If there’s one thing clear about the cult of personality that makes up the fictional tech company Pied Piper of HBO’s Silicon Valley, is that collaboration is not its strong suit. Rivaling programmers, back-room venture capital machinations, and a possibly dead condor egg all threaten the would-be tech unicorn. This Sunday, we join the crew behind Pied Piper’s compression algorithm for Season Four, except this year they may be leaving the world of enterprise server farms and entering one close to home: video chat & collaboration.
The last we saw Dinesh Chugtai (played by Kumail Nanjiani), he had been experimenting with Pied Piper’s compression algorithm and WebRTC to create a higher-quality video chat app. Working under the guise of trying to improve productivity among Pied Piper’s remote workforce of developers – with the ulterior motive of impressing one which, of course, fails beautifully – Dinesh inadvertently creates a video chat far superior than expected. In the Season Three finale, we’re left wondering where the future of Pied Piper will lead, but this indicates that we may spend the next 10 weeks watching Dinesh & Co. navigate the world of collaboration platforms.
It’s not surprising that creator Mike Judge, of Office Space fame, chose to take the show in this direction. Judge’s satirical work typically has a close pulse on the culture it lampoons, and the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) market has grown increasingly in the last few years, with some estimates forecasting a value of $79.3B by 2024. Fitting that it would enter the larger-than-life world of Silicon Valley just as market growth continues to pick up steam.
If the last three years of Silicon Valley are any indication, we can expect the Pied Piper video chat to either explode spectacularly or stumble its way to greatness. Ahead of the premiere this Sunday, we break down two pieces of advice for creating a successful collaboration tool.
- Understand employee expectations. Dinesh’s higher quality web chat application – created to more easily flirt with a remote coworker – is the perfect analogy for today’s workforce expectations when it comes to their digital tools. If employees aren’t happy with the products given to them, in our world of app proliferation they will either turn to one they’re familiar with or build one themselves. When rolling out a new platform, it is vital to think about how people will best use the tool. Very few of us use a phone with a cord at home, so the tools we use at work should mirror those experiences in our personal lives.
- Evolve beyond video chat. Breaking into the world of video chat will be an important first step for Pied Piper the communications provider. But to be successful, they will need to embrace the other two pillars of unified communications – voice and messaging. With more than four generations in the workforce, the most effective UC platforms balance the collaboration expectations of a multi-generational employee base. Gen X prefers to pick up the phone, Gen Y will shoot over a message, and the App Generation will start a video chat. Catering to all generations will be key in encouraging widespread adoption.
While much of what we see in Silicon Valley is hyperbolic of the real-life culture, the best satires are rooted in truth. The emphasis placed on the UC capabilities of Pied Piper is a prime example. Following our advice would help the fictional company succeed, but it may be more entertaining for the rest of us if they don’t.
Before tuning into HBO on Sunday at 9 p.m., ET for the Silicon Valley Season Four premiere, visit our UCaaS 101 page to learn more about unified communications. Enjoy the show!
Image courtesy of HBO.com