2004-12-17

Kelly Lands New Job


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After 15 weeks of crazed yuppies running amuck in NYC, washing pets, refurbishing houses and selling candy bars, Donald Trump has hired Kelly Perdew to be his second Apprentice.

I've got to admit, this one wasn't as clear cut, nor as satisfying. Kelly was the strongest of the field, but it was a weaker field than Trump had in the show's maiden season which gave us Kwame, Troy, Nick, Amy and eventual winner, Bill.

Bill and Kwame walked and talked and shared wine on the roof of Trump Tower on the eve of last season's final boardroom. With the fury of competition having died, the dust settled on two quality gentlemen. I realized that Donald Trump was the real winner as either candidate would be a credit to his organization.

Not so this season as the final episode revealed. Sure, Kelly seems like a solid guy, but he's not the business natural that Bill Rancick is. His inaction at critical times might have been fatal, had Elizabeth not stepped up during the final challenge.

Still, this one shouldn't have been close. Jennifer was not the leader, not the vital team member, not the creative force that she made herself out to be. But, she is a lawyer and a hungry opportunist. She stumbled into undeserved credit a couple of times. Mainly, she was rarely a key piece in her team's effort which meant that she wasn't a target for blame when her teams failed - and they failed often.

Jennifer's real strength, as a lawyer, was her ability to talk. She advanced by simply out-arguing her opponents. Trump seems to like this, but I wonder about a business leader who interrupts and doesn't allow others to get a word in edge-wise.

I am still baffled by Trump's fondness for Jennifer. Earlier in the season he commented several times on how Jennifer "flies under the radar" and wondered aloud why her teammates didn't bring her to the boardroom. In fact, I still can't even figure out the rationale for choosing Jennifer over Kevin.

But, all's well that ends well. Congratulations to Kelly. Now I'm looking forward to season 3 and the book-smart vs. street-smart teams. This is a dynamic that has been present as high school-educated entrepreneurs Troy (season 1) and Sandy (season 2) advanced deep into the competition and challenged their formally educated foes.

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