S03E10 - The Uptick
No: 28 | Season: 3 Episode: 10 | Air Date: 26-Jun-16
Gavin's ruse of using an elephant as a metaphor backfires when the elephant dies on the Hooli campus. Hoover's plan to have a military sky crane drop the elephant carcass into the ocean backfires after Gavin fires Patrice, and she whistleblows the sordid details to C.J. Cantwell at Code/Rag. To silence the story, Gavin buys the Code/Rag blog for $2 million, making 50% owners Erlich and Big Head solvent again. Meanwhile, everybody at Pied Piper knows about the paid users from the Bangladeshi click-farm, except Erlich, and he brilliantly uses the "uptick" to generate a bidding war amongst venture capitalists. Just as he and Richard are heading to Coleman-Blair to sign a contract for a new $6 million round of investment, Richard begins to get cold feet regarding the "fraud" of the fake users. Just before signing the contract, Richard divulges the truth, the deal falls through, and Erlich is incensed that Richard did not inform him about the nature of the fake uptick. When Laurie Bream hears about the fake uptick, she decides to abandon Pied Piper and arranges to sell the company to Gavin Belson for $1 million. Meanwhile, Dinesh's video chat application, being superior to other video chat applications, gains significant users, making the guys begin to realize that video chat may be the future of their company. Finally, when Richard and Jared meet with the board to ratify the sale of Pied Piper to Hooli, they are elated to discover that Bachmanity has outbid Gavin Belson by one dollar, making Erlich and Big Head the new owners of Pied Piper.
Director and Writers
Director: Alec Berg
Written by: Alec Berg
Gavin: How the fuck does something like this happen? How does an elephant just die?
Patrice: He was very old and depressed. He'd recently been rescued from the circus, but as it turns out, he actually really loved performing.
Patrice: Gavin, you always said that here at Hooli, "In order to achieve greatness, we must first achieve goodness."
Gavin: Right. So?
Patrice: I was a bridesmaid at Sean Parker's wedding when he handed out live bunnies as plush toys. That wasn't goodness. It was badness. And so is this. You're using endangered animals just to make points at board meetings.
Gavin: I'm drawing thoughtful, zoological comparisons.
Patrice: But couldn't you just show them a picture of these animals? A simple Hooli search would yield thousands of choices.
Erlich: I was at The Rosewood for lunch. I mean, it was the lunch hour. I was there, I wasn't eating, the usual. So, I walk over to Andreessen and I say something funny, but he stone-faces me.
Gilfoyle: What did you say?
Erlich: It doesn't matter. The point is, it was hilarious, but he gave me nothing and neither did his friends. Then I realized why.
Gilfoyle: You're not funny?
Erlich: No, Gilfoyle, but that is. No, it's that everybody thinks Pied Piper is in this death spiral, so it would be inappropriate to laugh at my hysterical joke. And it hits me. I know something that they don't. I know about the uptick.
Richard: The uptick?
Erlich: Yes, the uptick! The recent sudden surge in users.
Jared: (chuckles nervously) Yeah.
Erlich: That. Yes, that. So, while our fortune is rising, everybody else thinks that it's plummeting, and I can use these opposing forces to a multiplying effect like a slingshot, and then I make a decision. I'm gonna make a move. So, I say something cryptic about the uptick, and I walk away.
Dinesh: What did you say?
Erlich: I don't know. I can't remember. But I walk over and I see McNamee's having the short rib, which I hear is delicious but not too heavy, and then I say to him, "You're gonna have to tuck in your tie-dye if you want to eat here."
Dinesh: (laughing) Uh, how's that relevant?
Erlich: It's not. But the people that I just walked away from don't know that. All they know is that I'm over there exchanging witty banter with McNamee, and about what, they don't know. It's all that they do want to know. And then, it settles in. FOMO... The fear of missing out. Suddenly, it feels like time is slowing down. I could see every move I was going to make 12 steps ahead. It was like I was Bobby Fischer if he could really fuck. I go outside, I walk across the street to Graylock, I check in on Instagram, Vinod Khosla calls me, asks me what I doing there. I say, "I can't talk right now. Call me at Wood Opal." Well, he does, and then suddenly Wood Opal is going, "What's Khosla got going on with Bachman?" Meanwhile, I'm taking a leak at a Restoration Hardware. I jack off a little bit. I don't cum. And then it snowballs. I deftly played Ross Loma against Index Ventures. And because of that, the big kahuna bites. Sequoia. I spend the next 20 minutes denying calls from Jim Goetz, over and over. And yes, I'm jacking off, but I don't need to ejaculate because by the time I listen to the messages, I've got offers, I've got counters, I've got counter-counters. I cum. When the dust settled and the losers went home, all that was left was this. "Hello, Mr. Bachman. "Coleman Blair Partners would like to offer Pied Piper a Series B round of $6 million on a $60 million valuation."
Jared: Oh. (whispers) Yeah!
Dinesh: Holy shit.
Erlich: It's my Mona Lisa. And the entire cornerstone upon which I built this motherfucking cathedral that I will forever be remembered for, was this beautiful little uptick. I think I have a bottle of Cold Duck in the crisper. Who's drinking? Come on! I got a bottle of Martinelli's for you, Jared.
Dinesh: Oh, it's unreal.
Dinesh: Almost like some of our users.
Richard: What? What what does that mean?
Dinesh: Oh, "unreal" has so many meanings. "Fake," "paid for," "one person in Bangladesh pretending to be 6,000."
Richard: Okay. Um All right, Dinesh, um...
Dinesh: Oh, no. I don't want to know a fucking thing.
Richard: Okay then. Great. I won't tell you anything because nothing happened.
Gilfoyle: But if something did happen, and we're not saying it did, the fact remains that leaves us in a very advantageous position. There's a lot of money on the table. And it would be a shame if that went away.
Dinesh: You know what else would be a shame is if I couldn't find my flash drive. Gilfoyle, have you seen my flash drive?
Gilfoyle: Right, the one with the zombie script on it?
Dinesh: Why yes, the zombie script that randomizes user action in platforms such as Pied Piper.
Gilfoyle: You mean so that fake users and click farms would be absolutely indistinguishable from real users?
Dinesh: Oh, I suppose. I mean, especially during due diligence, like the kind done by VCs or possible future reviews done by certain regulatory bodies. It also had photos of my auntie. Anyway, Gilfoyle, have you seen it?
Dinesh: I have not. Mm, well, Richard, keep an eye out for it, will ya? (places a flash drive on the ground) Hey, Gilfoyle, you wanna come inside and help me get a new flash drive on www.staples.com?
Gilfoyle: Yeah, I think we're sort of done with the ruse.
Dinesh: Okay, fine. Well, whatever you did or didn't do, that was serial-killer-level shit.
Gilfoyle: Agreed. I think I finally respect you as a CEO.
Jared: This is fraud.
Richard: Is it? I mean, our our platform does exactly what we say it does. Okay? It's not like we're lying about it like fucking Theranos. And if our platform works, which we know it will, we will make them billions of dollars. Everybody wins, Jared. You still believe that, right? That, if given enough time, the platform will catch on?
Jared: Richard, don't weaponize my faith in you against me.
Richard: Your faith made all this possible.
Jared: It's wrong.
Richard: Well, every time I try to do the right thing, I get fucked. And if I do the right thing here, we're done. That's it. Doesn't seem like much of an option, does it?
CJ Cantwell: I'm finishing a story I'd love a comment on. It's about the death of an unpermitted Indian elephant named Maurice in your sculpture garden and its subsequent illegal dumping in the San Francisco Bay.
Gavin: That's preposterous.
Erlich: CJ sold the blog for $2 million.
Dinesh: No shit.
Gilfoyle: Bachmanity rides again.
Erlich: Well, not exactly. Uh, I called Big Head to tell him that our share was worth half a mil each, and, uh, not five minutes later, his father, one Nelson Bighetti, Sr. called me and explained that I was never to have any financial dealings with his son in perpetuity, uh, ever or he would get very Italian on me. And I'm not interested to find out what that means.
Coleman-Blair VC: You can have your lawyers vet the actual stock purchase agreement once we close here just to make sure no one is pulling any funny business.
Richard: (laughs nervously) No, my lawyer is in jail, so.
Uber Driver: Are you Richard? Did you order an Uber?
Richard: (lies) Oh. No.
Erlich: All you had to do was keep your fucking mouth shut and sign that piece of paper. We would have fixed it afterwards. But you didn't. You caked your pants. No, better yet, you caked my pants. Fuck you, Richard Hendricks. Fuck you.
Uber Driver: (returns) Richard Hendricks, huh? Prick.
Gilfoyle: I spun together a few more servers. That should handle the traffic.
Dinesh: Look at this. There are 157 people using it near Gleb. And 400 people using it near Tara in Boston.
Gilfoyle: Yeah, I told her to give it to her Satanist friends out there. Looks like she did.
Dinesh: She knows 400 Satanists in Boston?
Gilfoyle: The Catholic church really did a number on that town.
Erlich: I'm actually using the first dollars of my blog windfall on a trip to Kainchi Dham Ashram in Nainital, India, where Steve Jobs famously sought peace and came up with the idea for a little product called the Lisa.
Richard: Not that it matters. I mean, it's all gonna be property of Gavin Belson in an hour, so.
Big Head: That's ironic, huh? No, for real, I'm asking. Is it?
Richard: I don't know. I was just smiling.
Big Head: Feels ironic.
Richard: When's your dad coming to pick you up?
Big Head: Uh, a couple of hours I guess. Then we're turning right around and going back to Phoenix. You know, he said he wants to be able to keep an eye on me and my money and that I need to get a real job to learn the value of a hard day's night or something like that.
Laurie: The sale is approved. Pied Piper, its IP, and all of its assets are now officially the property of Bachmanity, LLC.
Richard: Wait, sorry, did did you just say "Bachmanity"? As in Erlich Bachman and Nelson Bighetti?
Laurie: Yes, you know them.
Monica: They wait, they they had the highest bid?
Laurie: I received a telephone call approximately 30 minutes ago entering a bid of one million and one dollars with a firm no-shop clause.
Richard: So when you were referring to the person who bought Pied Piper as a contemptible asshole, you were talking about Erlich?
Laurie: To which contemptible asshole did you think I was referring?
Monica: Gavin Belson.
Erlich: (answers his phone) Go for Erlich.
Jian-Yang: Erlich Bachman, this is you as an old man. I'm ugly and I'm dead. Alone.
Erlich: (aside) I'm gonna let him have this one. All right, uh well, I'm sorry to hear that, Future Me. What a terrible thing. I'll talk to you in several years.
"Rise Up" by Cypress Hill Ft. Tom Morello (End credits music.)
Notes and Trivia
The elephant's name was Maurice.
When Erlich refers to "McNamee", he is talking about Roger McNamee, a founding partner of the venture capital firm Elevation Partners.
If you look carefully, you can see that the Code/Rag "Have Tech Dirt to Spill?" graphic on the security desk's computer screen was in a limited browser window, just like a pop-up ad.
In this episode you can finally see the full damage caused to driver-side front of the Aviato vehicle, caused when Richard slammed into the "BamBot" in S03E01. In previous Season 3 episodes you could only see that the hood no longer closed properly.
The end of this episode marks the third season where the guys play the "Always blue! Always blue!" game. Incidentally, the toy ball they use is a "Hoberman Switch Pitch Throwing Ball".
When Erlich says "Big! Head!" at the end of this episode it is a repeat of when he said the same thing to Big Head at the end of S01E01.
The writer of this episode, Alec Berg, was nominated for an Emmy award for "Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series".
Notice when Dinesh and Gilfoyle speak to Richard near the pool, a button on the back of Richard's collar is buttoned and then unbuttoned, making it seem that the button disappears and reappears.
|Starring||Thomas Middleditch||Richard Hendricks|
|Starring||T.J. Miller||Erlich Bachman|
|Starring||Josh Brener||Nelson 'Big Head' Bighetti|
|Starring||Martin Starr||Bertram Gilfoyle|
|Starring||Kumail Nanjiani||Dinesh Chugtai|
|Starring||Zach Woods||Jared Dunn|
|Starring||Matt Ross||Gavin Belson|
|Starring||Suzanne Cryer||Laurie Bream|
|Starring||Jimmy O. Yang||Jian Yang|
|Guest Starring||Jill Alexander||Patrice|
|Guest Starring||Annie Sertich||C.J. Cantwell|
|Guest Starring||Stephen Tobolowsky||Jack Barker|
|Guest Starring||Chris Williams||Hoover|
|Co-Starring||Ari Frenkel||Young Guy|
|Co-Starring||Alyssa Gabrielle Rodriguez||Coleman Assistant|
|Co-Starring||Miljan Milosevic||Grozdan 'Gleb' Georgiev Radin|
|Co-Starring||Bert Rotundo||Hooli Employee|
|Co-Starring||Nikhil Shukla||Uber Driver|