If there is anybody on Earth with real authority on what Silicon Valley is like, it’s Bill Gates. And in a new blog post, the founder of Microsoft revealed his personal admiration for the Emmy-nominated HBO comedy Silicon Valley. Except, he has one teeny tiny issue.
In a Monday entry on Gates’ personal blog, the 63-year-old tech magnate expressed adoration for the HBO comedy, which lampoons the modern tech world and the highly-specific character archetypes who populate the industry.
“The show is a parody, so it exaggerates things, but like all great parodies it captures a lot of truths,” Gates writes. “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.’”
Gates, who expresses kinship with the show’s gawky, pale protagonist Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch), does have one “complaint” about the series. Mainly, that Silicon Valley portrays small tech companies as smarter and scrappier than bigger corporations, which Gates says isn’t always the case.
“I do have one minor complaint. Silicon Valley gives you the impression that small companies like Pied Piper are mostly capable while big companies like Hooli are mostly inept. Although I’m obviously biased, my experience is that small companies can be just as inept, and the big ones have the resources to invest in deep research and take a long-term point of view that smaller ones can’t afford. 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.”
It might be a little more than obvious that Gates, who is worth a reported $97 billion, would be eager to defend the integrity of companies such as Microsoft, which he co-founded with Paul Allen in 1975. In Silicon Valley, big companies like Microsoft, Google, and Facebook are parodied via Hooli, an overwhelmingly large conglomerate headed by a clueless, ego-driven boss who fails to realize his own fake signature looks like a schlong.
But Gates didn’t get where he is today without laughing off a few jokes at his expense.
“Most of the different personality types you see in the show feel very familiar to me,” he says.
He further compliments Silicon Valley for its “well-earned” accuracy, including the social dynamics of programmers — “The programmers are smart, super-competitive even with their friends, and a bit clueless when it comes to social cues,” Gates says — to the fact the show’s producers reached out to Gates for insight into today’s tech scene.
When it comes to powerful tech figures such as Gates, it’s easy to forget they’re also just people who want good entertainment. It honestly never ceases to astonish me that Elon Musk somehow found time to play BioWare’s Mass Effect trilogy, for example.
Though Gates is less busy running Microsoft and caring about how Xbox is doing these days, it’s still remarkable to know the founder of Microsoft binge-watched Silicon Valley and therefore has definitely sat through the greatest, most elaborate dick joke in history.
Season 6 of Silicon Valley begins production in 2019 and will return in 2020.