Personal blog of Alicia Fowler, aka @aliciaef, senior strategist at FutureBrand. Topics covered include brands, branding, technology, and space, and more!

Tech branding on HBO's Silicon Valley

(WARNING! A few of this GIFs are definitely inapprops, but, hey, we're all adults, right?)

So what did we learn in this week's episode Silicon Valley? 

  • Every brand name can get SMLR
  • Tech based jargon seduces the less knowledgeable
  • No one understands trademarks
  • Shrooms and branding don't always mix  

As we followed the trials and tribulations of Pied Piper out of engineering and into marketing, I couldn't help but laugh even harder this week. The writers managed to pin every bit of jargon, every silly naming trick, and every ridiculous aggrandizing business claim.

(For those who don't watch the show, it's about an engineering—Richard—turns down $10 million from the CEO of Hooli—aka Google—for an algorithm, and instead receives a modest investment from a zany venture capitalist who helps him create his own company—Pied Piper.)

Now it's worth noting that the central premise of this week is that Richard's use of the name Pied Piper for a compression software company infringes upon the trademark for an irrigation company with the same name. While this creates great dramatic tension (negotiations, ass-whooping, etc.), it's not exactly legally accurate. Trademarks fall into different classes and without some kind of overlapping business (such as software for irrigation), it's highly unlikely these two businesses would face a trademark dispute. Hence how we have both Delta airlines and the Delta faucet business.

But, legal bits out of the way, let's get onto the goodies.

So, what's the best way to evaluate a name? (These GIFs courtesy of Hulu.)


Why are naming brainstorms sometimes terrible? Because you end up with this.  

Now we all have different ways of arriving at a company name, but this might be the funniest, albeit questionable from a legal and safety perspective...

 ...not to mwntion when you do go on a vision quest in te desert on shrooms, you'll most certainly find yourself in the tech logo cloud


And finally, yes, some tech logos just make no sense. (These GIFs courtesy of BallerLikeMe)

So there we have it kids, branding for tech, as taught to you by HBO.