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Lessons From the Apprentice (1.1): Meet the Billionaire

Just for fun I felt like going back and re-watching past seasons of the apprentice. I’ve seen all the episodes but since the show is on such a long hiatus (won’t be coming back until next January) and season five was such a downer, it would be fun to go back and revisit the episodes and see what business lessons we can glean from them.

I’ll try not and do a full episode recap but just hit the high (and low) -lights, discuss the players, etc. While I already have many preformed opinions about the players because I’ve already seen them in action, I’m going to try and give everyone a clean slate from the first episode and opine as the show progresses.

The Task

The teams are given $250 seed money to sell… lemonade. I’ve complained quite a bit about the “small-ball” tasks of season five, but I understand this approach as the first task for the first season. These guys are supposed to be big shot money-makers, but you can often tell a lot about a person on how they handle some of the simplest of tasks.

The guys jumped into action, got the products they need and worked out deals to get free cups, free ice, free cart. They were out selling while the girls were still shopping. Unfortunately a bad location was chosen and they only doubled their money.

The girls had no organization and spent too much time discussing and arguing. but when it came time to sell, they used all of their “womanly” abilities to do so and were able to sell a cup of lemonade at $5 a piece, increasing their investment by 400%.

We were given a brief looking into the business prowess of a few of the players. Some definitely show immediate potential, others failed to make an impact and still others showed themselves to be poor leaders, poor followers, poor communicators and/or poor team members.

The Candidates

Apprentice 1 - Amy Amy:
Apprentice 1 - Bill Bill:
Shows himself to be smart and funny. Addresses flaws in others and the team in a professional/friendly way, doesn’t come off as a complainer.
Apprentice 1 - Bowie Bowie:
Apprentice 1 - David David:
Definitely not a sales person. His tactics are tacky and annoying. Doesn’t seem to know when to quit. When asked if he could have done better by Trump he answered “no”. Not apprentice material!
Apprentice 1 - Ereka Ereka:
Very upbeat despite setbacks. Very positive about her team, despite some of the backbiting and arguing. Seems real solid.
Apprentice 1 - Heidi Heidi:
Apprentice 1 - Jason Jason:
Apprentice 1 - Jessie Jessie:
Apprentice 1 - Katrina Katrina:
Apprentice 1 - Kristi Kristi:
Apprentice 1 - Kwame Kwame:
Gets things done. He may not have chose the best location, but he is the one who arranged all the free stuff.
Apprentice 1 - Nick Nick:
Starts himself off as one of the first naysayer, complaining about the name the guys’ team chose. Nick strikes me as one of those guys that has a negative opinion about most everything.
Apprentice 1 - Omarosa Omarosa:
Starts out taking charge of her team, very forward and aggressive.
Apprentice 1 - Sam Sam:
Seems to be a doer but not necessarily grounded in reality, trying to sell a cup of lemonade for $1000. Sam comes across as more desperate than anything else.
Apprentice 1 - Tammy Tammy:
Even before anything begins Tammy is showing extreme business dysfunction. While nobody should really care about having to impress anybody but Trump, as she stats, in business, you’ve got to get along, and if you want to succeed, you need people who’ll stand behind you. She doesn’t seem to be interested in making friends whatsoever. On the first task she’s not showing herself to be a team player.
Apprentice 1 - Troy Troy:
Despite being team leader, Troy didn’t leave much of an impression other than he’s a good guy.

Fired: David.

Lessons Learned

  • Leadership takes determination, not desperation. Know your goals and know what it takes to get there, but don’t resort to desperate tactics or words.
  • Good people often get off to poor starts. While first impressions are often important, don’t rely on them solely and give everyone a chance if you think they have potential.
  • Think before leaping. Take time considering your options, explore the pros and cons and then make a well though-out and considered decision.

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