How to Create a Free Dashboard as Featured on HBO’s Silicon Valley

Laurie Bream and Erlich Bachmann discuss Pied Piper in front of the Cyfe dashboard

Business Dashboards – What and Why? 

We’ve recently talked about the idea of having a business dashboard that measures an organization’s most important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) displayed on a TV is necessary or a luxury (spoiler alert, it’s quite important, and that’s what Cyfe helps deliver!).  In the past, we’ve also written several quick walkthroughs of how to construct an excellent dashboard that monitors everything important to you and your organization, and from the start, we’ve built Cyfe in a way that makes getting up and running is possible as easy as possible, within minutes.

The other day, last Sunday evening (update #2: and these past two Sunday evenings, on Episode 9, and the season finale too!), it was a pleasant, and incredible surprise to see a customized Cyfe dashboard in the background of HBO’s hit comedy, Silicon Valley, being used by Richard, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Jared of Pied Piper, the show’s fictional startup, as well as the company’s venture capital investor, Laurie.

HBO's Silicon Valley features a Cyfe dashboard

© HBO 2016

(Seeing this on the show was truly a “wow!” moment — as if we already didn’t think enough of Mike Judge & his writing staff’s wonderful, witty comedy! A huge shout out to the Silicon Valley production staff & set decorators who built this great-looking, custom dashboard for the background of this scene.  A quick aside: if you haven’t checked out the show, it is a 30-minute satire/comedy that focuses on several young entrepreneurs who founded a startup technology company in Silicon Valley. To date, there have been 28 episodes over 3 seasons thus far, and it’s quite clever and enjoyable — definitely check it out on HBO or HBO Go!)

The dashboard was set up to measure the product & business momentum of the company’s middle-out compression algorithm upon its public release, such as the company’s website performance, the types of users & visitors, the number of product downloads, and the amount of Daily Active Users (DAUs).  Let’s take a look at what they had their eye on and how they were using a business dashboard.

Pied Piper Has Joined the Dashboard Revolution – What You Can Learn From Them

We’re proud of our product’s constant evolution and the hundreds of thousands of customers who use Cyfe to save tons of time and organize & visualize their data. And as mentioned above, we were super excited to see Pied Piper join the ranks!  Organizations of all sizes, from our Fortune 500 customers to sole proprietors and startups with just a couple of people, have harnessed the power of real-time data in order to easily & seamlessly monitor their progress against important goals.  In this episode, Pied Piper, a company with a product-focused on revolutionary file compression technology, is doing the same!

Cyfe dashboard on HBO's Silicon Valley shows installs and mobile vs desktop

© HBO 2016

Let’s take a closer look at what the Pied Piper team seemed to have set up in these episodes (“Bachman’s Earnings Over-Ride”, Season 3, Episode 8, “Daily Active Users”, Season 3, Episode 9, and the season 3 finale “The Uptick”, Season 3, Episode 10) and how you too can set up a similar view.  In the above picture (as well as most throughout this post), Pied Piper is leveraging Cyfe’s custom widgets to create their dashboards, which we’ll talk about in a moment.

Also note how they keep things short & simple for viewers of the dashboard, whether they are employees or investors: there are anywhere from 2 to 6 widgets per screen, thus allowing the viewer to focus in on what the most important Key Performance Indicators are for this stage of the company.

We noticed that Pied Piper’s dashboard was heavy on visualizing their company’s custom metrics — which is fantastic because Cyfe allows you to bring in custom, proprietary, or internal metrics from your SQL databases, spreadsheets, computers, and servers.  So, we’ll definitely notch Gilfoyle (played by Martin Starr) in the “Cyfe Power User” category!

While the dashboard is meant to naturally blend into the background as part of the set in order to not distract from the show’s important dialogue of the scenes, we can tell that in this case, the widgets on the right-hand side of the dashboard are focused on website & server monitoring, such as time on site, traffic, and user counts.  You can use Cyfe’s Google Analytics widgets to measure this, for example.

In the picture below, Pied Piper’s investors, Erlich Bachman and Laurie Bream are conversing in front of a custom Cyfe dashboard with a simplified, 2-widget view, which is tracking only two things: (1) the number of cumulative app installs, and (2) the proportion of users coming from desktop vs. mobile platforms.   While Dinesh and Gilfoyle set up this particular formatting using custom widgets, you could use our pre-built iTunes Connect and Google Analytics widgets to accomplish the same within minutes, as we discuss elsewhere in the blog!

Laurie Bream and Erlich Bachmann discuss Pied Piper in front of the Cyfe dashboard

© HBO 2016

You could even replicate a similar approach even without custom data using our Monitoring tools such as Pingdom or AWS Cloudwatch. Below, take a look at some of the metrics you can set up with Pingdom to set up a server monitoring dashboard. Setting up a server monitoring dashboard representative of the below image would take under 5 total minutes after connecting your account to Cyfe. Very easy!

Example of Pingdom metrics available in Cyfe

Example of Pingdom metrics available in Cyfe

As for the number of downloads being tracked in the above scene, we really liked the styling that was put on this, which can be achieved with several of our Custom widgets (reach out to our friendly support team if you have any questions or get stuck!)  And below, take a look at a representative example of a dashboard that’s monitoring progress to a goal of app downloads here. You could use custom widgets, or, as mentioned above, our iTunes Connect widget if you have an App on the App Store.  Even our Mixpanel widget could help visualize these stats, getting you set up in minutes!

Example of Cyfe dashboard metrics

Custom widgets showing app progress

I’m Not Gilfoyle or Dinesh – Can I really do this?

Without a doubt, creating a business dashboard for yourself or your organization has never been easier.  Cyfe’s all-in-one online business dashboard allows you to do so for free, in minutes, securely & privately connecting into the pertinent data you need to centralize.  Even many of our custom widgets make it easy to connect in data (such as with Cyfe’s Zapier integration), not requiring any programming skills or knowledge.

Richard explains Pied Piper's performance in front of the company's Cyfe dashboard

Richard explains Pied Piper’s performance in front of the company’s Cyfe dashboard

© HBO 2016

And guess what? Upon its completion, you’ll be able to monitor the performance of your business, up to date, and in real-time, always having a handle on your most important KPIs.  In addition, you’ll save many hours of your week, something we’re proud to be a part of.

Friends, employees and investors celebrate Pied Piper on the Cyfe dashboard

Friends, employees, and investors celebrate Pied Piper on the Cyfe dashboard

© HBO 2016

So whether or not your first dashboard may seek to mimic Pied Piper’s, sales, IT, and web analytics-focused approach, or something completely different, you’ll quickly find that building your 2nd, 3rd, 4th (and beyond more) dashboards is fast & simple, easy to understand, and without any worry about bumping into any limits.  Design away and enjoy!

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