HBO Show Silicon Valley’s Video Compression App Mirrors Facebook Acquisition

Facebook’s social media prominence has been written about extensively in best selling books and movie scripts. Aaron Sorkin’s treatment of Mark Zuckerberg's Machiavellian rise in the blockbuster, The Social Network was box office gold back in 2010. It garnered more awards than you could shake a stick at from all major movie award shows, including the Oscars, the Golden Globes, BAFTA and The National Board of Review.

However, flash-forward a short three years, and it appears that the new HBO hit show Silicon Valley, actually got a jump on a story line in advance of Facebook’s involvement. For those who are fans, you might remember the plot line that involves a revolutionary data compression algorithm for videos.

In that first season, the shy, reclusive programmer Richard Hendriks, who portrayed by actor Thomas Middleditch developed the Pied Piper video app in a live-in startup techie incubator run by Erlich Backman (T.J.Miller).

When Hooli, a larger, more established software company proposes a $10 million buy-out offer of Hendricks’ start-up, its almost as if the production -- team headed up by Mike Judge (who’s also no stranger to Silicon Valley culture) -- were reading the tea leaves as to what Zuckerberg was about to do in early 2015.

All you have to do is change the name of Pied Piper to QuickFire Networks and the story uncannily parallels the HBO show to a “T” — as QuickFire’s technology reduces the bandwidth needed to watch video online without sacrificing its video quality.

Based on the real-life turn of events, you'd have to wonder if Craig Y. Lee, the CEO of this start-up and Zuckerberg had a good laugh over the similarities between their business relationship and the HBO show.

This past week, Zuckerberg acquired Lee’s company for an undisclosed amount, as it mounts an effort to become a viable competitor to YouTube in providing an enhance video sharing experience for its users.

Facebook noted in their blog post of January 7th titled, “What the shift to video means for content creators,” that video had become integral to Facebook’s future. This is supported by the fact that more than 50% of people who come back to Facebook every day in the US watch at least one video daily and in a single year Facebook video posts per person increased 75% globally and 94% in the United States.

QuickFire will be able to help streamline the increased video consumption and provide support to the platform as it rolls out more video in emerging markets, which frequently have slower connections.

A group of key QuickFire employees will be joining Facebook as part of the acquisition. In the meantime, the company will be reaching out to individual customers and partners as business winds down.

This is where the HBO story line departs from real events. Unless the fictional entrepreneur Richard Hendriks changes his mind, it appears he is holding fast in rebuffing the 10 million buy-out offer from Hooli in favor a 5% ownership stake and $200K investment from a smaller venture capitalist.

But as we all know, in the Land of Silicon, a million dollar deal, heck even a billion dollar deal can turn on a dime one way or another, in a blink of an eye.

Suffice to say, it will be interesting to watch the real-life 'video wars' play out over the course of the next two years between YouTube and Facebook. Your thoughts on the winner in that smack-down?