HBO’s “Silicon Valley” comedy series presents a California-centric view of how tech is done (and undone), but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Seattle-based Amazon Web Services came in for satirical shout-outs in April 23’s season premiere.
As the season’s first episode begins, Pied Piper is pivoting from the data compression and storage business to video chat – specifically, a miraculous smartphone app called PiperChat that can conference an unlimited number of video users at the same time, with no lag or loss of picture quality.
Pied Piper CEO Richard Hendricks poses as an Uber driver and virtually kidnaps a potential VC investor, touting PiperChat’s 120,000 daily active users and the 18 percent week-over-week growth in its user base.
But there’s a problem: The user load is so high that Pied Piper is burning through cash to pay Amazon Web Services for the streaming. There’s no money left to pay Pied Piper’s developers, despite their protests.
“I’m not paying because you’re not the one getting [bleeped] face first by your credit card company because of massive AWS hosting fees,” the startup’s living-on-the-edge backer, Erlich Bachman, tells the team.