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  比尔·盖茨:如果你想了解硅谷,就看《硅谷》吧            【字体:
比尔·盖茨:如果你想了解硅谷,就看《硅谷》吧
作者:佚名    电子数码新闻来源:不详    点击数:    更新时间:2018-11-21    
(原标题:比尔·盖茨:如果你想了解硅谷,就看《硅谷》吧)

考虑到硅谷对我们生活的巨大影响,令我惊讶的是,很少有流行文化能展现出它的真实情况。最好的作品,我用一只手就能数过来。《硅谷之火》(Fire in the Valley)这本书很好地记录了早期的情况,以及我和史蒂夫· 乔布斯之间的关系(它也被改编成了一部相当不错的电影)。沃尔特·艾萨克森(Walter Isaacson)撰写的史蒂夫传记非常棒,另外让我大为吃惊的是,他在《创新者》(The Innovators)一书中竟能将如此大量的历史和技术信息融会贯通。这是一部杰作。

但如果你真想了解硅谷如今是如何运转的,你应该看看HBO的连续剧《硅谷》。

它围绕一群在互联网初创公司Pied Piper的工程师展开。你会看到他们努力思考战略、打造产品、筹集资金,以及同Hooli竞争——Hooli这家科技巨头与谷歌或微软具有明显但只是表面的相似。

这部剧是一个戏仿作品,所以它夸大了现实,但像所有伟大的戏仿作品一样,它捕捉到了许多真实情况。你在剧中看到的那些不同的人物性格,我对其中大多数都很熟悉。程序员们很聪明,甚至与朋友在一起时也会表现出超强的竞争心,而在社交方面就显得有点摸不清门道了。我个人最认同Pied Piper的创始人理查德这个角色,他是一名出色的程序员,但必须艰难地学会如何把人管好。

比尔·盖茨:如果你想了解硅谷,就看《硅谷》吧

这些创业者都怀有良好的愿望,却倾向于把愿景描绘得有点过头。当剧中人物谈论他们将如何用一款APP改变世界,而这个APP可以告诉你现在正在吃的东西是不是一个热狗时,即使是像我这样对技术充满信心的人,看到如此的情景也会忍不住笑出来。

这部剧配得上“准确”二字。制片人和编剧们在每一季开始前都会做大量的调查研究。去年夏天,他们见了包括我在内的几个人,谈论行业的历史,还提出了他们对第五季的一些想法(然而,他们并没有给我剧透)。

我有一些在硅谷的朋友不愿意看这个剧,因为他们觉得它只是在拿他们开玩笑。我总是对他们说:“你们真应该看看,因为他们开的玩笑并没有言过其实。”你可以像我一样相信,科技公司确实是在利用神奇的工具改善我们的生活,你同时也要承认,有时候谁赢谁输是比较随意的。一些人有一个几乎正确的想法,但并不完全,于是他们的事业失败了;而另有一些人做得稍微好一点点,于是在他们往后的岁月里一直被视为天才。这部剧完美地捕捉到了这一点。

我确实有一处小小的抱怨。《硅谷》给你这样一种印象:像Pied Piper这样的小公司大多比较能干,而像Hooli这样的大公司大多比较无能。虽然我显然是有偏向性的,但经验告诉我,小公司照样可以无能,而大公司可以投入资源进行深入的研究,还能从长远利益出发,这是小一些的公司承担不起的。但我也理解为什么这部剧如此关注Pied Piper,并让Hooli看起来如此愚蠢。为处于劣势的一方摇旗呐喊更有意思。

前四季里的每一集我都看过了,我正在看已经在5月结束的第五季。我听说这个剧的创作者原本计划在制作完六季之后停止,但现在他们愿意创作更多。我希望如此。只要他们继续把这个热闹的连续剧拍下去,我就会一直看下去。

比尔·盖茨:如果你想了解硅谷,就看《硅谷》吧

If you want to understand Silicon Valley, watch Silicon Valley

By Bill Gates

Considering the huge impact that Silicon Valley has on our lives, I’m surprised by how rarely pop culture really gets it right. I can count the best stuff on one hand. The bookFire in the Valley did a good job of capturing what things were like back in the early years, and the relationship between Steve Jobs and me. (It was turned into a pretty good movie too.) Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve is terrific, and I was blown away by how much history and technical information he synthesized in his book The Innovators. It’s a tour de force.

But if you really want to understand how Silicon Valley works today, you should watch the HBO series Silicon Valley.

It’s about a small team of developers at an Internet startup called Pied Piper. You watch them struggle to figure out their strategy, build their product, raise money, and take on Hooli, the tech giant that bears an obvious but superficial resemblance to Google or Microsoft.

The show is a parody, so it exaggerates things, but like all great parodies it captures a lot of truths. Most of the different personality types you see in the show feel very familiar to me. The programmers are smart, super-competitive even with their friends, and a bit clueless when it comes to social cues. Personally, I identify most with Richard, the founder of Pied Piper, who is a great programmer but has to learn some hard lessons about managing people.

And the entrepreneurs are well intentioned but prone to over-the-top vision statements. Even a huge believer in technology like me has to laugh when some character talks about how they’re going to change the world with an app that tells you whether what you’re eating is a hot dog or not.

The accuracy is well-earned. The producers and writers do a lot of research before each a new season of the show. Last summer I was one of several people they met with to talk about the history of the industry and kick around some of their ideas for season 5. (They didn’t give me any spoilers, though.)

I have friends in Silicon Valley who refuse to watch the show because they think it’s just making fun of them. I always tell them: “You really should watch it, because they don't make any more fun of us than we deserve.” You can believe, as I do, that tech companies really are improving life with amazing tools and also admit that sometimes, who wins and who loses is pretty arbitrary. Somebody gets an idea almost right, but not quite, and their business fails; then someone else does it just little bit better and they are viewed as a genius for the rest of their life. The show captures that perfectly.

I do have one minor complaint. Silicon Valley gives you the impression that small companies like Pied Piper are mostly capable while big companies like Hooli are mostly inept. Although I’m obviously biased, my experience is that small companies can be just as inept, and the big ones have the resources to invest in deep research and take a long-term point of view that smaller ones can’t afford. But I also understand why the show focuses so much on Pied Piper and makes Hooli look so goofy. It’s more fun to root for the underdog.

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