hbo's silicon valley

‘Silicon Valley’ Gets It Right: Real-Life Tech Billionaires Who Act Like Big Babies

"Maybe they're all emotional vampires — they stop maturing as soon as they achieve success."
Peter Gregory, man-child. (HBO)

Peter Gregory, man-child. (HBO)

We learned on last week’s Silicon Valley episode of the longstanding tension between Peter Gregory and Gavin Belson. But last night, we were finally treated to a face-to-face confrontation between the arch-nemesis billionaires — and were reminded how despite their money, rich people often behave like babies.

Mr. Gregory freaks out when Mr. Belson shows up at the same restaurant as him — here’s a man who can find a way to make bajillions of dollars off sesame seeds, but can’t possibly fathom socializing normally with one of his peers. After a cringeworthy exchange of courtesies, Mr. Belson tells Mr. Gregory that he’ll be the keynote speaker at TechCrunch Disrupt, and that he’ll be unveiling Nucleus — Hooli’s Pied Piper counterpart — in the startup battlefield. Later in the episode, Monica tells Richard that now he must present Pied Piper at the conference, or else it’ll look like Mr. Gregory is “running way” from Mr. Belson.

“Peter would spend millions just to mildly annoy Gavin,” she says. “These are billionaires, Richard. Humiliating each other is worth more to them than we’ll make in a lifetime.”

In other words, most tech billionaires are just huge babies. Seriously — if you look past their huge amounts of power and money, Mr. Gregory and Mr. Belson are each no more sophisticated than your average Regina George.

And sadly, that’s not so unlike many of the tech powerhouses currently ruling Silicon Valley.

Mr. Spiegel, probably complaining about something. (Getty)

Mr. Spiegel, probably complaining about something. (Getty)

Take Snapchat CEO and multi-millionaire Evan Spiegel, for instance — remember when he behaved like a stubborn child and took a week and a half to finally apologize for the massive leak of 4.6 million users’ personal data? And then, of course, there was the time Mr. Spiegel tried to convince Forbes that he’d made Mark Zuckerberg travel to L.A. to meet with him — when really, Mr. Zuckerberg had just conveniently happened to be traveling there, anyway.

And speaking of Mr. Zuckerberg, let’s not forget the time he and Sean Parker got in a very public, drunken fight at a West Hollywood nightclub over whether or not Spotify should require users to sign up for Facebook. COOL, GUYS. Definitely something worth brawling over.

And yes, we’re talking about Mr. Parker — he who childishly whined and complained when everybody got mad at him for destroying a huge chunk of endangered redwoods. His life must be so hard.

We guess these childlike antics are what happen when you’re ultra-rich and don’t have real-world problems to contend with. If we didn’t have to worry about making rent and finding a way into work when the subways are down, we’d probably pick stupid fights with people at fancy nightclubs, too.

There’s also the possibility that because many of tech’s big names stumbled onto huge sums of money and power at such young ages, they were never forced to employ adult behavior to get ahead. Maybe they’re all emotional vampires — they stop maturing as soon as they achieve success.

Whatever the case, if Mike Judge is really going for accuracy, this season better end with a mystical, medieval-themed wedding where Mr. Gregory wears a fur cape and Olivia Munn holds bunnies.

Follow Jordyn Taylor on Twitter or via RSS. jtaylor@observer.com