He may be brash, outspoken, and a little uncouth at times (most times), but Erlich Bachman (T.J. Miller) is 100% determined to succeed. For the last three seasons on Silicon Valley (available to stream anytime on HBO Now), Erlich has worked to foster wunderkind Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) and help turn his compression algorithm into the heart of a company that could help change the world. While Erlich may have had some moderate success with his old startup, Aviato, it’s his willingness to say, and do, absolutely anything that makes him an essential part of Pied Piper team. The next time you need to do some serious self-promotion, let these Erlich Bachman lines be your guide.
“Don’t be the guy that’s always asking ‘what if?'”
At first, Richard didn’t seem to be contributing much to Erlich’s incubator, but when the compression algorithm that was buried in his app’s clunky UI starts to get noticed by the right people, Erlich, for the first time, starts to show his visionary side. Torn between competing offers from two rival tech giants — one that wants to buy his tech outright and the other which wants to help him develop his own company — Richard chooses the latter, in part, based on Erlich’s advice. Whether it’s your own idea or you’re just hitching your wagon to the right star, thinking big is often the first step to success.
“Richard, if you’re not an asshole, it creates this kind of asshole vacuum and that void is filled by other assholes. Like Jared.”
In the early days of Pied Piper, Erlich invested a lot of time trying to coach Richard into being the kind of person he needed to be so he could properly run a company. Granted, he just shouted that advice whenever Richard was within earshot most of the time, but here, Erlich goes one better and explains to Richard why he needs to change in order to have a real shot at coming out on top. Think of it as the business mentoring equivalent of teaching a man to fish. After all, the more people that can project your vision of success, the better.
“A name is something that defines a company. It has to be primal. Something you can scream out during intercourse.”
Despite Richard’s insistence on the name Pied Piper (and his questionable choice of logo), Erlich wants to think big while appealing to the lowest common denominator. Instead of agreeing to the name Pied Piper, Erlich has a much grander vision: to take mushrooms out in the desert and have a new name come to him. Now, this isn’t to say that every brainstorming session requires a dose of hallucinogens, but clinging to something out of sentiment might not be the best strategy for your brand. That and some good old-fashioned outside-the-box thinking never hurt. Just make sure you stay up-to-date on all the traffic info, lest you spend your vision quest locked inside a gas station bathroom.
“A cool company needs a cool logo. You think those guys over at Nucleus are hiring a convicted felon to paint a mural on their garage?”
One of the most fundamental aspects of success is staying competitive, and while Pied Piper was going head-to-head with tech giant Hooli, Erlich tried to energize their brand by hiring street artist Chuy (Anthony Campos) to design their new logo on his garage door. By the time the work is complete, Chuy’s design proves to be a bit more… controversial than anticipated, to the point that even Erlich questions its effectiveness. Still, the takeaway here is that success means taking some risks now and then. Maybe just not on your garage door, though.
“You just brought piss to a sh*t fight.”
Pied Piper hires a prodigy known as ‘The Carver’ to help finish a crucial part of their platform, and it turns out he’s not only a kid who’s still in high school, but he requires a diet of Adderall and Oreos to get his job done. In a disastrous attempt to secure the Adderall, Richard gets hustled (and humiliated) by a neighborhood kid. It’s this moment that Erlich takes to the streets and proves that he’s willing to stop at nothing to make sure Pied Piper becomes a success. Without a doubt, this is the kind of drive and determination you should aspire to. Though you will want to do your best to not attack random neighborhood kids.
“We are going to win, even if I have to go out into the auditorium and personally jerk off every guy in that audience.”
They say inspiration can come from the most unlikely places, and when things look grim for the future of Pied Piper, Erlich rallies everyone’s spirits by announcing just how far he’s willing to go to make sure they win TechCrunch. While his proclamation prompts an elaborate (and mathematically correct) dick joke, it also inspires Richard to re-write his platform from the ground up to wildly successful results. When the chips are down, and you think you might be beat, remember that the best ideas may come from the most unlikely places.
“If they want to negotiate using hostility and rudeness, well, they picked the wrong guy.”
The phrase ‘nice guys finish last’ is never more relevant than it is in the business world. As soon as Erlich realizes he can inflate the value of Pied Piper by acting rude toward their potential investors, he runs absolutely wild with the idea. While there’s a certain truth that shrewd decisions go hand-in-hand with success, you might want to be aware of the line between a shrewd decision and burning too many bridges.
“Richard, when George Washington founded a little start up know as these United States of America, when he was tired of taking sh*t from his CEO, the King of England, did he just roll over and take it from behind? No.”
When you think big in business, you’ve got to think big about everything — and that includes your inspirational speeches. When Erlich needs to pull a winner-take-all example from history, he goes straight for founding father George Washington. His pep talk to the rest of the guys gets them thinking about pulling off a rebellion from within their own company as a way to force their platform onto market in spite of what their new CEO Jack Barker (Stephen Tobolowsky) wants. It’s bold, risky, potentially dangerous move, and it is exactly the kind of thinking that just might help guarantee* your success.
*Success not guaranteed.