So Why Is This the Season of Silicon Valley Downfalls?

Richard Lawson: I think anytime you get massively wealthy people and scandal in the same story together, they often are, it’s pretty fascinating, especially to people like us who work for Vanity Fair, read Vanity Fair, which, you know, we tend to cover that kind of, super 1%, controversy. And I think that with the tech stuff in particular, and, you know, we work as less of a tech thing and more of a physical space thing, but it’s aligned in that sort of general ethos it’s that these things seem to kind of fully present themselves to us already formed, you know, Uber just showed up on your phone one day, or you saw Elizabeth Holmes on the cover of a magazine and you figured, well, okay, I have no idea where that came from or what built it, and you just sort of accept it as reality.

But of course there was a lot of stuff that went, that came before that and a lot of triumphant failure and in certain cases, bad behavior all the way to criminal behavior. So just getting the back story of things that I, in my very passive tech way, just kind of accept, you know, if it’s on my iPhone, great.

Like I’m not going to question it. Of course. You know, we’d have ethical questions about some of these services in particular, Uber, but just seeing the nuts and bolts of how these things came to be is fascinating. And then we get the added element of let’s be honest, a little schadenfreude.

Julie Miller: Exactly. Well put.

Richard Lawson: So these two shows that we’re talking about today, “Super Pumped” and “The Dropout”, they are both different in tone and in structure. I think that the noticeable difference between the two is that “Super Pumped” while there are some jumps back and forth in time, we really start in media res. I mean, Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber has already had the idea it’s already up and running in San Francisco and this show, which will eventually lead to Travis Kalanick’s downfall, his ouster from the company as delineated in “Super Pumped” to the book by Mike Isaac, the New York Times reporter.

But you know, Uber as a general idea has already been formed before the show starts, whereas “The Dropout”, we see Elizabeth Holmes as a high school student, and we’re going to follow her all the way through, presumably, the trial that saw her convicted on four counts. So what do you think Julie, about those differences in approaches?

Does one appeal to you more? Did you want to see Travis Kalanick as a high school student as well?

Julie Miller: I think I’m good, but I really, I really enjoyed Elizabeth Holmes, those flashbacks, especially involving the William H. Macy character, which is based on a real life person we’ll get into, but he has his own epic backstory.

I’m also interested in the different perspectives, just coming from a male CEO. And a female CEO. It’s really interesting to me that “Super Pumped” gets into this chauvinists sort of toxic work culture. That, of course, Travis was later accused of having, and he’s mostly surrounded by men bros at all times as is the case in most Silicon Valley startups, when you get to those higher echelons.

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