerberg on risk taking. As the episode unfolded, so too, did their innovative strategy of insults and their risk taking behaviours. I strongly believe that Erlich is the type of person who would have these as affirmation cards in his wallet!
Let’ s take a look at this newly adopted, fresh and contemporary business strategy
1) Innovative – it is often said that innovation is crucial to the continuing success of any organisation – we see this in full force as Richard and Elrich have the ability to identify early on that the companies valuing them are in fact ‘negging’ them and as a result of this they develop an original strategy to tackle the rest of their meetings which lead to…
2) Invincible – Know your worth people. Nothing wrong with a touch of quiet confidence is there!? “We’re three-foot cocks covered in Elvis dust!” – eloquently articulated here by Elrich.
3) Impertinent – * Note: follow Erlich’s lead and not Richard’s. They each have their own skill set and this sits firmly in Elrich’s domain as demonstrated by the following insults generated in the meetings:
“Your muffins smell like shit, so do your ideas. One of you is the least attractive person I’ve ever seen, and I’m not going to say who.”
“I think what I’m seeing is the human equivalent of a flaccid penis.”
“Your logo looks like a sideways vagina. I find that to be racist, don’t you?”
It appears the saying ‘treat them mean keep them keen’ has some plausibility here in the realms of Silicon Valley.
It seems evident that “being an asshole” is a recurrent theme of the show and perhaps to be more specific, it really seems to be focusing on how to finesse the ‘art’ of being an asshole and how it is imperative that one embodies asshole-ish elements in such a climate. What a personal journey indeed – especially for Richard. There is nobody better than Elrich to guide him through this. Leading by example has always been a valuable entrepreneurial trait.
I will leave you with, in my opinion, the best of Bachman’s business tips to those of us who are the Richard’s of the world…
‘Be an asshole. That’s why he’s a billionaire. Because he knows how and when to be an asshole.” – Erlich discussing Peter Gregory to Richard
I hope Richard finds a happy medium between being his typical socially awkward self and that of an asshole. I look forward to embarking on this journey with them.
( A random thought…In the lead up to the season commencing, Mike Judge said we would see the ‘Rise of Richard’ which perhaps could be interpreted as the the ‘Rise of Dick’ – the rise of dick behaviour, being a dick and embracing other asshole qualities or perhaps even a literal rise of Richard with Monica. Only time will tell.)