Oh, Jared… What have you done? In ‘Daily Active Users’, Richard and co. had finally managed to solve all their external problems, only to start having internal ones.
Gavin has been beaten, Pied Piper is the most popular app in the Hooli store, and all is well among the Pied Piper members during the 500,000 installations celebration. They can even afford to waste money on a tables ad! However, we are almost in the season finale, which means that there has to be some sort of conflict. This time, the problem comes from the fact that they only have 19,000 daily users, which is too low to get their next round of funding. These are the type of problems that don’t just happen; they’re usually a sign of something else that needs to be fixed. This time it’s not Gavin… it’s Richard.
The actual problem started in ‘To Build a Better Beta’, when a self-conscious Richard didn’t dare to use unknown beta testers and just preferred to ask people he knows: people from inside the tech industry. The outcome of this action is that the platform is too complicated for the average user. Instead of acknowledging his mistake and simplifying the platform, Richard decides the best way to go about it is to give countless of classes, seminars and interviews on technology and how Pied Piper works. While I understand this plot point was used to illustrate how inept Richard is when it comes to business management, I found it a bit frustrating that he did not realize that his way of doing things was not only completely illogical, but also futile.
All in all, the result is very negative: Richard is so upset that he even plans to give up (which felt a bit precipitated after having gotten so far). Erlich and Jared, who have always been Richard’s main support pillars, are still there, but it’s not really for the best. As the new head of PR, Erlich claims that he supports Richard at all costs, even if he admits that he’s doing the wrong thing, and Jared’s loyalty (or desperation) leads him to buy users by using a click farm. Because that sounds like a great idea.
Many viewers, including myself, already anticipated that Gavin would be back in full force for the finale. The ex-head of Hooli meets up with Douglas, one of Pied Piper’s ex-workers, and uses him to get back at Pied Piper (it’s always about trading ex-workers in this show). Baker and his “box” are back as well, which should be interesting.
‘Daily Active Users’ is actually an example of how many tech experts actually lack business skills, and how that can mean death for many promising projects. This time, the problems come from Richard’s insecurity (not sending beta to non-tech people) and his lack of understanding of the business world. Both these things, especially the second one, are conflicts that could have been avoided if Jared, who is supposed to know about this stuff, would have told Richard about them earlier. If anything, it makes me curious as to how Richard will handle this situation when he finds out about what Jared has done and whether they’ll have to reconsider everyone’s positions in the company. ‘Daily Active Users’ was a very enjoyable episode that did its job in setting a very interesting scenario for the season finale, even if it had to force some plot points and character reactions to get there.