Like all HBO opening sequences, the Silicon Valley credits are a remarkable little world unto themselves. I’ve seen the segment dozens of times, but until I watched this breakdown I had no idea how much of technology’s recent history is packed into the short clip.
YouTuber Shots Fired explains in his analysis of the segment that Mike Judge didn’t even want to waste precious show time on a credits sequence but HBO insisted. Design firm Yu + Co was brought in to oversee it, and each year the credits are updated based on the upheavals that happened in the industry since the last season.
Those who keep up with the business of the Valley probably won’t need some of the introductions to companies like Theranos and Soylent. But if you’re like me, you didn’t notice the FBI parked in front of Theranos’s headquarters. Uber and Lyft’s respective black and pink balloons very prominently collide in the air, but I didn’t notice the Chinese ridesharing startup Didi Chuxing has its orange balloon quietly creeping in on them. Nearby, you can see fired Twitter executives bailing out with literal golden parachutes. Right by Soylent’s headquarters, you can see a row of porta-potties, a reference to the company’s problems with making people sick. And you have to love the Snapchat ghost menacingly haunting Facebook headquarters.
The list of references goes on and on, but better to just see for yourself. Notably, there are some really subtle nods to the class war that’s currently being fought in the Silicon Valley region that would be difficult to pick up on otherwise.