PODCAST | Launching into its third season, STARTUP veers off into a different direction, but a familiar theme. Instead of following a single business — like a podcasting company or an internet matchmaking service — it's tackling the stories of multiple startups centered around the subject of failure. Some of these stories are classic Paul Harvey-style tales of "at first they failed, but now that company is worth billions of dollars." The more interesting ones are the semi-failures, like the guy who takes food from Trader Joe's and sells it across the border in Vancouver, British Columbia. He goes to absurd lengths and works long hours for his startup, and barely makes ends meet. Ah, but the pursuit of an independent dream of a quirky idea that no one else has? To a lot of people, that's worth a life in near-poverty.
TV | Just as brilliantly as the StartUp podcast glorifies the startup world, SILICON VALLEY punctures it. You know how you love Office Space, and still quote it to your friends constantly? HBO's Silicon Valley is from the same guy — Mike Judge — and every single episode is as brilliant as Office Space. You see, mindless corporate absurdity doesn't change, it just trades the tie for a sweatshirt hoodie and swaps buzzwords like "synergy" for buzzwords like "disruption." Judge is unmatched in his ability to combine insight with profane, acidic comedy. That hasn't waned at all in the third season, which explores the idea that wild success doesn't make your dreams come true — it just makes your dreams subject to a board of directors obsessed with the highest possible share price.
GAME | STARDEW VALLEY, on the other hand, puts you in the role of a more traditional sort of startup entrepreneur: a pixelated farmer. As a Stardew Valley farmer, you have plenty of choices: Do you focus on hoeing down, spend your day fertilizing soil and planting pumpkins and blueberries and corn and potatoes? Do you put all your eggs in one basket, and raise chickens to provide eggs to put in your one basket? Or do you shrug off all of that and while away the hours with a fishin' pole in your hand, bringing up carp and tuna and the occasional strand of seaweed? Or do you head into the darkness, deeper and deeper into the mines, chipping away at ore with your pickaxe and slashing at bats with your sword? The result is as addictive as Facebook games like Farmville, except there's an actual game here, not just clicking and microtransactions.♦