Having trawled through the dregs of humanity to fish out the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo and Donald Trump, reality television has chosen Silicon Valley as its next source of the human train wrecks you can’t look away from. Inspired by the success of The Social Network, Bravo recently announced Start-Ups: Silicon Valley—a new reality TV show featuring six young entrepreneurs determined to create the next Facebook or Google. The only catch is these six are clearly more interested in publicity than in creating the next great company. Simply compare their choice in housing with that of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg to see what their priorities are.
For scrappy, bootstrapping start-up founders chasing venture capital their expenses must set off sirens in the minds of potential investors. Anyone who went through the horrors of the dot.com bubble burst will cringe at the sight of these six partying their nights away around their heated pool at The Villa, a $17,000-per-month party pad that Bravo’s not paying for. It’s a stark contrast with people whose true focus is the viability and future of their companies. Zuckerberg famously lived in very modest digs until he finally shelled out $7 million for a Palo Alto home after his company went public. It’s mind boggling that when you crunch the numbers you discover this six-pack self promotion is paying the same amount to rent a house that Zuckerberg’s paying in monthly mortgage payments.
The “reality” in this Silicon Valley reality TV series was tossed out the window from the outset when it unveiled an all-Caucasian cast that is very noticeably lacking the diversity of the real Silicon Valley. Odd that there isn’t anyone Asian, Indian, African-American, etc. The show’s one shred of credibility is that it managed to secure Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, Randi Zuckerberg as a producer, but there’s little other connection to the real entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley. If you’re hoping her background with Facebook will help create a show providing insights into the world of start-ups and venture capitalism, rest assured this vapid, whitewashed crew of moderately attractive attention hounds is destined to disappoint you. Instead, you’ll get the same old crew of self-absorbed publicity hounds dying for attention, regardless of the costs to their professional credibility. The one upside is for those who’ve put their all into a start-up there will be the reward of reveling in their failures.
The show’s trailer alone features more cringe-inducing statements passing for business strategy than you’d hear at even the most alcohol-infused networking events.
- If you’re not aiming for something a billion dollars or larger, why waste your time?“——Dwight Crow (programmer, entrepreneur, and carrier of leprosy)
- “The future of the world is in our hands and we’re not sitting back and letting it pass us by“—Hermione Way (new media entrepreneur, journalist)
- “People have been intimidated because this package generally doesn’t usually come with a brain“—Sarah Austin (lifecaster, journalist, entrepreneur)
- “I live, breathe, eat, $#!%, daydream my company“—Dwight Crow
- “There’s people that, like, work in tech who, like, aren’t nerdy tech people“—Kim Taylor (founder of Shonova.com and former NBA dancer)
- “I would say I’m living paycheck to paycheck, but I don’t have a paycheck so I’m just living“—David Murray (CEO of Goalsponsors, Inc., opera singer)
- “If you gave me all the money in the world I would not want to be the next Mark Zuckerberg“—Ben Way (inventor, serial entrepreneur)
- “There’s a spirit of F#@& you disruption“—Dwight Crow
- “Geeks are definitely the new rock stars“—Hermione Way
Unless these hard-partying go-getters can convert their televised humiliation into actual investment dollars and attract some talented co-workers with functional skills, this train of shame is going right off the rails with all the suddenness of Enron. But along the way, the show promises the usual litany of questionable hookups, petty squabbles and backstabbing, and everything else we’ve come to expect from reality TV. So do these entrepreneurial posers have what it takes to conquer the Silicon Valley? It’s doubtful, and not just because they live miles from Silicon Valley itself. If you can stomach it, Start-Ups: Silicon Valley premiers Monday November 5 at 10/9c.