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

Spoiler Alert

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 done

Deals accepted by the website

Revenue Generated









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.

The Apprentice 2012, Week 10 Candidates

4 Responses to The Apprentice 2012, Episode 10: Who are you?
  1. I’d put Nick and Tom neck-and-neck at this stage, despite the latter’s star waning slightly in the past 2-3 weeks. I think your assessments of all 7 are pretty much spot on, though. Stephen’s continued survival baffled me. He struck me as the sort of person who would constantly say “I take risks” while proving through his actions he was actually quite risk-averse and willing to hide his errors behind others, using them almost as human shields. Contrast that with Ricky, who has consistently survived while owning up to his own errors – a quality which has endeared him to me in recent weeks.

    Gabrielle had obvious skills gaps – mostly commercial ability – and yet what price do you put on creativity versus someone who is merely a good manager/politician? Her new design website webethree.co.uk looks the part (although apparently some cannot see it properly), and I notice it includes the artist Pure Evil – so she clearly has leveraged contacts gained during the process well too. That doesn’t seem too shabby to me.


    • Tim
      I think the reason for Stephen’s longevity is a combination of two factors:
      1. the blind luck of being on a winning team
      2. The Apprentice is, ultimately, just entertainment. To protect his investment and reduce risk, Lord Sugar only has to ensure the best candidates get through to the end. The remaining candidates have to go, but the order is immaterial to him – so he may as well hold onto the most entertaining/controversial characters for a little longer.

      • I agree, Mike. Pretty much ever year we have a ‘love to hate’ character. This year it was Stephen – in previous years we have had Michael Sophocles, Stuart Baggs, Katie Hopkins and others. It would certainly be much less entertaining if they went at the appointed time, rather than being allowed to continue for several weeks while us viewers howl in derision as they survive boardroom after boardroom. It’s all part of the ‘reality’ of reality TV …

  2. Hey Mike – it’s a pretty poor field this year in my opinion. Tom strikes me as dull, dull dull (I’d never hire him). Nothing special seen in Jade. I haven’t seen Nick do anything. The only 2 that I see anything in are Ricky (presents well and has that honest streak) and Adam (who I loathed at first but strikes me as someone with some raw talent based on his progress). None of them would have made it in BRO though!


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