Why I got involved with Bravo’s “Silicon Valley” show
Well, this week has been fun! There's certainly been a lot of spirited discussion around the announcement of Bravo's new series, tentatively titled "Silicon Valley." Leave it to me to be involved with a project whose mere existence is controversial. But then again, I've never been one to shy away from a challenge or back down from critique. In fact, where others see risk, I see amazing opportunity. So I guess that makes me an entrepreneur by default. While I appreciate having Facebook, Twitter, video and press releases to communicate about the show, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain in longer form about my involvement with Bravo and how it aligns with the goals of my new company.
My role as Executive Producer in this series is akin to a startup bringing on an advisor with a big title. Entrepreneurs bring on advisors in the early stage of a startup, because those advisors either help strategically or open doors that otherwise would have been closed to the entrepreneur. In this case, you won't see me ON camera and I'm not shooting, directing or editing the show. Similarly, you wouldn't see an advisor running operations or coding the site for a startup. The show has long been in development with very little input from anyone in Silicon Valley. By signing on, I hope to bring a lot of value by advising on how to best capture the spirit of technology and entrepreneurship throughout production.
As a member of the Silicon Valley community, I completely understand that there will be skepticism and detractors. But I think this show comes at an important time. Given the current economic climate, I think it's really positive that mainstream media is celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit and portraying people who pursue innovation and startups as being "aspirational" for the general public. Entrepreneurship has existed outside Silicon Valley for quite some time (yes, people start companies every day all over the world!) and inspiring more people to pursue an entrepreneurial American dream can only be a good thing.
Several years ago, I was a transplant from the East Coast and became part of an incredible Silicon Valley story, both through my family and also through a lot of hard work. Believe it or not, I still struggle to have people view my successes as my own. I respect that the people cast in this show are all trying to make something of themselves. Some are newcomers to Silicon Valley. Some were anonymous cogs within bigger companies who chose to leave and create their own path. While you may not know them yet and while they may not be involved with Pinterest, AirBnB, Dropbox, Square or one of the other hot companies of the moment, it certainly doesn't make their journey any less authentic or worth following.
Finally, as an entrepreneur building my own company, I welcome and value the opportunity to work with Bravo and reach the network’s massive audience for the constellation of projects we're developing at R to Z. Part of our mission is to make accessible and to humanize the increasingly important tech community for the average consumer who does not speak in 1s and 0s. We will do this by advisement on select media projects, like this Bravo show, but mostly through original and creative content production.
Will there be drama? Of course! Silicon Valley is full of exciting drama. Will there be conflict? Of course! Entrepreneurs face conflict daily. Will we showcase every single painstaking detail of startup life? Of course not. This is reality TV, not a documentary. The show isn't meant to represent all of Silicon Valley, but to authentically follow the lives of a few young people trying to blaze their own trails.
As the show ramps up and Den of Thieves – the production company – starts shooting, I welcome all constructive dialogue as to how we can make a show that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit of this community, while also making compelling TV for Bravo's audience.