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Silicon Valley gets a reality show

Aarti Shahani Nov 5, 2012

Silicon Valley gets a reality show

Aarti Shahani Nov 5, 2012

It’s trendy these days to talk about merging Hollywood’s sex appeal with Silicon Valley’s geek power.

Randi Zuckerberg, the big sister of Facebook’s founder, is making a splashy attempt at just that. Her new reality TV show “Start-Ups” airs tonight on Bravo, and a collective cringe in running through parts of Silicon Valley.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t show up to Randi’s red carpet launch last night in San Francisco. Still, Randi says she owes it all to him: “My brother really inspired me to go do things that were out of his comfort zone. And you know, I think a lot of the buzz around this show already shows that nothing that’s safe is ever worth doing.”

“Start-Ups” follows six entrepreneurs as they get smashed at toga parties, hook up, and pitch their start-ups to big-time venture capitalists.

Dwight Crow, founder of the multimillion-dollar startup Carsabi, is among the cast. “If you’re not aiming for something a billion dollars or larger,” he says in the trailer, “why waste your time?”

Hermione Way, who launches a startup with her brother Ben on the show, chimes in, “The future of the world is in our hands, and we’re not letting it pass by.”

Lest you confuse this with a future envisioned by say, the Kardashians, executive producer Zuckerberg says she has a higher purpose in mind: to recruit more women into tech.

“I don’t think we’re going to do that by forcing computer science programs down your throat,” Zuckerberg says. “I think we’re going to do it by making it really cool and part of pop culture.”

Sarah Austin, an Internet personality whose tweets are worth thousands of dollars, is building her own web TV show. Austin claims she didn’t even want to be on cable until Zuckerberg personally called her.

“I figured if there was a show about Silicon Valley startups and I wasn’t on it,” Austin confesses, “everybody would be asking me why I didn’t do it.”

And for anyone worried that manufacturing is dead in America, there’s plastic-surgery junkie David Murray: “I’ve had my nose done, I’ve had my eyes done twice, hair transplants, fractal thermage, IPL laser.” The Carnegie Mellon grad is building a mobile app to help people achieve goals like weight loss using a buddy system.

Bravo’s gotten a lot of heat for an all-white cast. Zuckerberg dismisses the criticism: “This is not you know, the authentic depiction of the Valley. This is an authentic depiction of the Valley.”

Zuckerberg says if “Start-Ups” gets a season two, she’s hoping for a cameo by her little brother Mark.

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