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'Silicon Valley,' season three, episode eight: Can you spot the Dick (Costolo)?

This week, a mystery: Who’s dumping shares?

Erlich from the show “Silicon Valley” rides a unicorn HBO

Each week, we watch "Silicon Valley" on HBO and then reflect on the ways the show mirrors — or doesn't — the real Silicon Valley. This week, a mystery: Who’s dumping shares, and why? You can catch up on the recaps here.


This was a complicated episode to follow. We knew Erlich had sold some of his stock, but we didn’t know how or to whom. He spends the first third of the episode dodging Richard and trying to figure out how to tell him what he’s done. Richard finds out anyway, though other channels, and descends upon Erlich with the sparkling blue fury of a thousand LEDs.

In a supremely satisfying jeremiad, Richard finally lets loose with what we’ve all been saying: Bachman screwed himself, and it’s nobody’s fault but his own. He has acted like a turd and deserves to get flushed into obscurity. Damn! It felt good to hear that, but there was also that longing for the Bachman we’ve seen so little of – the idiot savant who figures something out at the last second to save the day.

But after a run-in with Russ Hanneman and a conversation with Laurie Breem, Richard realizes that Bachman sold his shares for peanuts and has been left with nothing, and that he did it for the team. (Never mind that he later finds out that he didn’t have to do it. Let’s hope the heavy marijuana use destroys those brain cells first.) He gives Bachman the job of head of PR, and actually demands that he do his job.

All in all, a pretty satisfying third-from-the-last episode.

The Real Deal

When Erlich is begging Richard not to issue a press release outing him as the loser who sold his shares because he was broke for the stupidest of reasons, there’s this odd bit of dialogue.

"Do you know what happens if this gets out? I’m Ron Wayne."


"Ron Wayne. The guy who sold ten percent of Apple in 1976."

This is so much worse than they made it sound. Ron Wayne founded Apple with Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, and sold his stake for $800. Now he lives in Nevada and lives off social security and stamp collecting. Cult of Mac caught up with him two years ago, when he was selling off his Apple memorabilia, hoping for a top price of $50,000. No wonder Bachman was so haunted by his specter. The only thing scarier would be a vision of those twins in "The Shining" saying "Your options are worthless, Danny. For ever and ever and ever."

There’s a really delicious scene in which the recently fired Gavin Belson and the recently fired Jack Barker run into each other as they are getting into their private jets to fly to Jackson Hole. In fact, Jackson Hole is actually a popular getaway for the technocratti. Barrons says that "while the Hollywood crowd often opts for the glitz of Aspen, low-key CEOs with access to corporate jets tend to quietly slip into Jackson Hole." The article, written in 2012, complains that the market at the time for second homes was brutal, just brutal. Sally, please rinse out my mug.


You guys knew that former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo is on the Silicon Valley writing staff, right? Well, we got a look at him this week in a cute skewering of CEO types. He’s in the background of the scene where Richard arrives at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit, complaining that he was sold a bad vineyard. Sally. MY MUG.


Finally, if you were as impressed as I was by Erlich's magnificent meerschaum-shaped glass pipe, that sort of item is called a "Sherlock bubbler" and while I couldn’t track down the exact model, this is a reasonable facsimile. Funnily enough? It’s called the Silica.

Next week, the deficits in the Pied Piper interface become evident, and the fix looks like it’ll be a throwback to Microsoft’s Clippy. See you then!

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