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Reality Show Rankles Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are none too thrilled about the forthcoming reality show focused on the lives of start-up founders. Here's what's turning them off.
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Silicon Valley got some serious Hollywood treatment in the 2010 movie, The Social Network. Now Bravo TV has re-cast the Valley--this time, reality-TV style.

The show, Silicon Valley, was announced in April by the network, which also produces Real Housewives, and has recently begun filming in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Tech entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are none too thrilled.

“On behalf of all the entrepreneurs who’ve risked it all to build something, I am offended,” blogged Francisco Dao, founder of 50 Kings, an online community for tech entrepreneurs.

Local restaurant owner Jamis MacNiven told The New York Times that most of the Valley is rather boring, but some of the show's stars are already working on proving otherwise: “Last night, there were like four of my ex-girlfriends in the house--and I’ve only been here a year,” said one entrepreneur during a filming session attended by Times reporter David Streitfeld.

So how realistic will this slice of Silicon Valley life be?

Many argue that The Social Network represented Mark Zuckerberg as a founder focused on girls and booze rather than what he really was: the nerdy coder who spent hours in front of a computer with other like-minded, nerdy coders. Some of the elements of the Bravo show suggest it might be more about entertainment than reality. Two cast members, a brother and sister team developing a fitness app, live in a $17,000-a month San Francisco home complete with an outdoor pool, three levels of decks, and a sprawling view of the city--a far cry from the stories of entrepreneurs sleeping in cars and squatting at tech campuses pinching pennies, waiting to get funded. 

Despite the backlash, Bravo and the show’s executive producer Randi Zuckerberg (yes, Mark’s sister) say they are creating a show that will introduce audiences to an area that is often overlooked.

“Inspiring more people to pursue an entrepreneurial American dream can only be a good thing,” Zuckerberg wrote on her Facebook page.

General sentiments seem to side with Valley venture capitalist and entrepreneur Kevin Rose, who tweeted last fall, in response to the show’s Craigslist casting call: “Yuck, please stay in LA.”

 




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