The Apprentice 2012, Episode 10: Who are you?
When will any of this year’s candidates show us something special? For sure (to borrow a phrase from Stephen Brady), we have seen some good performances and some consistency. We have also seen some of the usual appalling performances – but, I will grant you, fewer than usual. But I have not detected any outstanding individuals among this year’s bunch.
What am I missing?
Or is there really nothing to miss?
I have been pondering these questions, but it wasn’t until last night’s boardroom that I found the answer. But first, let’s recap the event’s that led up to it.
Previously, on The Apprentice
Last week, Sterling lost, and Stephen Brady was set for a taxi ride off the show. Then, he played a curve ball and bet Lord Sugar that, if he stayed, he could win this week as Project Manager. Care to take that bet? Wall: writing.
So, of course, this week…
Sterling, depleted, was led by Stephen, with Gabrielle Omar and Ricky Martin in tow. Indeed, the voice-over exclusively now referred to them as “Stephen’s Team”.
Phoenix, now “Jade’s Team”, chose Jade Nash, un-opposed, to lead them: Adam Corbally, Nick Holzherr and Tom Gearing.
The task was to secure discounted luxury packages for a daily deals website. That’s luxury, Stephen.
As Stephen said at the start, it’s all about negotiation and persuasion. Well, that and having a coherent strategy for who to negotiate with, Stephen, and what your negotiating position is, Jade.
So, off they set…
Stephen’s team barley had time to sit down before they were in their cars off to do deals. Jade’s team spent a long time planning and setting up meetings “I want quality not quantity” said Jade. What about both? Stephen’s one moment of strategy was to ask for multiple deals at each negotiation. Sadly, three bad deals is no better than one when the website decide not to offer them because they don’t fit the only criterion they set: luxury.
So, a day of running around London, with donkeys everywhere fearing for their hind legs.
Impressed with: Jade for two good deals and Ricky for two (at the same place)
Disappointed with: Adam and Tom for achieving the square root of zero
I could document some great lessons in negotiating
… like Jade’s inability (through lack of preparation) to offer an opening position on price for a meal at Marcus Waring’s restaurant – thus annoying the chef patron – and her ability to pull it back when given five minutes, by making a sensible offer and apologising.
… or Ricky’s failure to establish the basis of his visit to a first restaurant, thus achieving nothing from a half hour meeting.
… but let’s look at the results
Deals accepted by the website
So, it’s curtains for Stephen then?
Yes, it was. And for Gabrielle.
Stephen, because he did fail to deliver, and Gabrielle, because she failed to show energy and commitment.
… but let’s look at what we learned, why Lord Sugar fired them both, and what that tells us about the final two episodes
Stephen Brady, who are you?
What we saw, consistently, was a manipulative guy with a highly reactive streak, no sense of strategy, and little creativity and flair. This could never be enough for Lord Sugar to want to partner with him.
Gabrielle Omar, who are you?
What we saw, consistently, was a charming and highly creative person, easily able to win over people, but unable to generate the commitment and force of personality the contest needed, towards the end. Some lapses in judgement, but someone I would rust as a business partner. But the forcefulness and acumen to drive a business with a hands off partner only? Lord Sugar thought no. I don’t think we saw enough to answer that, but remember, he sees a lot more and hears far more detail from Karren Brady and Nick Hewer than we do.
And here’s my problem with the remaining five candidates: I don’t think we yet know that much about them.
Nick Holzherr, who are you?
Nick has been consistent, is popular and is an interesting entrepreneur in “real life”. I think we can grant him the creativity points, but is he really tested on the drive and strategy he needs to be able to demonstrate.
Jade Nash, who are you?
Jade looked good strategically tonight, but I don’t get what drives her. I don’t know who she is yet either.
Adam Corbally, who are you?
Entrepreneur or market trader? Both, I think. Not the safe bet, but I’d love to know what your business plan is. I think that, with Adam, what you see is what you get. But that assumption is always a risky one. Who are you, Adam? We are waiting to see if there is more to you than the cheeky, personable street trader. You need to be better than the blag and bluster and “I’m just a simple guy” contestant we’ve seen to date.
Tom Gearing, who are you?
And what motivates a Director in a successful business to seek this opportunity? Lord Sugar has asked that question too. Is it that you want to run something of your own, rather than slot into a family business? You are confident, self-assured, and competent. You could win, but what for? And how much depth do you have? You really did underwhelm me in recent episodes.
Ricky Martin, who are you?
A serial survivor… And that counts for a lot. We know you can graft and present yourself well, but are you creative, are you strategic, what do you have that is special? At the moment, all we have seen is an ability to focus, adapt and learn. That’s good, but not great.
It’s hard to see who will lose out next week, but a winner could be on the cards
I still think Nick is the best bet, but I wouldn’t mind a small each way flutter on Adam.