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Lessons From The Apprentice (6.12 – Los Angeles)

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The Candidates

Kinetic: Muna, Kristine, Derek, Marisa, Angela, Jenn, Heidi, Aimee

Arrow: Nicole, Frank, Michelle, James, Carey, Tim, Martin, Aaron, Stefani, Surya

Prelude:

Arrow begins being disgusted with living outdoors and living with the critters. I think Trump doesn’t like the fact that being outside is attracting mice so he tells both teams that Arrow will be moving inside for the rest of the interview process.

The two teams are to divide themselves into three teams of two each and there will be no project managers.

The two guys move inside and immediately get down to business and ask that everybody tells who they would want to team up with. Frank says he’d want to work with Nicole, but she does not want to work with him. Kristine is afraid a victory from her would be credited to Heidi if they were on the same team so she opts not to team with her. She must believe Heidi is the biggest threat.

The Task:

Trump’s Hotel in Vegas has been sold out he is now building a second building. The teams are to study the building to put together an advertising and marketing campaign. Donald and Don (Jr.) will be judging the campaigns. The team with the weakest campaign will be fired.

Heidi/Frank:

Frank is easily distracted which frustrates Heidi. She feels they are polar opposites. The team hires a professional videographer and photographer in order to get the most professional material.

Team HF is putting together a brochure and video. Frank works on the video while Heidi works on the brochure. Frank isn’t happy with Heidi’s productivity and does not feel it will be done in time.

Stefanie/James

Team SJ starts talking about putting together a “killer” sales brochure. Stefanie blurts out “The height of luxury” which seems to resonate with James. The team meets with the sales office to get a feeling for how they sell the units.

SJ feel they have an advantage because they are pretty much in sync together.

Kristine/Nicole

Team KN wants to highlight the gold and the height of the building. “Everything Trump touches turns to gold.” The girls meet with the builders to get a feel for the building itself. Kristine is worried that Nicole is not asking the right questions, especially for someone who is in commercial real estate. I get the feeling that nobody can live up to Kristine’s expectations. She’ll always have something to complain about.

Nicole has the entire presentation “in her head”. She doesn’t care much about the physical/video presentation, she thinks it will be won or lost by what she has in her head. While Kristine works on the presentation Nicole goes to sleep. She’s not real happy with the end product, but feels at least it’s hers.

The result:

S/J: Their presentation was pretty much a video presentation with a bit of voice over. I wasn’t exceptionally impressed with the quality of the video or the script. They followed that up by stating that they have a full marketing plan in place as well. Trump seemed impressed with Team S/J and thinks the other two teams have a tough act to follow.

K/N: Nicole has trouble finding the presentation on the computer. Oops. Kristine starts the presentation, which plays on their theme “Las Vegas is Turning Gold.” When Nicole jumps into the presentation and flubs her first line and her segue to the video.

After their presentation, which Trump says was choppy and a disaster, Trump realizes that between the two brochures there are two different phone numbers. So he sends James and Nicole out of the boardroom to find out which number is correct. Turns out Kristine put the wrong number on the brochure. It wasn’t even a Trump affiliated number!

While James and Nicole are out Trump asks Kristine about the presentation. Kristine tells Trump how she let Nicole sleep and was basically responsible for everything other than the verbal presentation. Trump confirms that Kristine was responsible for the brochure, Kristine says she “did everything.”

H/F: Heidi starts the verbal presentation and flubs it quite a bit. When they aired their video, there was really nothing to it. There was no theme in the video, which was nothing more than a Trump logo beside video of the model rooms. No words, no voice over, no sales info. Trump asked to see their brochure, which also sucked. Gold words on a black background, all words, no pictures.

The Boardroom:

Trump lets Stefanie and James off the hook, he feels they did a fantastic job. Trump says that instead of firing both candidates on one team he might fire one candidate off each of the two losing teams. I’ll predict right now both Kristine and Heidi go home.

Kristine and Nicole go at each other a bit because Nicole slept and Kristine says she wasn’t in the game whatsoever. Trump says that the phone number is a big error but that K/N’s video and brochure were both better than H/F.

Turning to H/F Trump wants to know who is responsible for the brochure. Heidi says Frank needs help staying focused. He gets off task easy. Heidi says the brochure was done together and that Frank was ultimately responsible for pushing it on the designer. Heidi says that the text she wrote was not to be in that format for the brochure, which was approved by Frank in the end.

Trump is impressed with Franks fight, but isn’t sure he’s got what it takes. Yeah, that’s something I’ve known since the first week. When asked, James said he would fire the person responsible for the theme. Frank plays the blame victim while Heidi plays the “we’re both responsible” card. Frank overplays that card saying that Heidi changes her story each time, but Don says she’s been pretty consistent (accept when she contradicted herself?)

Heidi then says the stupidest thing possible in the boardroom. She’s embarrassed for this task and if Trump wanted to fire her solely based on this task then she accepts that. Trump wastes no time and says she’s fired.

He then turns to Kristine and tells her she’s fired. She complains that she didn’t get a chance to defend herself and argues with Trump until he fires her again and tells them all to get out.

Both girls go out with class and style, much more than we typically see.

Winner Prediction: Stefanie. Frank is a loose cannon and I’ve said from nearly the beginning that James doesn’t have what it takes.

Lessons Learned:

  • Never try to take down good people. The smart thing to do is to align yourself with them so that together you both come out looking better than you really are
  • Sometimes just being louder than the other person can give you a strategic advantage. You can appear to be a good defender of yourself and confuse the issue because the other person isn’t being heard, or heard in context.
  • Proof your work. Especially on a big presentation, minor errors can be the end of you.
  • All it takes is one big mistake to take you out. Sometimes the best fall with a single error.

What would you have done?

Stoney G deGeyter

Stoney deGeyter is the author of The Best Damn Web Marketing Checklist, Period!. He is the founder and CEO of Pole Position Marketing, a web presence optimization firm whose pit crew has been velocitizing websites since 1998. In his free time Stoney gets involved in community services and ministries with his “bride enjoy” and his children. Read Stoney’s full bio.

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