Pied Piper’s New Partner

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Typically I write these posts from my living room work station, listening to the familiar music of the hostel: the babbling creek of Erlich’s bong water, the keyboard taps of Richard hard at work, the dueling banjos of Dinesh and Gilfoyle insulting each other as only two best friends can. Today, however, there’s a new, silent yet utterly overpowering orchestra member in the room — a portrait of our recently announced partner, Gavin Belson!

Yes, friends, as you may have read in Code/Rag, Richard and Gavin have joined forces to create the next Pied Piper product. And though Gavin is not physically here at this exact moment, he’s present in the spirit of business collaboration and a penetrating photographic gaze. Exciting!

I’ll admit, the intervening days have been a bit of a roller coaster for me personally. During a recent meeting, I not only tragically flubbed a drumroll cue, but I also lost my temper on Bryce, Gavin’s transfusion associate, when he interfered with our presentation. It was no judgment on his profession — I actually find parabiosis to be an incredibly intimate demonstration of corporate loyalty, and it’s a pity Richard and I have incompatible blood types — but I had to defend my CEO. And sometimes defending your CEO means accessing reserves of anger you keep vacuum sealed like a guest duvet in the closet of your mind.

But all’s well now! After taking in Frank Capra’s World War II propaganda classic “Why We Fight” over at the Stanford Theatre and a quick muffled scream into my Pied Piper jacket, I feel much better. I stood up for Richard, Richard stood up for Gavin, and my friend Gloria stood up for me when someone cut me in the popcorn line.

Well, I’m off to watch the fellows drink a beer in celebration of Dinesh’s return to Pied Piper!

Together Again!

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Our hero Richard has returned! We were all shaken by his weeklong leave, even though the rest of the gents put on their bravest faces. They pretended they didn’t even notice the monumental absence at our work table, those stoics. I found ways to keep busy — arranging my button-down shirts by intensity of hue, and practicing my calligraphy, of course — but these were flimsy distractions.

When Richard finally came home, I was happy to see a renewed sense of mission and a little color back in those cheeks. But I was surprised to learn he had taken on a new partner, whose name I won’t disclose but whose character is questionable at best. I knew that Richard would need protection, and I certainly couldn’t leave it to the Brett Saxbys of the world, who drink with abandon in the middle of the workday and skate by on charm. No, I had to rejoin Pied Piper.

Being a part of Richard’s project is a dream come true, and that’s not a phrase I take lightly! (The last time I used it was when my third grade class visited the fire station, and the firefighters let me organize their gear.) One of my first orders of business? Cutting through the profanity-laden facade of Gilfoyle’s bravado and getting him back on our team. Of course he would never say it out loud — that’s Gilf for you — but behind his unblinking eyes I knew he was just as happy as I was to be back in the Pied Piper fold.

Oh, Gilfoyle is telling me he needs to encrypt my computer “to limit the consequences of Dinesh’s inevitable sexual failure,” so I better sign off. Until next time, readers!

Where Is Richard?

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Where do I begin? Pied Piper Founder Richard Hendricks is missing. No, dear readers, this isn’t just a nightmare narrated by a raspy voice you heard on the other end of a ringing payphone by the Chevron station when you were thirteen. This is real. Richard Hendricks is missing, and has been for the last three and a half hours.

I’m sure you’re all wondering how we got here. Well, earlier this week Richard was in an absolute state. After he and I weathered the storm of his nail-biting together, I watched helplessly as Richard again lost his sense of internal equilibrium. At one point he even walked into the pool without letting me know so I could lifeguard.
But we turned a triumphant corner in the basement archives of late tech titan Peter Gregory. I’ll admit I was a bit off-kilter after seeing a self-driving car that once drove me to a traumatizing abyss. Yet amid the hoarded debris of this man’s life Richard found what he was looking for — proof that he was onto something great. What a moment it was!

Then I arrive, a grim reaper with a scythe in the form of a patent number. I cut down the great oak of a dreamer’s dream. And now Richard has left the hostel without any indication of where he’s gone or when he’ll be back. I know the 911 operator is right: I’m being alarmist, and this was a completely unnecessary call. If I know Richard — and I know him better than anyone — he’s just taking a walk to process the news and mourn what might have been.

Richard, if you’re reading this, come home! We’ll figure this out together. Oh, and your sandwich is wrapped in wax paper in the fridge.

Farewell, PiperChat

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Hello, friends! If you’re anything like me, you start your day with a cup of coffee, a pep talk in the mirror that is encouraging yet realistic about your limitations, and a scan of the day’s tech news. I have no doubt, then, that you’ve already heard about PiperChat’s recent acquisition by Hooli. While I’m not at liberty to discuss the details, I can say with certainty that we no longer have any formal business affiliation with PiperChat. Good thing I hadn’t ordered those logo beanies yet!

On a different note, I sometimes like to use this forum to muse on various topics in technology. Take, apropos of nothing, terms of service. We all love to read them, of course, delighting in the voices of our favorite authors. (Myself, I’m a fan of the quiet wit of the Spotify TOS.) But they’re more than pleasant bedtime reading; they’re essential to the legal protection of any startup. So take note, fellow entrepreneurs, and add those terms of service. Without them, you may be doomed to hear the endless click of the Agree button like a tortuous telltale heart, echoing against the uninsulated walls of a ranch house’s garage.

Anyway, just some food for thought! And speaking of, one last tip from Jared Dunn to you: should you ever find your clothing covered in sick, try baking soda and lemon juice! It will loosen the stain and weaken the odor.

Thanks for reading!

To Every Thing There Is a Season

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Well, it has been a season of change here at Pied Piper. As Sylvia would often say when another couple passed over me for adoption, “When God closes a door, he opens a window.” I finally understand that Sylvia meant something more than a tip to escape through the opening in the attic. The door of my service to Pied Piper has ended, but the window of PiperChat has opened! Indeed, many PiperChat windows have opened, because our video chat platform has a remarkable hosting capability for multiple simultaneous users. Check it out!

Yes, readers, our pivot to video chat has become a full-blown sprint: we are gaining users by the day, our technology is superior to any other conference platform on the market, and we’ve named Dinesh Chugtai our new CEO. The next stop on this journey is funding. Our brush with fraud — Oh, Jared, did you not think that sin would stain? — has hindered us, to be sure, but we remain undeterred!

Amid the giddy thrill of this new chapter, we must take a moment to honor Richard Hendricks, who has parted ways with PiperChat. He may no longer be our CEO, but he will always be our Founder and our friend. Few captains are so brave as to shed their crew, guided only by the stars and a whiteboard. But you are on your own journey now, Richard, like Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love. You have left the painful past of the platform behind you and are bravely entering a new chapter of spiritual growth and technological adventure.

As for me, I’m off to make Dinesh a cup of tea and work on our burn-down chart!

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!