Piper Pied Copies HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’ And Creates Baller Compression Algorithm


Photo Credit: HBO

To quote our favorite robot (not cyborg — sorry, Jared Patakian) Johnny Five, Pied Piper is ALIVE.

Well, kinda. The hapless company at the center of HBO’s biting tech startup satire, “Silicon Valley,” is now a real-life thing thanks to brother and sister team Peter Ma and Nancy Ghaly. On Sunday, the tech-savvy siblings presented a compression algorithm for online images, similar to Pied Piper, at the Disrupt NY Hackathon. And they’re calling it… Piper Pied.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all. They even kept the original Pied Piper logo (it’s reversed).

Ma and Ghaly, both fans of the HBO series and Bay Area residents, came up with the idea in Ma’s car on the way to Disrupt. (No explicit jerk-off theory necessary.)

“We were just talking about shows we watch and ideas for the Hackathon and Nancy kept saying ’What about Pied Piper, what about that? Is that possible?’ Then I was like, ’You know. that’s not too bad,’” Ma told TechCrunch.

Less than 24 hours later and the sibling duo had built a version of Richard’s lossless compression program that would identify people’s faces and compress the surrounding area.

“The algorithm detects the face and then from there it can compress everything else but the face so that you keep the quality of the face while technically lowering the quality in a way that is not noticeable to the human eye,” said Ma. This compression technology will ensure that the main focus of the image remains at a high quality, while the rest of the image is compressed for easy file sharing.

In the season two premiere of “Silicon Valley,” Hooli founder Gavin Belson warned that a “Datageddon” is a upon us. “There will be nothing short of a catastrophe — data shortages, data rationing, data black markets,” he said. According to Ma, this is a very real thing that could actually happen. “Datageddon is a real thing,” Ma said. (S–t just got real, Gilfoyle.)

But we still have one very important question: what is its Weissman Score?!