Sunday, May 7, 2017

Silicon Valley recap: Season 4, Episode 3, "Intellectual Property"

Tonight's episode of Silicon Valley takes a satiric look at some of the ways that the all-important yet elusive concept of intellectual property plays out in the Valley, starting with Jian-Yang (Jimmy O. Yang) and Bachman's (T.J. Miller) pitch to the Coleman Blair venture capitalists. Jian-Yang's modest recipe-app idea is quickly passed over and replaced by a purely theoretical but more exciting one: See Food, the kind of potentially transformative app every coder dreams of inventing. It's a hook so sharp and shiny that the VCs throw $200,000 in seed money at it and Monica (Amanda Crew), aware there's no substance behind the flash, uses it to try to lure in her douche-bro nemesis, Ed Chen (Tim Chiou), in hopes of triggering a failure big enough to take him down—or at least take him down a couple of notches.

That's pretty high stakes for the result of a minute or two of blue-skying between Bachman and the VCs. And whose intellectual property is it, exactly? One of the VCs comes up with the enticingly vague concept (a camera app that lets you take a picture of food and then analyzes something about it, or maybe supplies some recipes), though it's Bachman who supplies the zazz, giving the app its market-ready tagline (“Shazam for food”) and name. That's a surprise, since Bachman's ideas are usually anything but market-ready.

If it's rare for Bachman to have anything useful to offer besides the house he provides as an incubator, Jack (Stephen Tobolowsky) has never had an idea of his own, at least as far as we know. Yet he easily shoves yet another CEO out of the company he founded, as he did to Richard (Thomas Middleditch) last season, by doing the one thing he's good at: managing upward. Read the rest on The House Next Door

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