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Let’s Create a TV Show to Fix Silicon Valley | Tech Buzz

Startups have been creating worker hell in Silicon Valley. That was within the forefront of my thoughts as I learn the e-book
Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. I believe this e-book must be required studying for anyone who thinks working for a startup in Silicon Valley can be enjoyable.

Unless you’re into humiliation and abuse (giving or getting), you most likely ought to keep away from these startups just like the plague. Yes, you may get wealthy, however you additionally might find yourself with a ruined life — broke, divorced, homeless, or perhaps even dead by your individual hand.

The issues aren’t confined to startups, although. After studying the e-book, you possible would find yourself with a complete completely different perspective about companies like Apple, Google and Facebook as nicely. And VCs — oh my god. This well-researched e-book might have you considering most of them are run by literal demons.

In a lot the identical vein as Brotopia, however increasing past abuse of girls, this e-book explains the rise of suicides, psychological well being points, and even the enlargement of homelessness round a number of the strongest and richest corporations within the world — corporations you ship some huge cash to.

It additionally takes a have a look at unicorns, corporations with large valuations however no actual method to generate revenue, and the con artist administration specialists permeating the trade who appear to relish creating their very own little hells on earth.

Finally, and it is a good factor, the e-book showcases a number of the corporations that deal with their staff nicely together with a VC the place they have centered not solely on glorious work/life stability, but additionally on investing in companies that particularly give attention to making the world a greater place.

I’ve recognized Dan Lyons and have learn his work for a lot of my grownup life. We form of went via a struggle collectively on the identical aspect, and I could not advocate his e-book extra extremely.
However, fairly than offering a e-book overview or detailed abstract (which could stop your shopping for or studying the e-book), I’ll suggest a derivative.

It struck me that this e-book would make a great basis for a comedy, drama, or actuality TV present that will be fascinating to observe, and on the identical time really assist make individuals conscious of (and need to repair) this downside. I really feel strongly that abuse of any kind must be worn out.

I will finish with my product of the week: the Oculus Go, a brand new VR headset from Oculus based mostly on Qualcomm know-how.

The Comedy Version

What prompted me to think about a TV present was that Dan has been a author for the sequence
Silicon Valley. That present, which I discover fairly onerous to observe, focuses on a startup. I am additionally reminded that The Office was based mostly on a broader retelling of Dilbert-like tales that possible do exist in workplace environments, in some kind or different. The U.S.-based present was based mostly on a present produced in England, and it was a success for various years.

My thought is to give attention to a company of younger engineers determined for assist in managing individuals who then rent “experts” to assist them repair the issues. The specialists would mirror and increase on varieties showcased in Dan’s e-book. They would vary from faux specialists who use deep, considerate, grownup instruments — like Legos — to these who depend on administration by Feng Shui.

Penn & Teller developed a present that made considerably related factors, referred to as
Bullshit! It ran for a number of years, however plenty of people sued them, which means that comedy may work higher then Penn & Teller’s actuality present strategy.

There can be a central character who was good and would break the fourth wall — like George Burns within the actually previous
George Burns and Gracie Allen Show — or, extra just lately, like
Deadpool.

So, the viewers would at all times be in on the joke. This character would use sarcasm and innuendo closely to level out why every of those “expert” geniuses actually have been fool con artists, and foil their efforts.

The company may very well be, I do not know, actually fictional like an electrical automobile company lead by individuals who did not know methods to construct automobiles, or perhaps even a chip company with a board made up of monetary varieties and MDs — you understand issues that may not occur in actual like. Oh wait…

What actually could be enjoyable can be to have the central character current like some uneducated blue-collar employee however really be the key proprietor of the company and a billionaire with solely the viewers in on this as nicely.

Another twist might present the central character coming in as a janitor and taking plenty of abuse, however studying the place all of the idiots are. He then would purchase company, do away with all of the idiots, and promote the heroes within the agency who really supplied worth. Hmm — you understand that may work in actual life.

(I’ve usually contemplated a company that was made up of ex-spies who can be employed to enter a agency secretly to search out out all of its issues previous to an acquisition.)

The Drama Version

The drama would pit a gaggle of specialists in opposition to a plot from a international government — as an instance, oh, China — that needed to destroy U.S. business by infecting it with administration practices that sound actually good however really are idiotic.

Using a mix of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. ideas (with regard to headquarters and instruments), some NCIS-like evaluation, and a few Mission Impossible-like stunts, their job can be to undermine the international entity’s efforts with out letting anybody know they have been even there.

Rather than destroying the business with unhealthy practices, they might trick the agency into implementing good business practices with the long-term objective of discovering and stopping the evil mastermind deploying the phony effectivity knowledgeable groups.

This would convey why many of those screwy practices are idiotic, and concurrently deal with issues like phishing and spearphishing, together with practices that trick individuals into putting in viruses or shopping for into Ponzi schemes.

Done proper, it not solely can be entertaining, but additionally — relying on how the plot developed — might assist individuals perceive and keep away from the con artists and others consistently attempting to rip-off them. (It additionally may assist with our gullibility with regard to faux news.)

While there possible are sufficient tales in Dan’s e-book to fill a season, this present might pull its plots from the identical form of analysis he did and preserve that analysis — and exposing frauds — within the news, serving to to appropriate this unhealthy habits.

The Reality TV Version

The Reality TV angle can be to give attention to the abusers. People would submit tales of abuse and undercover wired actors would go into the agency after which report and share what was occurring.

This can be extra like a 60 Minutes expose, however one which particularly centered on abusive managers. A staff of specialists, possible pulled from the record of fine actors in Dan Lyons’ e-book, would sit on a panel and run a commentary on why what we have been watching not solely would not work however why it constituted abuse.

There can be some dangers — notably if a number of the very highly effective males who make a behavior of abusing ladies, particularly, have been showcased. One approach round that problem can be to get these who complained of abuse to dictate what occurred, after which re-enact the event.

Given that a number of the people who would come ahead for a present like this may faux accusations for display screen time and a spotlight, it could be fascinating to out these individuals, decreasing the variety of people who would make faux claims over time.

Much in the identical approach that NBC’s
Dateline went after pedophile,s this present would give attention to catching extraordinarily abusive executives and managers within the act, forcing change by exposing extraordinarily abusive habits.

Wrapping Up

The problem with books like Lab Rats is that they usually get an preliminary wave of readers however then fall into the dustbin of historical past, and the teachings and insights are lost. I believe a TV present might take the idea of Lab Rats and switch it into an fascinating lasting lesson that would assist make the longer term a greater place for these unlucky sufficient to work for one in all these insanely abusive and terminally silly startups.

It additionally would assist mainstream companies that as soon as fell for ideas like compelled rating, and assist them make higher selections sooner or later.

I actually advocate that you just learn the e-book
Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us, and if you’ll work in tech, choose one of many companies that treats staff with respect over one during which the managers secretly put on “Abuse ‘R’ Us” T-shirts.

My lasting impression of the e-book is that there are plenty of people in energy who must be kicked out of the human race. The proper program may, a minimum of, get them the hell out of administration.


I obtained an
Oculus Go from Qualcomm because the leadup to its analyst event in Hawaii this 12 months. It showcases each what works and what does not work with this know-how in the intervening time.

Addressing a number of the early issues with the standalone cell phone-based merchandise, the Oculus Go has first rate efficiency and picture high quality. This class nonetheless is concentrated on offering a low-cost entry-level VR expertise, and it does that.


Oculus Go

Oculus Go


It was despatched out in order that we might discover the venue we have been going to nearly, upfront of our journey. It is right for that. In truth, it’s good for motion pictures normally. With an honest set of headphones, it gives a pleasant streaming or obtain film expertise. For some motive, there does not appear to be an Amazon Prime app out there, nevertheless it dealt with Netflix like a champ.

VR video games stay an issue, although. Finding a game that I actually like enjoying has been a problem, and the shortage of consistency between platforms with the controller is one other problem. For occasion, one first-person house shooter that I used to be having fun with appeared to require two controllers (the Oculus Go comes with one) and a button on the controller that the higher-end Oculus has however this product doesn’t (so I could not determine methods to hearth the rattling missiles).

I actually do not perceive why Facebook, which owns Oculus, did not specify Oculus Rift-like controllers. The Rift is the costlier product (US$349 vs. $249). That approach the person expertise with completely different lessons of machine may very well be extra constant. There are aftermarket controllers, however I doubt that many video games have been designed with them in thoughts, as a result of low quantity. I am not even certain they really would work with the Go.

The Oculus Go is a stable enchancment over its predecessors. At lower than $250, it’s a actual worth that’s hampered by an absence of controller consistency throughout the Oculus line and the shortage of a really compelling game.

Unlike the Oculus Rift, it does not require a PC, making the setup a ton simpler and the machine realistically moveable.

If you’re bored and ready for an appointment or having your tooth cleaned, it is a good method to distract your self. It is helpful if you wish to watch a Netflix film, and most of the shortcomings may very well be addressed with a pair equipment and one good Halo-like game (Xbox).

I like values, and at beneath $250, it is a first rate one, so this week the Oculus Go is my product of the week.

The opinions expressed on this article are these of the creator and don’t essentially mirror the views of ECT News Network.



Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of curiosity embody AI, autonomous driving, drones, private know-how, rising know-how, regulation, litigation, M&E, and know-how in politics. He has an MBA in human assets, advertising and laptop science. He can be an authorized administration accountant. Enderle at present is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the know-how trade. He previously served as a senior analysis fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester.
Email Rob.

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