Thursday, November 18, 2004

[TV] The Apprentice 2.5

Maybe this show’s appeal is that everything’s big, grand, and expensive (and quite often garish) … but for me the wish fulfillment isn’t about the lifestyle. It’s the situations and problems that the two teams face every week.

I have never once wanted to be on the Survivor island. The great appeal of The Apprentice is that I constantly imagine what I would do in their situation.

Could I have convinced the Donald not to fire me if I were in Pamela’s shoes?
Could I have gotten the men’s lemonade stand up and running earlier in Season 1?
Or figured out that opening a second stand would be an easy extra source of revenue (which no one did, it’s just a solution I came up with while watching the show).

Last night Pamela was faced with an impossible situation – to turn around a self-destructive, imploding team. She talked hard, tried to break dysfunctional relationships and brought in a very close result (a $10 difference in sales, when both teams brought in nearly $18,000 in calls).

But Pamela’s team still lost.

No matter how she tried to paint it, Donald Trump and his advisors kept bringing Pamela back to that single point: success or failure is based on results. And a $10 difference is still a losing result.

She could have insisted that a member of her team (Marie) had misrepresented her skills. Or she could have demonstrated that she replaced Marie at the last minute – an obvious but good decision. Pamela could even have negotiated with the Donald – offering to be project manager next week and if her team lost, Pamela would be automatically dismissed. That’s the thing with business and script-writing: they are open ended situations. Use lateral thinking. Examine all the angles.

You know what? Trump irritates me. The show creates an artificial team situation, throws Pamela in the deep end, places enormous expectations on her – and then when she almost fulfills them (in an environment she’s completely unfamiliar with), Trump fires her.

Losing result or not, I don’t think that makes good business sense.

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