Teams of 5 – A Listing Aside
Gavin Belson, CEO of the fictional tech juggernaut Hooli, is gazing out the floor-to-ceiling home windows of his workplace.
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Hordes of Hooli workers are migrating in teams throughout the fiber-optically wealthy pastures of its headquarters. Behind him stands his religious advisor: an Indian man, judging by his complexion and the kurta (however considerably muddled by the gathering of prayer beads round his neck). Arms crossed, forehead furrowed in reflection, Belson observes, “It’s weeeeeeird. They all the time journey in teams of 5, these programmers. There’s all the time a tall skinny white man, brief skinny Asian man, fats man… with a ponytail, some man with loopy facial hair, after which… an east-Indian man. It’s like they commerce guys till all of them have the fitting group.”
Like so many scenes in HBO’s wonderful present “Silicon Valley,” this one has cult-classic potential on par with a number of scenes from Workplace Area. Packed into these thirty seconds is a lifetime’s value of reality.
I write this aware of the cliché that’s writing in regards to the life classes which may be gleaned from [favorite_TV_show_or_really_anything]. However I’m additionally scripting this as a software program engineer carrying a hoodie and Warby Parker glasses, typing on a Mac from a small, truthful commerce, neighborhood espresso store. In the case of being a cliché, I’ve a lot greater worries. So screw it, let’s bask in cliché (as a result of not indulging in cliché as a result of it’s cliché is about as cliché as it will possibly get OK I’ll cease now).
The place was I? Ah, sure, the scene and its truths.
First, there’s the atmosphere itself: Belson’s expansive but intentionally modest workplace, a trademark of the trendy, frugal, enlightened tech chief. In actual fact, thriftiness isn’t a sign reserved only for people; it’s for total firms too (which in authorized phrases are people, I assume). Take Amazon’s legendary door desks, for example. I had one in all these unhealthy boys to my identify from 2005 to 2007—adjusting the peak required submitting a upkeep ticket that introduced a handyman to your door (desk) armed with a 4×4, a noticed, and never a lot of a humorousness.
There may be nothing significantly offensive about valuing thriftiness and correlating it to your capacity to revolutionize industries, synergize economies, and materialize innovation. Quite the opposite, one may argue (in press releases that no person reads, and Medium posts that just a few individuals learn as long as the studying time is three minutes or much less) that it’s a good factor. Besides after all when it’s simply low-cost signaling, which as a rule, it’s.
Then there’s the uncomfortable juxtaposition of white man with always-agreeable, non-white religious advisor man standing behind white man: a setup that masterfully attracts out irony and discomfort. From the Beatles to Steve Jobs to the woman down the road you could’t stand however “God, she’s so good!” to even Zuckerberg, few issues can warp your common religious individual straight to self-actualized god-among-men like a go to to India.
However the writing right here works on extra planes than the “brown males are props in a white male tech tradition” narrative. Final yr, Anil Sprint wrote a persuasive piece about how Asian-American males are ready of privilege within the tech business, and sometimes complicit within the oppression of different minorities. That’s the nuance the scene nails: brown man trying over chief white man’s shoulders, as they each look down on the frequent people.
The truthiest reality of this scene is the topic of the scene itself: Belson’s revelation that programmers kind themselves into teams of 5 by ethnicity, dimension, and facial hair. It’s onerous to not sink somewhat deeper into your hoodie as you watch his revelation unfold. But it surely’s simply as onerous to place your finger on precisely what causes the discomfort.
Is it the Indian guru trying on with admiration, as he was paid to do? Is it Belson’s sociopathic callousness as exemplified by, nicely, each superficial commentary he made? Is it that the group of 5 doesn’t embrace “non-model” minorities? Or that it excludes girls fully? Or, is it Belson making clear that people are simply pattern-matching monkeys fooled into considering they aren’t by the accident that’s consciousness?
Brace your self for the cliché of clichés: life is a recreation—a recreation of figuring out and navigating patterns. Each as soon as in awhile, I overlook this. I drop my guard, and begin going about my day with the earnestness of a pet play-bowing to a grumpy 11-year-old cat who’s seen all of it and albeit, has had sufficient. And as you’d anticipate, with the swoosh of a claw, the obese ball of fur and hate delivers a lower so surgical that my yelp comes out earlier than the bleeding begins. After which I faint (as a result of, as I realized all too nicely from the self-amputation finalé of 127 Hours or from merely strolling across the lodge foyer throughout my final go to to India, issues make me faint).
However after I come round, I’m the higher for it. As a result of as a lot as I detest all these ugly patterns—and detest having to see them, and switch them, and bend them, and match all of them collectively, and take them aside, and repeat, in order that I might be able to see the image extra clearly—by accepting that it’s what it’s, I’m in a significantly better place to make it what it isn’t.
And even, what I would like it to be.
As Belson gapes out the window, the digicam’s focus shifts previous him to the face of his religious advisor, like a homunculus perched on his shoulder to echo his self-congratulation. For one break up second, the advisor’s face flashes a micro-expression of disbelief that just about betrays his interior eye-roll.
However then, with seasoned grace, it morphs into an image of serenity. A figuring out smile seems on his face, and with out skipping a beat, he responds, “You clearly have an ideal understanding of humanity.”