What HBO's Silicon Valley Can Teach Entrepreneurs About Doing Business in The US

HBO’s Silicon Valley show charts the growth of Pied Piper as multiple protagonists attempt to take their company to the heights of the startup world. There are lots of plotlines and any multitude of obstacles that Pied Piper comes up against. But what makes this show so highly praised is that it’s true to life.

Many of the issues in the show are things that can be experienced by entrepreneurs. By learning from this show, you can survive your first year of entrepreneurship and thrive at the same time.

Legal Issues Abound

A significant part of the series revolves around the fight between Hooli and Pied Piper over the rights to certain algorithms and concepts. In the end, Pied Piper triumphs, but messy legal cases are a reality of operating in the world of startups. Only certain things can be copyrighted and trademarked.

There’s a huge legal grey area as to how close a company can get before it’s infringing on the rights of someone else. And there are many common legal mistakes entrepreneurs have to be aware of.

Do you have protections in place to prevent people from stealing your idea?

The Value of Outside Help

When Pied Piper is applying for investor funding, they come up against stiff resistant. To get around this, the characters hire a business development expert to help them out. In the show, the expert helps them to lay out the innards of their business in a way that investors can grasp. It helps Pied Piper to get across what it’s all about.

Studies say 95% of entrepreneurs have a bachelor’s degree and they are so often convinced that they have to do everything themselves without any outside help. In some ways, entrepreneurs are control freaks because they are unable to allow anyone else to do something for them. They always have to be in control when bootstrapping their startup.

But there comes a time where you have to admit that you need help. You also need to be willing to part with some of your money to attract the people who really know what they are doing.

And drafting in that outside help could be just the breakthrough your business needs.

Monitor Your Online Reputation

Your online reputation is crucial for everything you do in business. An online reputation firm was brought in to defend Gavin Belson’s image, the leader of Hooli. In this case, this was the wrong time to call anyone in because the damage had already been done.

An online reputation firm can only help you to force negative search results that have already happened. But instead of the cure, you need to prevent it from happening to start with.

What this should demonstrate is that your online reputation is something that you should be taking into account from the very beginning.

The Takeover Isn’t Everything

In the series, Hooli makes a startup funding offer of $10 million for Pied Piper. A lot of entrepreneurs would say that this is a great offer and they would sell right away. But think for a second and consider that the business could be worth even more in the future. Many entrepreneurs have become multi-millionaires through selling their startups, only to discover that they could have been billionaires if they’d kept at it.

The owners of Pied Piper decide to stick to their guns and not sell the company. Instead, they took the offer of a venture capitalist. The venture capitalist gave them a much smaller amount of money, but it came with business mentoring.

Not only did Pied Piper get the money they needed, but they got an education, which is something that can’t be bought in the startup world.

When you are an entrepreneur, it’s easy to become fixated on the short-term of your business. What you really need to be doing is thinking about the long-term. Don’t be drawn in by what you can get now. Think about what your big idea could be worth in the future, if you decide to carry it on.

Last Word – Learning from Unconventional Sources

Sometimes you gain the most important lessons from the most unconventional of sources. Learning is important and you should endeavor to find out something new from sources that initially seem as if they couldn’t offer you anything. Silicon Valley from HBO could take your company to the next level.

What do you think is the most important lesson you can learn from Silicon Valley?