Pied Piper Pic: Facing the Music

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Here we see Richard and myself, accepting the heavy judgment of Raviga for the sin of click-farming, a sin that began with me. So when shortly after this was taken I sustained a head injury, my first thought was: This is so, so much less than I deserve. My second thought was: I require medical attention.

Pied Piper Pic: The More Things Change…

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So it seems we are now fully a-pivot to video-conferencing! What a long gavotte this Pied Piper has capered, from Richard’s original music app. Yet, there are certain fixed stars that remain constant, that we may navigate by, constants like: Jian Yang, though an exceptional programmer, does not fully grasp the concept of the “prank call.”

Whirlwind!

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Where to begin? Lewis Carroll famously said, “Begin at the beginning, go on to the end, and then stop.” But that is hard advice to follow when one’s head is spinning, when one knows not if he (or she!) is coming or going, as I am hard pressed to say myself. And, of course, when the speaker had extremely problematic relationships with female minors, as did Carroll. (Yes, it was “another time,” but still.)

First off, I could begin by writing that it seems we are now…a video-chat company, on the order of Skype! Since our broad-based platform proved too intricate for a mass audience, we have pivoted to a new product, a crystal-clear communication app Dinesh hacked together with Richard’s algorithm and the peer-to-peer network our ex-employee Carla coded in embryonic form, and Gilfoyle built out.

Secondly, we have been purchased by Bachmanity, Erlich and Big Head’s joint venture! Although a vigorous discussion of revising the cap table is now underway—believe you me—great thanksgiving should be made to Erlich and Big Head for this acquisition. Because, the bid they beat belonged to none other than Gavin Belson, who no doubt would have folded Pied Piper’s IP into an update of HooliOffice or something, and in this way all we worked for would have been lost.

What lies ahead for Pied Piper? Who can say? But I, for one, cannot wait to find out!

Pied Piper Pic: 500,000 Installs!

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The PP team watches as we cross half a million downloads of the platform! Though the celebration proved premature, I shall always cherish this evening at Laurie’s peculiar, modernist home, whose geometry seemed oddly non-Euclidean.

Everything is Fine

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Not much to report this week, dear readers! Everything is perfectly fine. I don’t have a single complaint. We’ve put together a great team, built a wonderful product, launched it to some fanfare and the rest? Well, that lies to the judgment of history. You see, in the grand scheme of things, some products fail, others succeed, and although Pied Piper’s blazing speed and hyper-functionality do seem overwhelmingly likely to win us millions of Daily Active Users, far more than enough to start monetizing premium services and reaping rich rewards thereby…ultimately only time will tell. But I’m not worried. The signs are all good. No, great!

But the important thing is, not whether a given product becomes the market standard or a laughingstock. But rather, how we conduct ourselves regardless of success or crushing, demoralizing, abject failure; and in the event of the latter, how we dig ourselves out of the grave of black despair and move on with some shattered, rickety semblance of our former lives. While, of course, trying to be haunted as little as possible by what might have been, if things had gone differently. None of which, of course, remotely applies to us.

Because, as previously stated, everything is great! Well, onwards and upwards!

Pied Piper Pic: Attention Must Be Paid

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Richard Hendricks is a good man. A brilliant, hardworking gentleman of the old school. And so if certain liberties were taken to ease the passing of his beloved Pied Piper from this world—much as one gives an old cat one last fish-head before the shovel comes down—well, then, on MY head and none other heap your opprobrium. Heap it high!

Pied Piper Pic: Behold, A Pale Unicorn!

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“And his name that sat on him was Erlich, and Profligacy followed with him!” (With apologies to Revelation 6:8.)

Sadly, Erlich’s Bachmanity boondoggle has led to his being unceremoniously bucked off the Pied Piper unicorn, stock-and-Board-seat-wise. (Chin up, Erlich—head of PR makes a lovely consolation prize!)

Pied Piper Pic: A Tale of Two Lauries!

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One offers lucrative term sheets, one fires Richard. One frees us from the yoke of Jack Barker, one ruthlessly strips Erlich of his Pied Piper shares on the secondary market at below-market value. Which Laurie shall we meet next? This complex woman contains within her (as do we all, to a degree) both Arthur AND Mordred, Goofus AND Gallant.

Welcome (Back!) Erlich Bachman!

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Even the best of friends sometimes turn the worst of enemies: Mailer and Roth, Richards and Jagger, Christ and Judas. In each of these examples—besides my perhaps unfortunate choice of the last one—bygones were allowed to be bygones, water flowed under bridges, and harmony was restored. And so it comes to pass that despite their recent contretemps, our doughty CEO Richard Hendricks has brought a new (old?) Piper on board as our new Head of PR.

And who better to manage the public image of our company, to play the tech press like a Gypsy violin, than our charismatic Barnum, our Rasputin, our David Koresh (in a good way) of the Hacker Hostel, Erlich Casimir Bachman!

Yes, recent unfortunate financial reversals may have cost Erlich his 10 percent ownership stake in Pied Piper. Yet, it is clear Pied Piper continues to hold 100 percent ownership of his large, warm heart.**

(**This is not meant to imply that Erlich in any way suffers from an enlarged heart, or in fact any cardiac disorder, but rather that his loyalty to PP is not in doubt.)

Pied Piper Pic: Moment of Truth

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Richard and Dinesh look on as the fruit of our mighty labors, Pied Piper’s compression platform, is launched! We await the judgment of history!****

(**** and the subsequent launch of subscription-based Pied Piper premium services for business!)

We Released the Platform!

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With apologies to NASA…the Piper has landed!

That’s right, readers! This is a momentous day: After a somewhat abbreviated beta testing phase, we have officially launched our initial “freemium” model! That’s right, Pied Piper’s robust compression-based platform is now commercially available and can be downloaded gratis from our website, the Apple Store, the HooliStore, and so on, in the hopes of selling premium services to businesses on top of that, at a somewhat later date. Huzzah!

I must say, it has been a rollercoaster ride up this point. Pied Piper has been menaced by lawsuits, city zoning inspectors, bad press, short-sighted “professional” CEOs, money problems, the incompetence of prepubescent cloud experts, fire and so on. I personally have been threatened in various ways by Gilfoyle, Erlich and anonymous voice messages from would-be assailants who in fact turned out to also be Gilfoyle and Erlich, having some fun at my expense.

And still we rise! Pied Piper’s future is so bright, one should avoid looking directly at it for prolonged periods, for fear of damaging the eyes! It is too soon to consider what I might do with my share of the billions we may soon be worth, but my blue button-down shirt is getting a bit worn at the elbows…and I have been thinking of going “non-iron”! Wheeeee!

Pied Piper Pic: The Banality of Evil

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The banality of evil: Even the monstrous Gavin Belson—when not plotting Pied Piper’s downfall—puts his FitBit on one strap at a time before heading to a Vinyasa Flow class, just like the rest of us.**

(**In fact, I have never seen nor used a FitBit, and am not at all sure how they come to be affixed to one’s wrist. Naturally emaciated, lucky me!)

Personal Management

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Hello, friends. I am writing to you from my cozy corner of Erlich’s garage (although the photo above depicts otherwise). Which, thanks to a helpful and reasonably priced exterminator, is now almost primarily rat-free, judging by the decreased instance of both droppings and bites on my extremities as I sleep. I gave you an excellent Yelp review, Mr. Yaruslav!

Oh, I can hear those eyebrows raising; I know it doesn’t sound like much. But I’ll have you know none of my foster homes were remotely this luxurious, and my dorm room at Vassar was nearly as Spartan. Furthermore, Erlich is still not charging me rent, which could not be said of my college lodgings and the crushing debt I incurred there, nor of the attics and semi-enclosed porches of my childhood, which I paid for with endless, backbreaking chores and things no child should see. But I digress!

In any case. My topic today is “personal management.” Which is a fancy way of saying a concerted effort to maintain a healthy work-life balance. An example: Shortly after being rightfully reinstated as Pied Piper’s leader, my CEO Richard Hendricks embarked upon a liaison with a highly suitable senior Facebook engineer. Their relationship unfortunately ended after a disagreement over an arcane question of coding protocol. Engineers, am I correct?

Nonetheless, I took Richard’s dip into the dating pool as a cue to relaunch my brand in that arena, as it were. Because devoted as I have been to the company’s well-being, I’ve found if I fail to devote myself to to my personal well-being to some extent, I am doing the company a disservice. And since I started “getting out there” and meeting potential romantic partners, my productivity at work and my general well-being have both skyrocketed: I am getting more done, and the frequency of my night terrors has slightly decreased. As for Dinesh, who once told me in a very fresh manner, “Jared, if you ever actually got laid, I bet you’d ejaculate for six hours, and afterwards you’d be four feet tall and translucent.” Well, Dinesh…still just as tall, and no paler!

Pied Piper Pic: Unnecessary Luxuries

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Getting rid of the unnecessary luxuries acquired under “Action Jack.” Everything must go,we’re selling it all—except world-class compression technology, that is!**

(**=Actually, we of course do in fact intend to sell that as well as part of the Pied Piper platform, which we are at this moment hard at work on. Sorry for the confusion!)

Changes Both Near and Far!

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So many glad tidings to relate, loyal blog readers! (“Bleaders”? Probably not, but since video + blogger = “vlogger,” I thought it might be worth a trial balloon.)

After being most fearfully tested at great length, with all manner of appalling tribulations, our own Richard Hendricks has been restored to his proper station of CEO! We leave shortly to celebrate this fact, at a local, modestly-priced Mexican restaurant from which Erlich has never (yet) been asked to leave.

But oh, did Mr. Jack Barker, former pretender to the CEO throne, leave a mess behind for Richard and the rest of us to clean up. His reckless expenditures forced us to surrender our offices and again work from Erlich’s humble abode. Yet despite economizing in this way—and letting go non-essential staff—our coffers remained in a parlous state, so empty we could not afford to pay the engineers we needed to finish the platform. So I had the notion to stretch our pennies by outsourcing basic engineering functions to eager young developers in the developing world. With new blood toiling away for us in India, Bulgaria, Estonia and so on**, Pied Piper has become a veritable League of Nations of compression!

Dare I say: I believe this reordering of Pied Piper might actually serve as a model for other startups? We are leaner, we are meaner and we are more efficient by virtue of geographical diversity. (Diversity! Yay!) Most of all, we are definitely more true to the original spirit of the company, with Richard back in charge. Once again, I can say that Pied Piper feels like a womb in which I float: warm, safe and, mercifully, entirely dreamless.

**A quick note, dear readers: The three new engineer bios on our site are just a sampling of the nine engineers we have hired to work remotely, some as far as India, some as near as Colorado. (Go Rockies!) You’ll find bios for three of the off-site engineers who allowed them to be put on our site: Others refused for reasons ranging from fear they’d be used by their governments to capture and torture them (for unspecified activities) to—very simply—a strong, visceral dislike of me.

Pied Piper Pic: A Tangled Web

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Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive! In Jack Barker’s case, the Maleant Data System deal was certainly not his first web—but it turned out to be his last, the one where the spider found himself the one bound in silk, his liquefied entrails drained by the powerful chelicerae of Laurie Bream!

Pied Piper Pic: Up-Shirting

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Richard has repeatedly asked that I stop photographing him without his knowledge, but I simply could not resist “up-shirting” this snapshot: His brilliant, kind, yet firm and uncompromising nature shines through, even in this undignified pose. Last one, I promise!