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'Silicon Valley' star: This theme will dominate season 4

JP Mangalindan
Chief Tech Correspondent

Season 4 of the show, which premieres this Sunday, April 23, shows the harsh reality of Silicon Valley life when a startup’s employees disagree on the company’s direction. For his part, Hendricks wants to work on an ambitious new decentralized internet — an internet 2.0 of sorts.

“I think the big sort of catalyst essentially for this fourth season is that Richard doesn’t really like this new pivot that Pied Piper is taking, and he realizes the best execution of his algorithm is this new internet — a super big risky swing — is kind of going off on his own,” Thomas Middleditch, who portrays Richard, told Yahoo Finance at the show’s San Francisco, California, premiere last week.

He added: “I would say that the seasons up until here are the gang as a unit dealing with the rocky road to success. But Season 4 is more of an internal struggle. Will the band get back together?”

As any regular viewer will tell you, Mike Judge’s chronicle of a struggling startup and a group of scrappy, eccentric techies isn’t as much about the destination, so much as it is about the jocular ups and downs of their journey. Despite a propensity to sprinkle dialogue with tech lingo like “midde-out compression,” “churn rate,” and “hockey stick growth,” Silicon Valley proved a hit for HBO early on, thanks to edgy humor and the ability to tap into a certain zeitgeist.

America remains fascinated with the tech industry, which popularized the notion that anyone with a computer can potentially code the next Facebook (FB) or Snapchat (SNAP) in their garage or college dorm room.

“I think it’s seductive, because to people it seems like suddenly someone becomes a multibillionaire overnight,” Kumail Nanjiani, who plays Dinesh on the show, explained. “What they don’t understand is that very few people get to that and getting to that [point] takes a lot of work. But I think people struggling to realize their dreams is a very compelling and very American story.”

The real-world Silicon Valley has been extremely receptive to the HBO show, with members of the technorati serving as advisors and even making on-camera cameos. Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, Yelp (YELP) CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, and former Zynga (ZNGA) CEO Mark Pincus are just a few of the notable people to have appeared on the show.

Just as notable, perhaps, are those who came close to appearing but didn’t. Martin Starr, who plays Bertram Gilfoyle on the show, told Yahoo Finance that Mark Zuckerberg and Al Gore “almost” made appearances on the show. Given Season 4 is hardly Silicon Valley’s last, perhaps there’s time for them to reconsider.

JP Mangalindan is a senior correspondent for Yahoo Finance covering the intersection of tech and business. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.  

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