2005-01-24

Apprentice 03.01 - BK 101: Revenge on the Nerds


E-mail this post



Remember me (?)



All personal information that you provide here will be governed by the Privacy Policy of Blogger.com. More...



I believe that there is much to be learned about human nature, business and success from NBC and Donald Trump's hit show "The Apprentice." Therefore I'll be blogging along with each step of the "16 Week Job Interview."

Previously:
Net Worth: The Street-Smarts
Magna: The Book-Smarts


In the run-up, this new Apprentice edition was billed as the Book-Smarts vs. the Street-Smarts. The clear undertone of all the promotion however, was "Come root for the high school educated gang to stick it to those nerds." If that's what you were looking for, round 1 didn't disappoint.

The Challenge: Burger King is rolling out six new sandwiches. The teams were told to pick one, promote its launch, and operate one BK location for a day. The teams would be measured by sales of their particular sandwich at their location.

Summary: John took the reins at Net Worth and, noting its potential for promotion, he selected the Angus Western Burger. The team launched a successful "Wanted: Dead or Alive" campaign complete with a Las Vegas Trip giveaway. The team executed the plan smoothly and benefitted from their lack of over-education. Everyone dug in, worked hard and performed well.

Todd became Magna's first PM and bumbled from the get-go, as he failed to maximize his team's ability to run all phases of the restaurant operation. Clinging to the "Chief Out-of-the-Box Guy," mantle, Danny volunteered to handle marketing and under-performed, showing a complete lack of strategic thinking. The measly effort at marketing that he finally mustered left his dedication in question as well as he seemed more interested in playing his guitar than in helping his team succeed. Meanwhile, Todd spent the bulk of the mission seated in the restaurant, or wandering aimlessly, doling out empty "rah-rah" encouragement.

Results: Though it wasn't a blowout, Net Worth's teamwork won out over a top to bottom puny effort from Magna. The key to failure for Magna: not enough personnel trained on point-of-sale (2 vs. 3 for Net Worth) which limited their capacity and at times had potential customers walking out the door.

Net Worth joined the Donald for a private dinner in the basement wine cellar at Club 21.

In the boardroom, the PM is always under the gun, but Danny was the early target for his lame marketing effort. Todd briefly and unsuccessfully tried to pin the point of sale problems on Alex who had served as the restaurant manager. Only Kendra had the clarity to identify that even the trouble with Danny was ultimately simply another aspect of Todd's poor leadership.

Todd brought Alex and Danny back to the boardroom. Alex was never really in jeopardy, and though a lot of time was spent on Danny, it was hard to tell if he was really ever a serious candidate for firing. Though none of the Trump Trio were impressed with the Leisure Suit Legend, George zeroed in on Todd and Carolyn clearly felt Danny was a convenient scapegoat. The Donald fired Todd.

Analysis: I suspect strong editing here, but so far we are led to believe that Net Worth is living in harmony while Magna is a dysfunctional group of incompetent morons.

One reality that can't be changed by editing. As a team, Magna tried to take out Danny, and failed. Instead they lost one of their less quirky players. Now Magna returns to fight with one of their more inspirational members alienated.

Todd may not have been much of a leader, but he also didn't come across nearly as hopeless as several others on Team Magna. This mission may have further weakened this bunch for the early going.

By contrast, over at Net Worth, John is riding high. His ability to quickly and smoothly get 8 diverse personalities working out of the same playbook was impressive.

Does Net Worth have any weaknesses at this point? I'd say Brian. He's got a loud mouth and, in what little we've seen so far, lacks focus and displays questionable judgment. Case in point: negotiating for the Viking hat during the team's trip to purchase western outfits. Then of course, there was the boisterous, "That's f****n' awesome!" in the middle of a semi-formal dinner with Mr. Trump.

Danny may still be alive, but his stock couldn't be lower. He's shown very little to suggest that he could win, and plenty to suggest that he can't. Plus, his team is out to get him.

While Alex was a visible piece of Magna's failure as the restaurant manager, I don't believe this one did him any permanent damage. He performed well in the board room and has shown sharp analytical and business skills. I will be curious to see how he does as a leader.

Outlook:

Strong:
John (NW): time will tell if this was a fluke, or if John really has impeccable people and business skills.
No one from Magna (even the best Magna players rate only a "not as bad as the rest of the team").

Close Behind:
Chris (NW): real estate guy, and on Net Worth I'm looking for players who have enough intelligence to compensate for the education gap. Chris seems to be one of them.
Alex, Kendra, Verna (M): As mentioned, Alex has a lot of tools. Kendra scored points by not jumping on the "fire Danny" bandwagon. Verna appears to have some street smarts to go with her education.

Neutral: after only one mission, we haven't had a chance to form an opinion on some of them yet.
Kristen, Audrey, Angie, Craig (NW) - I should dock Craig for the bowtie, but let's give him a chance.
Michael, Stephanie (M) - Stephanie was actually teamed up with Danny on marketing, but the failure in that department seemed to be his doing. Stephanie was helplessly along for the ride.

Not helping their own cause:
Brian (NW): A muzzle would really improve this guy's chances.
Bren, Erin (M): We've seen a bit of both, yet neither has shown that they have anything worthwhile to offer. Erin is full of herself and better start showing something or she'll be downgraded.

Stick a fork in 'em:
Tara, Tana (NW): If we could get rid of one of these two so we can stop getting them confused with each other, that'd be great.
Danny(M): The guy is a screwball. Granted, he's probably not as bad as he's being portrayed. Mainly, we've already seen enough to know that he's not the energetic, innovative force that he makes himself out to be. His "ideas" are impotent and unoriginal. He's a poser.

|

About me

Previous posts

Archives

Categories

Links


ATOM 0.3
  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs2.5 License.