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tv   Mike Judge Discusses Silicon Valley  CSPAN  January 20, 2017 9:22am-9:41am EST

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for you. >> a smaller scale one. >> i have one other question, which i just quickly want to ask. razor is min. what happens when min wants to leave? do you have plans to leave? just a quick answer because we're totally out of time. >> i don't think razor is min. i think it's great designers and engineers and so i think that pretty much answers it. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> thanks for joining us again at disrupt, mike. >> thanks for having me. >> and thank you for making it a million times easier to explain to my relatives what i do for a living. i really appreciate that. so i wanted to go back to when silicon valley first premiered and i remember watching the first episode and laughing a bunch, but also being like, no
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one is going to get this. this is totally going to die. i was wrong. what made you feel confident that this is a show that america would get? >> you know, i thought it was incredibly good. no, i think, i mean, i'm not really, especially back when we were first starting. i'm not a tech insider. i worked as an engineer a long time ago in silicon valley and even then, i felt like an outsider. so i always kind of approached it from an outsiders point of view, so the people i pitched it to at hbo and people working on it, these were all non-tech people. that's always been the, we're very conscious of not trying to make it too inside and having it be more about just a character who's socially awkward who
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suddenly has all this light on him and money at lay and those kind of things. trying to make it relatable that way. >> when you pitched it to hbo, did they get it right away or have some skepticism? >> there was some skepticism. i mean, i had done this movie "office space" which, you know, a while back but that's like, you're going to make a movie about people in cubicles who are miserable? at least there's some people getting rich and a little bit of excitement. >> "office space" was a bleaker. it was an idea about video game developers and i don't really know that world much at all, so
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i said, i wasn't interested doing that but what about something like this? that's how it started. >> i want to talk about the research that you guys have done which included coming to disrupt first kind of secretly for research and then came on stage. what was the first visit like? i mean, was it pretty much what you expected? >> i mean, it was more than i expected, better than i expected. it was very eye opening. i mean, for us, you know, we had shot the pilot. the the way way it works in tv, shoot that. if they like it, they green light the series. they green lit the series. and alecbu burg was the co-show writer and we were in the office thinking, we've got to make all this stuff up. we don't even know what these people do, really. we know it's people programming, building this thing. so we started doing a ton of research. i didn't even know what tech
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crunch disrupt was and then we found out about, there's a launch pad. l.a.'s incubator in l.a. and this woman jamie told us about start-up battlefield and i heard that, like, start-up battlefield? that's like a war. that's what we need. we need some drama. and so coming up here and yeah, we came up and just sort of spied on you guys here. we just kind of walked around and watched the whole start-up battlefield and it's just perfect for our show. >> you mentioned the writer and what he mentioned is you guys shot a bit of footage here so when people watched the episodes of the show and particularly, they sort of complained about how heavy some of the footage was, you guys were like, that's actual disrupt. do you feel like there's things we could be doing better? >> for diversity?
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>> yeah, for diversity. >> it seems like, okay, that was 2013 when i came here. it seems like there's been a huge push for diversity which is great. even just backstage, there was the, what is it called? the girls, i'm ferorgetting the name but the 16-year-old girl with the app that recognizes symptoms of parkinson's and incredible stuff, but yeah, i was actually watching with a canon 5-d shooting stuff myself never thinking it would be in the show to show extras casting and people like, okay, this is what they look like, you know? and yeah. it was about 85% dudes in that audience shot. and i think alec was talking to a coo and said the audience shot
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is sexist and i said, that's a real audience. when you do satire, you take what's there but we didn't have to exaggerate. >> just reading that quote was pretty tough, but totally fair and the main cast is largely male, largely white/asian and as you said, the industry itself is trying to change the way people think about engineers, about tech. do you think the show should reflect that too? >> yeah, and i think we are. we have a little bit, but the beginning, i didn't want to come off as sort of phony hollywood pandering. i wanted to try to make it pretty realistic. the research i did, it was like, very high percentage of male. i mean, i went into a pretty big room at google with the
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programmers and counted two women out of, i don't know how many. so when you do satire, you're making fun of it. that was our way of kind of poking fun at the world. i didn't anticipate just how kind of charged up this issue was. like, i had done "king of the hill" for 13 seasons and in the entire 13 years, nobody complained there weren't women working in propane. but i get it. there was propane, not a lot of money and power in it. nobody cares about poor old p propane. >> you used to work in silicon valley, mumble mumble years ago,
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but with the research, did you feel like this is a continuing version of what i experienced? or pretty different. >> it's different in a lot of ways. i think the characters are kind of the same but the landscape has changed. when i worked here in the late 8 '80s, kind of hardware was the thing. so the barrier to entry to a start-up was a little higher because you had to, it just took more money. you couldn't get 3 or 4 people who programmed and built an app. and, god, i'm old. there were no cell phones. >> you look great. >> thank you. clean living. but yeah, no. it's, again, like, i think the characters are kind of similar,
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and i think the characters i put in "office space," had they been born 20 years later, could easily be in a start-up. and also just kind of just more money involved. i remember back then, thinking, rent was high and i had an apartment in east palo alto. it was all i could afford and thinking, can't get anymore expensive and it just kept, more and more money flooding into this place. >> one of the other things you said about silicon valley in this profile about the show in the new yorker is great and you said you think one of the conflicts right now is between sort of the libertarian camp and the hippie of silicon valley. does that seem like a new phenomenon to you? >> i think that was still kind of going on a little bit when i
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was here. >> what's interesting to me is there's a lot of companies competing for billions of dollars in users and all this stuff and in wall street and making the world a better place and a lot of these apps are. and for comedy, it's just kind of a funny thing to make fun of. and yeah, i think that comes out of hippie culture, ultimately. which isn't a bad thing. i think there's a lot more attention on just charity and all of this kind of stuff that you would have in new york and the '80s. >> to be fair, i do think that you guys have now made it a lot
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harder for a start-up to come on stage and say we make the world a better place. so mostly, thank you for that. >> we took them to lunch and so they had seen the pilot. so we'd done the pilot which had the stuff in it and they bring out the first start-up to talk to us. it's five guys, one east indian. it's like the same ratio and they did the pitch and it was, saying we're making the world a better place and exactly our group in the pilot. >> do you think that when we talk about this idea of, you know, dressing up this usually a for-profit business idea in this rhetoric? sort of idealistic hippie
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rhetoric, is that a good thing? i live in new york and definitely some people there would rather see it be more honest and like, we're just going to make a ton of money! >> i suppose it doesn't matter that much. i think coming from hollywood which is a little bit more in the middle. i don't think you would hear jj abram say, why are you making "star wars"? because i want to make a world a better place and improve people's lives and, you know. >> but i love "star wars". >> i want to make a kick ass movie and i love "star wars." >> as the show has gone on, you guys have built what seems like
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a pretty incredible network on the show. including the former coo of twitter and a whole bunch of people, right? >> we've been very lucky to have so many great consultants and people reach out to us, tell us great stories. early on, like i say, when alec and i were sitting in the office going, what do we do here? we've got to learn about this world. we don't know enough. we had a guy who's still on the show, jonathan who is just immensely helpful. and that just informed a lot of what we wrote about and now we have dick costello right after on twitter would sit in the writer's room two days a week. it was awesome. that's been nice. >> i think there's people who work full-time in the show and seems like you kind of do a tour where you talk to the different companies. as you've done that, i mean, and people it seems, silicon valley in general embraced the show,
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does it make it harder to do biting satire? >> i don't think so because the kind of people that we've become friends with tend to not take themselves very seriously. so the ones that do, we don't end up talking too much. dick costello, for example, was in our show playing himself talking to jeremy about how we bought a bad vineyard, someone sold him a bad vineyard. so it's like, you know, and that's pretty self-deprecating, i think. >> i think one of the other things, what's weird is as the show has become popular in the industry is that you actually have people who are inspired by silicon valley and as a
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satirist, what is that like for you? >> that's great. when i did "office space," i had people tell me it inspired them to quit their job. to do something that might inspire people to get a job, or to do a start-up. i have heard that a little bit and it's great. i mean, i love it. i think it feels good to build something and do something your own way. i can relate to it. >> i guess it does seem to be the difference between silicon valley and office space. you were like, this is corrupt and terrible and you're like, there's a lot of dumb things but fundamentally, you don't think it's as screwed up. >> we're writing a show about these characters. if we were completely believing that what they did was bad or stupid or whatever, you wouldn't want to watch it. in real life, i would like these guys and, you know, i would want to, i think, i like the
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characters. so yeah, ultimately, you want to root for them and yeah. i think it's, i like that part of the world, the start-up part of it. >> this afternoon on c-span 2, the senate returns at 4:00 p.m. for votes on two of president-elect's nominations. retired general james mattis for secretary and john kelly for homeland security. on saturday, the women's march on washington scheduled speakers including gloria steinam and many others. live coverage on sunday, 10:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> this week on american history tv, saturday night at 9:00 eastern, santa clara university professor nancy uncer looks at the role of gay bars.
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>> many closeted gays, for example, go to a gay bar. and in these bars, they find out they're not the only ones, there are lots of people who are atypical sexually and when the war is over, they don't want to return to their small town closet but in the cities where they first experienced some self-acceptance. >> and at 10:30, government policy makers and officials talk about the 1991 non-liugar act. >> what we found is that to the russians, the nuclear complex was not an inheritance from hell. to them, it was the means for the the revival of a great russia. >> sunday evening at 6:00 on american artifacts, fdr
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presidential library and national archive on their efforts to preserve ten of franklin d. roosevelt's most important speeches. >> what's left in the film is based on historical significance, frequency of how often they're requested and quality of the footage as well. >> and at 8:00 on the presidency, the tgill universit from president harry trueman to barack obama. >> i said i would commit political suicide if i didn't support this. is audience participation part of a program? it was said next slide, jimmy carter in 1977, fooled ya. >> for complete american history tv

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