Silicon Valley combines business with comedy. It's a fun watch, but aside from that it can teach people a lot about the reality of running a startup in the world of today. There are so many nuances that you have to take into account, and this guide is going to show you what you can learn from it.

You Must Choose Your Investors Wisely

Startups commonly bring in investors to help them with both funding and mentoring. But you need someone who actually knows what they are doing. Take the Winklevoss twins in the series as an example. They may be flashy and they may be able to offer some great parties, but ultimately they are an example of people who don't bring much else to the table.

You should choose investors who genuinely care about your company and its mission.

Nurture Your Professional Relationships

Every professional relationship you have is important. You don't want to do something stupid to tarnish those relationships. You never know when you might come across them again, and you may well need their help. An example of this occurred in Silicon Valley.

Pied Piper may not have needed to find funding from Russ Hanneman if Bachman hadn't upset the entire venture capitalist community by making rude public comments about them.

Don't Celebrate Early

Entrepreneurs are nearly always guilty of celebrating too early. You should celebrate the little victories, but it shouldn't come at the expense of your business. Celebrating before a deal is in writing will only lead to disappointment. You never know when negotiations can break down.

Take Gavin Belson from the series. He tried to sue Pied Piper just when the main characters thought they had finally reached that breakthrough point.

Only when something is actually finished should you take time to celebrate your triumph.

You Must Be Resourceful

When Gavin Belson had to repair his online reputation, he decided to be resourceful and to reframe his actions in a more positive way. This enabled him to avoid complete nuclear disaster. But it also raises a more important lesson that startups need to be resourceful if they are going to achieve their goals.

Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook all started within garages. Pied Piper is another startup that begun in the same way.

Stop Comparing Salaries

If Silicon Valley taught you nothing else, it should be that a characteristic of a successful entrepreneur is discretion. Your salary and anything else you received in compensation should be kept private. Your salary should be as important as your credit card number and your mother's maiden name.

Startups are more vulnerable to this than most because all you need is one team member who isn't happy with what they are getting and it can disrupt the entire organization. And when women are paid 9.4% less than men in Silicon Valley, this is an issue that can raise its ugly head.

There's nothing wrong with certain team members receiving a higher salary. They may have more responsibilities that warrant it. But that doesn't mean you should be talking about it to everyone. Avoid any unnecessary workplace stress and tension by keeping salaries confidential.

Take Care of Yourself

Entrepreneurs who run startups are obsessed with the health of their companies. Yet what they are never obsessed about is their own health. They are not concerned with their personal and mental management. This may be fine for a short time, but in the long-term if you don't take care of yourself it will grind you down.

To keep going long into the night, you have to think about nutrition, exercise, and how much downtime you are getting. This will give you more time in the long-term because you are not going to crash.

Quality Must Come First

Gavin Belson is the main antagonist of the series, and his company sucks. Nucleus is about as bad as Apple Maps, which is a notorious mapping app produced by Apple known for guiding people off bridges. It only goes to show that you absolutely have to put quality first, and that means testing.

Every startup should be spending their time testing their products and making sure that they are the best they possibly can be.


Silicon Valley may have been produced for entertainment purposes, but there are a lot of things entrepreneurs can learn about startups. Which lesson do you think is the most important?