Episode 2 of Billion Dollar Code begins two years before the big trial. Lea Hauswirth from Windmill and Keen Law Firm shows up at Juri’s address. He’s reluctant to work with her, until learning she was one of the lawyers involved in the Apple VS Samsung case. Quoting Star Trek as part of her legal argument is just the cherry on top of this impressive cake. She’s determined to win this case for Juri, adamant that Google have stolen his algorithm – which she’s read. He agrees to work with her but on a condition – that Carsten not be involved.
Back in 1994 we go, and after the Kyoto conference the press swarm all over Terravision, with the pair invited to numerous conferences for over a year. They were even put on a list for most innovative tech producers too. The creme de la creme though comes from the pair being invited across to California, and specifically to see Brian Anderson. Now, Anderson happens to work for Silicon Graphics. This “hippie” company have beta versions of Onyx running, and numerous investors willing to get a slice of the pie.
Carsten and Juri have big plans to distribute Terravision out to every person. Juri wants to go one step further though and actually allow the product to deep dive down to street level, with examples given of visiting a virtual museum or entering showrooms to see what’s on the shelves. It’s a democratic platform with no borders and a revolutionary tech that’s never been seen before. Of course, Brian and Juri both run with the idea, and using the internet as their platform of choice.
Brian understands the importance of protecting their ideas, encouraging the pair to become entrepreneurs to protect their investment and make sure they don’t lose it to the hands of a grubby company. With Brian and Juri growing closer together, Carsten begins to worry that he’s being pushed out the picture. Unfortunately, this comes in the form of Juri being offered a job at Silicon Graphics. Carsten however, doesn’t think this is a good idea. This just so happens to be the turning point in the whole story, the moment where Google enter the fray and the patent infringement begins.
Specifically, it comes in the form of Juri deciding to head back to Berlin with Carsten and saying goodbye to Brian that night. Coming back from California, the pair decide to reinvigorate the office, turning it into their very own Silicon Valley. Art+Com essentially becomes Germany’s very first start-up. The thing is, they need between 5-7 million marks to get a CD-ROM version of Terravision going – along with an integrated phone book built in for each house.
In order to achieve that, the pair decide to bring in new investors to join Telekom. The trouble is, no one is willing to part with cash needed and in Germany everything is lagging behind the US. And to top it off? Even Telekom are pulling their investment. For Juri this is a massive blow – especially given they could have gone with Brian Anderson st Silicon Graphics.
Despite the set-backs, Carsten isn’t out of ideas and in fact, he’s contemplating an extension or Terravision to allow them to travel back through time. Despite their passion, the drive to find investors in order to stay afloat begins to wane. The reality of their financial situation hits home and hangs over them like a black cloud.
Unfortunately, this means they also lose Christine, one of their more valuable members of staff in the process. This is one step too far for Juri, who loses his temper and demands Carsten make good on his promise to become the German Silicon Valley. Thankfully tough, their perseverance pays off as the late 90’s explodes and sees the .com bubble settle in.
The only trouble is, Brian Anderson has become collaborating with Google all this time, creating Google Earth in secret. As Carsten and Juri watch their demo online with horror, they realize the pair are stealing from them.
Juri receives an email just after from Brian, with him en-route to Berlin on the next flight. However, all of this seems to have stemmed from Juri opening up to Brian and telling him everything about the algorithm during their drunken time in California. Uh oh.
The Episode Review
Tue second episode of Billion Dollar Code tightens the noose around Terravision’s neck, with the project doomed to fail under the weight of Google’s might. They say there are moments in everyone’s life where one decision changes everything and it seems the pair choosing not to stay in Silicon Valley is theirs.
This chapter works well to develop both Juri and Carsten as characters too, showing their allegiances and how their relationship is tested in these trying moments.
The ending definitely hints that we’ve got more drama to come in the next episode, leaving things wide open for this brilliant biographical drama.