Success Failure is the first episode of Season 4. It aired on April 23, 2017.
In the wake of Pied Piper's clickfarm scandal, the guys struggle to find funding for Pied Piper's video-chat app to keep up with their rapidly-growing user base. Erlich faces resistance from Big Head's dad, while Gavin balks after Jack steps on his toes at Hooli. Having a hard time adjusting to his company's pivot, Richard gets some sage advice from an unexpected source, leading him to a big idea that could change his future.
Persona non-grata in the Valley after the click farm scandal, Richard pretends to be a VC’s Uber driver in hopes of pitching Pied Piper’s latest incarnation -- PiperChat. The VC quickly catches on and demands to be let out of the car. He nevertheless gives Richard his card on the way out and says to call if PiperChat reaches a million daily users.
PiperChat is becoming more popular by the day, but without VC funding, the guys are strapped for cash to pay the server bills as more people log on to the app. Dinesh and Gilfoyle work to cut costs by altering code. When Richard makes a tweak to marginally improve image quality rather than help in the effort to save money, Dinesh accuses him of being jealous of the video chat’s success. After all, the chat was Dinesh’s idea.
Erlich reviews the terms of Bachmanity’s ownership of Pied Piper with Big Head and Nelson Bighetti Sr. (by way of video chat). The senior Bighetti, familiar with Erlich’s past abuse of his son’s resources, has secured himself a vote in all future business decisions. He refuses to allow Big Head to cede any of his stake in Pied Piper to the guys. Instead, Erlich has to divvy up his shares, leaving him with only 10 percent ownership.
Trying to muster enthusiasm for the new direction Pied Piper is taking, Richard approaches Russ Hanneman to see if he’s interested in investing. Russ immediately detects that Richard doesn’t believe in PiperChat and challenges him to pitch an idea he’s truly passionate about. Richard says he wants to create a “new internet.” He promptly rushes to discuss the idea with Monica, and finds her in a new office space -- in front of the men’s restroom. Monica explains that Laurie is punishing her for siding with Richard when the board voted to sell Pied Piper.
Having closed a deal in China for “The Box,” Jack and Gavin are buddy-buddy as they board the company jet. But Gavin’s mood darkens when Jack persuades the pilot to drop him off in Jackson Hole before taking Gavin to Mountain View. Suspicious of this insubordination, Gavin instructs his Head of Security, Hoover, to retrace the journey and determine if Jack’s detour caused him to travel a longer distance.
Frustrated with Richard’s lackluster leadership, Dinesh, Gilfoyle and Erlich discuss a change in CEO. When Erlich realizes that Big Head’s dad will never allow him to serve as the replacement, the guys settle on Big Head himself as the new CEO. Jared is adamantly opposed to the coup and stands outside the house to warn Richard, while the others wait by the front door. But Richard throws a two-fold curve ball when he returns home through the backdoor and announces his intent to step down as CEO. He’ll allow the guys perpetual license to use the algorithm for PiperChat but will retain the name “Pied Piper” for his own project. Richard also suggests that Dinesh succeed him as CEO. While the guys gather to discuss the future of Piper Chat, Richard leaves a heartbroken Jared and heads to his room to start brainstorming his new internet.