America is just one big startup. This is why Veep and Silicon Valley live together on HBO: they are the ultimate examples of the American system and the fever dream of free market capitalism that it was intended to create. Just kidding; that is a really stupid analogy. It worked on you for a second though, right? Maybe?
Such is the beauty of startup-y TED-talk wisdom: it only has to sound good to seem profound. And if it fails, it might bewilder you just enough to make you stick around. Perhaps this is the true American dream, though: being able to write a long-ish form love letter to two TV shows using flimsy logic, tie-ins, jokes, and GIFs. It could also be the American nightmare, but hey — who cares? As long as you can use freedom of speech as a crutch for your own petty interests, then you’re using that right exactly as our founding fathers intended.
Veep and Silicon Valley have a lot in common, because they are scripted TV comedies about high-risk, high-reward workplaces. The first setting is the White House, and the other is the constantly evolving startup, Pied Piper. Now that both shows are back in their third and fifth seasons, respectively, it’s time to take a look at what startup pseudo-knowledge could help Selina Meyer run the country. After all, the White House is just America’s startup incubator. Or something.
1. Dress for the job that your enemies want
Why should Selina Meyer dress so beautifully when she could just dress…I don’t know, however her rivals would dress if they lived in a utopia and didn’t have to adhere to societal norms? She should dress more heinously, like the leader of the free world would if he stopped giving a shit about anything — this is the ultimate startup power move.
This piece of horrible advice is rooted strongly in the notion that everyone in Silicon Valley dresses horribly as they compete to be the next Steve Jobs, so that they appear to only care about tech itself. Never fashion, or just looking put-together at all. If you subscribe to that logic, then you would agree that everyone in the White House should be all-casual, all the time. Checks out.
2. Be the SWOT you want to see in the world
Strengths. Weaknesses. Opportunities. Threats. These are the components of a thorough SWOT analysis, something the Pied Piper crew uses to figure out a moral dilemma, concerning the possible death of an extreme sports bro. Selina’s right-hand man, Amy, should absolutely be SWOT-ing with her right-hand man and rival, Dan. Imagine, for a moment, if Amy and Dan conducted a SWOT analysis about the idea of hooking up with each other. Beautiful.
3. Always be alpha
This line, or something very similar, was likely uttered by Selina Meyer last season. This piece of advice is pretty beta. We apologize. Apologizing is also beta. Never say sorry, Veep.
4. Be the greatest of the greater good-doers
It is very important that every character in Silicon Valley be completely self-interested, while simultaneously masking that self-interest with an apparent desire to do what’s best for everyone else. Alternatively, the inverse of those two options is also true: the guys often mask their empathy and love for one another as a love for moving forward with their startup. How sweet! In Veep, Selina often has a choice between doing something for the greater good of the country, or doing something even better for her own image. Ideally, she will do the former and disguise it as the latter. That’s where the true good begins.
5. If you’re going to be a dick, consider all the other dicks
In one of the best episodes of TV history, the Silicon Valley cast struggles to figure out an algorithm that would explain the most efficient way to jerk off an entire room of people. What algorithm could be better used in Washington than this one, where everyone has to be pleased in order to vote accordingly? There is no better algorithm. That is the only answer. All dicks considered, the Veep and Silicon Valley writers need to be sent on a retreat to write a crossover episode immediately. If this happens, then America will know peace. And, perhaps then, America will finally get fully funded.