Directed by Melissa Haines
Featuring Christian Haines, Mark Vashro and Tim Meehan
Phil is in his late 30s/early 40s and is a relative tech industry old timer.
Tyler is in his mid 20s. He still parties hard. People think of him as the office pet.
Ron is a bumbling CEO who has horrible ideas but always seems to end up on top
Phil: Hey! What the hell are you doing!?
Tyler: Oh, sorry, you weren’t supposed to see that.
Phil: Tyler, you can’t have a giant pile of blow in here. This is the office of a startup!
Tyler: OK, I know you’re going to find this hard to believe, but I’m just testing my new app.
Phil: I shudder to think what this app entails.
Tyler: Well I’m still in prototype. So I really shouldn’t tell you. BUT…ok. You know how every day we have to come down here to the Peninsula to work?
Tyler: How it’s a long, agonizing slog that slowly decimates our will to live? How we sit for hours in traffic on luxury buses with uncomfortable leather seats and complimentary wifi?
Tyler: How we get here and have to work out of these sterile, soulless office buildings cloistered away in repetitive, mundane office parks?
Tyler: How we have little access to the amenities of the city, like bars with artisanal cocktails?
Tyler: How when we go home, everyone hates us for being gentrifiers who spurn the existing community of the city?
Tyler, growing upset: And how we thought we knew who we were when we started here, but now we’re not so sure? How, once upon a time, we kept up with cool things like new bands and art movements? How we swore we would never become boring? How we swore we would never become the kind of people who watch “How I Met Your Mother”?
Phil: Sadly, yes.
Tyler: How we now might simply be well-dressed, well-intentioned cloned cogs in a great machine built on progress, money and the fickle, vulnerable nature of humanity? How we’re not sure why we wake up every morning? How we’re not even sure why we’re here?! (…trails off)
Tyler: Well, see, my app aims to solve all that.
Phil: Are you starting a cult or a company?
Tyler: It’s an alternate reality layer that turns Silicon Valley into San Francisco, thus solving San Francisco’s problem of gentrification and Silicon Valley’s problem of bone-numbing vapidity. It’s called EsEffIt. I’m developing it for Google Glass and Oculus Rift.
Phil looks agast.
Tyler: You want a demo? First, you put these puppies on and open up EssEffIt.
(Tyler hands Phil The Google Glasses. Phil puts them on and begins experiencing the app.)
Phil: Now, when you take a walk down University Ave. in Palo Alto, the shitty chain pizza joint becomes a new restaurant from Danny Bowien. And that founder in $350 leather sandals becomes a screaming bum threatening to cut you with a knife if you don’t give him 17 dollars.
(Phil begins to look around in wonder, reacting to everything in the app.)
Phil: Wow, Tyler, this is really amazing. The graphics alone…
Tyler: Take a walk through Mountain View and watch as Google bus stops become BART stops, complete with the smell of urine and people doing heroin right in front you.
Phil: Wow, smells awful. And I am legitimately afraid for my life. But I think you’re really onto something here.
Tyler: Oh, AND, I almost forgot to tell you—the whole experience is totally gamified, so the more you use it, the more you’ll unlock. Level 2 opens up strip clubs, dive bars and naked guys in the Castro.
Phil: Whoa. I didn’t know leather could be worn in that manner.
Tyler: Level 3 opens long lines of people waiting for artisanal ice cream and the financial district.
Phil: This is as boring and annoying as it is in real life!
Tyler: Level 4: locally grown produce, locally sourced grass-fed beef, boutique coffee shops and late night burritos.
Tyler: And in level 5, you move to Oakland.
Phil: This is quite a coincidence, Tyler. Before you showed this to me, I was going to share an idea I recently had for an app that could dovetail really nicely with your experience. I think there could be a strong potential for us to co-develop.
Tyler: Well, lay it on me, Phil. This shit’s not gonna fund itself.
Phil: So, you know how San Francisco has all kinds of problems?
Tyler: Do I ever!
Phil: How there’s shit in the streets? Rampant homelessness? Menial service jobs? Drugs and destitution? Gutter punks, anarchists and protestors everywhere?
Tyler: Tell me about it.
Phil: How rent has skyrocketed in the last few years and has now outpaced Manhattan?
Phil: How it booms and busts every decade or so, leaving its populous either riding high on a bender of excess or slumped in a debilitating hangover of recession and unemployment?
Tyler: Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!
Phil: Well, see, my app aims to solve all that.
(Phil now hands Tyler the Google Glasses. Tyler puts them on and begins to experience Phil’s app.)
Phil: It’s an alternate reality layer that projects the safety, cleanliness, smugness and job security of Silicon Valley directly onto San Francisco. Used bookstores become Prius charging stations.
Tyler: Wow. Such power. Very charged.
Phil: MUNIs become company shuttles. Canvassers asking you to sign petitions on the street become hopeful Stanford MBA students.
Tyler: Now we won’t have to try figure out how to dodge them every time!
Phil: In every corner of the game you can overhear…
Tyler and Phil together:…a sad executive’s conversation with his life coach about sublimating his ego!
Tyler: Wow, this spiritual advisor’s chanted mantra is incredibly lifelike!
Phil: I haven’t decided what to call it yet. Thinking about Vallify.
Tyler: That sounds a bit like Vilify. Maybe…Valium?
Phil: I like it. It feels really…soothing.
Tyler: Phil, I think we’ve actually got something here. With my youthful energy and your Tech Boom 1.0 connections, we could really get this thing off the ground.
Phil: Let’s take it to Ron.
Tyler: Really, Ron? But he’s such an idiot!
Phil: An idiot…who’s also an angel investor with a discretionary fund of something to the tune of 65 million dollars.
Ron: Did somebody say Ron?
Tyler: (to Phil) Here we go.
Phil: Ron. Just the man we need to see. We’ve got an idea…well, actually a few ideas…
Ron: Well, Ron’s got answers for you.
Tyler: I’ve invented an app that essentially turns Silicon Valley into San Francisco. I call it EssEffIt.
Phil: And I’ve invented an app that turns San Francisco into Sillicon Valley. It’s called Valium.
Ron: Hmmm. Ron likes it. Ron sees big potential in this, but Ron can’t help but wonder, have either of you thought about monetization?
Tyler: We haven’t quite gotten there yet.
Ron: Ron thinks you should combine and revamp these ideas into a single experience with two distinct spheres.
(He picks up a marker and starts whiteboarding, drawing Venn diagrams and scrawling out hard-to-read notes.)
Ron: Ron believes that the markets for these are fundamentally separate. The market for EssEffIt is made up of late 20s/early 30s tech worker DINKs having quarter life crises. And the market for Valium is the egomaniacal urban conquistador class. That’s a very different mentality, guys. Different user goals and needs.
Phil: But Ron, don’t you think there’s some overlap? Mid-30s Midwestern transplants with hip aspirations and colonial leanings.
Ron: So, monetization. First, we tap into well-meaning nature of the soft, left-leaning San Francisco political establishment, and, through a series of backroom deals, secure incredible tax breaks.
Tyler: What the hell are you even talking about?
Ron: In the meantime, we offer the growing upper middle class a variety of service-driven widgets. These can be accessed as additional in-app purchases.
Phil: Ok. Fine, Ron. This makes no sense. But fine. What are we going to call it?
Ron: San Francisco.
Tyler: Don’t you think that’s just a little confusing? The actual city is already called San Francisco.
Ron: Ron believes that while people might be resistant at first, the value proposition will be clear enough that users will quickly adopt and adapt. Ron believes that San Francisco, for the first time ever, will have the potential to change the world. Well, it’s been nice talking to both of you.
Tyler: Wait a minute! You just stole both of our ideas, turned them into something that doesn’t even make sense—and now you’re trying to cut us out of the deal!?
Phil: Yeah, Ron, who do you think owns San Francisco anyway?
Ron: It’s Ron’s. It’s always been Ron’s. Anything Ron wants, Ron takes. And if you’ll excuse Ron, Ron’s off to Sand Hill Road now to pitch this to some influential VCs.
Tyler: No way, San Jose! It’s mine! Mine, mine, mine, me, me, mine!
(They have a fist fight.)
Phil: I had the idea first! I’ve been here from the beginning. I’m the only one of you clowns who has lived here for more than 10 years. I own San Francisco.
Ron: Survival of the fittest!
Ron: I have the most money, the best lawyers, the biggest sense of entitlement…oh, and a gun.
(Ron pulls out a gun and shoots Tyler in the arm)
Tyler: Well, I have…a great health plan with Kaiser Permanente!
Phil: So, you want to go get a burrito?