Here’s what the guys from HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ think about Google Brotli

Here’s what the guys from HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ think about Google Brotli

Two weeks ago, Google announced a new compression algorithm that promises a 26 percent performance upgrade over its previous iterations.

It didn’t take long for fans to draw references to HBO’s hit series ‘Silicon Valley,’ so when we learned that actors Thomas Middleditch (Richard Hendricks) and T.J. Miller (Erlich Bachman) were going to be at New York Comic-Con, we went straight to the Pied Piper executives themselves for their thoughts.

On the show, your company Pied Piper built a “lossless compression algorithm,” which ends up inspiring competition from your former boss. Have you guys heard about Google Brotli?

Thomas Middleditch: What?

T.J. Miller: Google Broccoli?

Brotli. B-R-O-T-L-I. It’s Google’s latest compression algorithm that promises to be 26 percent better than existing solutions.

TJ: Well, we’d like to speak with the heads of Google!

TM: I think they just stole our intellectual property! No, I think that’s great. All that does is make Mike Judge look like more of a genius than he already is.

TJ: We’re making fun of how Silicon Valley is all followers, but if Google follows the television show…

Well, I’m sure it’s been in development for a while.

TJ: Look I know their R&D must have had it for a long time, but don’t fuck with me on how long it takes, okay? I know exactly what it takes to make the Google phones and Google circles.

Anyway, that sounds great, can’t wait for Brotli. It’s also great that it sounds like Google Broccoli.

It’s actually named after a German word for “small bread.”

TJ: Well, they should name it Google Cauliflower.

TM: Claws are out guys, watch out.

Actors Thomas Middleditch and TJ Miller in their Comic Con gear
Actors Thomas Middleditch and TJ Miller in their Comic Con gear, manning the Smirnoff booth for free booze.

On that note… do you think the show influences Silicon Valley, or is it the other way around?

TM: It’s becoming both now – I’ve people coming up to me and saying that there are certain things they want to avoid to not sound like a weird character on the show!

TJ: I did something in Las Vegas a while ago and this guy told me about how he uses a lot of our language in meetings. They’d joke around about D2F and tip-to-tip efficiency. It seems like the show is permeating Silicon Valley just like ‘Silicon Valley’ is permeating our culture.

Did you guys see how the new Google Alphabet website linked to the Hooli moonshot site?

TM: Yes, we heard about that little easter egg! That was cool, we liked that.

You liked that over Google linking to Pied Piper?

TJ: I was glad because Google is somewhat in the realm of Hooli – the idea is Pied Piper wants to not be like Hooli until they inevitably are.


It seems you guys are fairly in tune with technology and Thomas is a casual Twitch streamer, but how much of the lingo did you guys have to learn to do the show?

TM: Me personally, I love video games but you only get so much from games. Just because I love them doesn’t mean I know how to make them or program them. There are a lot of times where I feel as if I’m in a medical procedural drama like, “20 CCs of the gigabytes!” and I won’t know what the hell that’s supposed to mean.

TJ: Yeah, I had to learn about P2P, clustering, seeds – sometimes we have to learn stuff that we don’t even understand as we’re saying it and we all laugh everyday at who gets the hardest lines.

TM: We literally have a consultant (Jonathan Dotan) that comes by and tries to put it in the most basic terms just so we understand it better.

Do you have an example?

TM: I forget my lines immediately after we wrap.

TJ: We’ve had Jonathan come over and say, “Well, what it is it’s person to person sharing and you need to seed it in a way that the cloud…” – and that’s when I stop listening.

siliconvalley comic con
The actors with the crowd at the Smirnoff bar. Middleditch and Miller arrived as guests of Smirnoff to give out free drinks to fans.

That’s understandable. Last season of ‘Silicon Valley’ left us with a bit of a cliffhanger – what can you tell us about season 3?

TJ: Erlich and Richard are both ousted from the company and the show continues on with other people. It’ll be just like ‘True Detective,’ but worse.

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