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Who created Pied Piper?

Pied Piper is a fictional compression software company featured in the HBO comedy series Silicon Valley. As it is a fictional company, Pied Piper was created by the writers and producers of the show. Specifically, it was likely first conceived of by Silicon Valley’s creator Mike Judge and other lead writers like John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky when they were developing the overall premise and storylines for the show before it began airing in 2014.

The Origin Story of Pied Piper on the Show

Within the storyline of Silicon Valley, Pied Piper is portrayed as being founded by a young programmer named Richard Hendricks. Richard first builds an initial version of Pied Piper’s compression algorithm while living in an incubator house with other programmers in Silicon Valley. He enters his compression software into a competition held by tech billionaire Gavin Belson and it impressively beats all the other entrants. Richard then seeks venture capital funding to build Pied Piper into a real company and take the product to market with the help of his friends who become his coworkers.

So in summary, Pied Piper was created within the fictional universe of Silicon Valley by the character Richard Hendricks, played by actor Thomas Middleditch. The broader satirical concept for Pied Piper as an upcoming start-up company disrupting the tech industry was devised by Mike Judge and the show’s other writers.

Some key milestones in Pied Piper’s fictional history include:

  • Richard creates an initial version of Pied Piper’s compression algorithm while living in an incubator house for programmers.
  • Pied Piper enters and wins a compression software competition held by Hooli and run by Gavin Belson.
  • Richard and his friends seek venture capital and launch Pied Piper as a company.
  • Pied Piper struggles with various development and leadership issues as the company evolves.
  • The company discovers its algorithm has powerful applications for data security and pivots to focus on this market.

The Creative Team Behind Silicon Valley

Though Pied Piper is a fictional company, there was of course a real team of writers, producers, directors, and actors behind the scenes who brought it to life on Silicon Valley. Some of the key creative talent included:

  • Mike Judge – Judge is the creator of Silicon Valley. He conceived the show’s characters and overall premise drawing on his background working in the tech industry in the 1980s. He has spearheaded the show as showrunner and executive producer.
  • John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky – Altschuler and Krinsky were co-executive producers and main writers on Silicon Valley from the beginning. They worked closely with Judge to develop storylines and scripts.
  • Thomas Middleditch – Middleditch has played Pied Piper founder Richard Hendricks throughout the show’s run and helped define the neurotic but brilliant tech CEO character.
  • Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, and Zach Woods – These three actors portray Pied Piper’s core programming team, bringing humor and humanity to the company’s chaotic product development efforts.

Together Judge, Altschuler, Krinsky and the ensemble cast built up Pied Piper as an iconic fictional startup over the show’s six seasons and established the company’s underdog identity. Even though Pied Piper is not real, the show’s sharp satire resonated because of how skillfully it skewered the absurd side of Silicon Valley culture.

Pied Piper as a Depiction of Tech Startup Struggles

Pied Piper goes through many classic startup struggles over the course of Silicon Valley’s seasons. This makes it emblematic of theexperience at many real emerging tech companies. Some of the key startup challenges faced by Pied Piper include:

  • Frequent Pivoting – Pied Piper has to continuously reorient its product to find a sustainable business model.
  • Leadership Conflicts – There are disagreements about the company’s direction between Richard and other executives.
  • Hiring Challenges – The company desperately seeks skilled engineers and has high turnover.
  • Problematic Investors – Investor Raviga Capital often pushes Pied Piper to act against its own interests.
  • Legal Issues – Hooli tries to sue Pied Piper for copyright infringement, among other suits.
  • Scaling Difficulties – Expanding the business and managing rapid growth spur new issues.

By hitting on these and other common startup hurdles, Silicon Valley uses Pied Piper to perceptively parody the difficult process of building a company in a hyper-competitive industry. Tech viewers undoubtedly connected with the exaggerated but still familiar scenarios and characters types portrayed on the show.

Pied Piper’s Breakthrough Compression Algorithm

At Pied Piper’s core is its proprietary compression algorithm, which is portrayed as being radically better than competing technologies. The algorithm’s development and capabilities drive much of the show’s plotlines. Here are some key facts about Pied Piper’s fictional compression tech:

  • It is based around an innovative middle-out compression approach Richard created.
  • In tests, it achieved Weissman scores of 2.89 and higher, far above normal compression tools.
  • This breakthrough allows Pied Piper to compress files much more efficiently.
  • The algorithm has significant applications for compressing and storing data more cheaply in the cloud.
  • Pied Piper later discovers its algorithm can provide powerful data encryption and security.

Though a fanciful creation for TV, Pied Piper’s level of compression expertise mirrors how many real Silicon Valley startups promise incredibly ambitious and transformative technologies. However, just like at many actual companies, Pied Piper struggles greatly to make its visionary product an everyday reality.

Pied Piper’s Arc Throughout Silicon Valley

Over its six seasons, Pied Piper goes through many ups and downs as Richard and his friends attempt to build upon their breakthrough idea. Here is an overview of Pied Piper’s storyline arc on Silicon Valley:

  • Richard creates the initial compression algorithm at the incubator house.
  • After success at Hooli’s competition, Richard gets major funding from Peter Gregory and starts Pied Piper.
  • The company struggles to build its platform and maintain leadership stability.
  • Pied Piper pivots from pure compression to data security and cloud storage.
  • The team faces issues monetizing their product and achieving mass adoption.
  • Gavin Belson steals Pied Piper’s IP forcing Richard to restart the company.
  • Pied Piper merges with video chat company PiperChat and prepares to go public.

This tumultuous history demonstrates both how revolutionary Pied Piper’s ideas could be, but also how difficult it was to apply them in a crowded tech marketplace up against fierce competition. Just like its real Silicon Valley counterparts, the fictional Pied Piper had to continuously adapt both its technology and business strategy in order to survive.


In the end, Pied Piper serves as an uproarious but insightful parody of Silicon Valley startups. Its fictional history over Silicon Valley’s seasons satirizes the experience at many real tech companies. While Pied Piper faced wild ups and downs, and made every mistake possible, it finally evolved into a successful company ready to change the world. The company’s underdog mentality was one many tech workers could connect with, even if its specific software was imaginary. Ultimately, Pied Piper brought to life the absurd but promising world of technical innovation through the show’s masterful storytelling and observant comedy.