Russ Hanneman in ‘Silicon Valley’ is totally Mark Cuban
Fans of HBO comedy “Silicon Valley” surely have noticed the satirical nature of the show, and they likely have been amused by the flashy, quirky character Russ Hanneman. Savvy viewers have also probably realized that Hanneman’s story closely resembles that of billionaire Mark Cuban.
Hanneman becomes an angel investor for Pied Piper, the fictional start-up about which the show is based. He drives expensive and bright-colored cars like orange McLarens, dines on $800 beef, and his clothes seem to feature rhinestones and other tacky yet flashy gems. Hanneman’s backstory also happens to be remarkably similar to Cuban’s.
Hanneman boasts on the show that he had the brilliant idea to put radio on the internet. He says Yahoo bought his company for $1.2 billion some 20 years prior. He also tries to brag that he turned the $1.2 billion into $1.4 billion over time, an idea which protagonist Richard subtly mocks by pointing out the pathetic return on investment, a concept Hanneman seems to be too dense to understand.
Cuban, who owns the Dallas Mavericks and whose worth is estimated to be greater than $3 billion, famously made his wealth by selling Broadcast.com (which put radio online essentially) for $5.7 billion in Yahoo stock, which he later sold before the tech crash.
As if that’s not enough, a later anecdote shared by Hanneman mirrors one related by Cuban. Hanneman says that the moment he became a billionaire, he was sitting naked and constantly refreshing his computer watching his stock rise. He says he got an erection and ejaculated from the high.
Over the years, Cuban has shared a similar tale of his billionaire experience, complete with how he was naked and refreshing his computer until his stock hit a certain point that made his net worth equal to a billion.
Hanneman also is obsessed with the Three Comma Club, even starting his own “Tres Comas” tequila.
I’ll have a shot! Cuban himself actually has a clothing line called Three Commas.
Though the Hanneman character seems to be most strongly based off Cuban, he is a mixture of other famous tech investors. Hanneman’s clothing also appears to be a nod to investor Chris Sacca, while some see similarities to Napster founder Sean Parker.
We should also note that though “Silicon Valley” seems to be mocking Cuban, the Pittsburgh native’s business background speaks for itself. Broadcast.com was the second company Cuban built that was acquired for over six figures. Cuban also saw the Mavericks go from a laughing stock to a championship team under his watch, and he has been an investor in many more successful tech companies since. Hopefully he takes the Russ Hanneman character references lightly.