The Directors View: The Apprentice – episode 4

Stuart Haining Blog 1 Comment


Waltons Music Hall in the East End of London is the venue for setting this week’s task, creating an online video channel for distribution via YouTube and capturing the biggest audience and the interest of a professional blogger partner.

Not an easy task even for online marketing professionals and this task certainly helped reveal more than a handful of weaknesses in the candidates… also revealed a few quirks in editing, not least why is it so sunny at 5.00 in the morning!

Lord Sugar shifted Jemma across to team Summit and selected a smiling and happy Solomon Akhtar to be team leader, his enthusiasm was evident right through to the winner’s podium.

Ella Jade Bitton was picked as the Tenacity team leader – and should have relished the task as apparently her proposed business idea was intended to be in a similar area, TV production. But it wasn’t to be, Ella admitted she has never uploaded a video and Lord Sugar seemed to have a beef that she’d never had a real job. Launching a business in an area you understand seems to be a pre-requisite for a successful entrepreneur and certainly in our own experience, it’s been a lot tougher succeeding in new areas where you don’t have the experience.

Team Summit got really behind the idea of a wacky food channel called Dare to Dine, obviously it was rubbish but thanks to some inspiration from Soloman and “creative” acting by our favourites James and Roisin, they had a winning formula, but only just. Mark made a potentially disastrous call disagreeing with the team leader about the choice of commercial partner (Solomon correctly went for volume), he did it in a positive manner and didn’t get called to account as they won….so always a good idea to try and be on the winning team!

Team Tenacity went for the catchy Fat Daddy Fitness Hell…..a loser from the start in our view not least because Filepe wasn’t that fat…..and even though it was hell to watch, he didn’t get taken to hell. The idea, from Katie, for a fitness video seemed sound but the execution by team leader Ella was off to a bad start. She seemed to fall into the common Apprentice trap of being power mad the minute they get behind a camera as a Director. A dictatorial style works only when you are a winner, and in this case it didn’t bring out the best in either Sarah or Steven, who yet again were side-lined.

This team went on to lose by around 10%, not helped by a passionate but rambly pitch from Steve to the commercial sponsor, failing to win the best partner was arguably the deciding factor in the loss, so Steven was probably destined to be Fired. It turns out he was, but in our view that seemed simply because Sugar just lost his patience, somewhat unfairly as we feel Steven may have had untapped potential.

Sarah was also brought back into the losers Board-Room, we think mostly because she doesn’t seem to get on with people since suggesting winners where short skirts and lippy! Ella put the final nail in the coffin by revealing Sarah was a user of dating sites, not a builder of them!…..well, you need to do user testing for any business, but Sugar wasn’t standing for it. Sarah was fired too….again probably a bit early as she was plainly a character.

And that takes us to the final participant in the firing room, team leader Ella. In our view Sugar was very unfair to fire her because “she’s never had a proper job”….it’s another matter to say was he right to fire someone who plainly couldn’t manage a task so close to her proposed business plan?, we’d say Yes.

So a surprising three candidates were Fired this week, only one we think fairly. So that leaves one per week for the rest of the series.

And what of the other candidates?

Being an active participant (James, Roisin, Felipe, Katie) was yet again a good strategy as being visibly busy in the Apprentice, just as in real business, makes it hard to justify firing.

Pamela was negative from the off, and probably only left out of the losers’ boardroom as Ella can spot a wounded bird (in Steven & Sarah) vs a feisty eagle (Pamela) likely to put up a fight. Daniel pulled a lot of critical faces throughout and except for some supportive comments in the board-room Sanjay seemed to take a backseat so probably had a lucky escape.

The after-show program was also interesting, Ella failed to show, possibly as her grovelling to stay in the competition went just a little bit too far, but you admire her pluck, and Sarah had the last laugh declaring SHE doubted if Sugar was a suitable partner for HER. Nice One.

So we think the right conclusion this week in firing Ella who didn’t get to grips managing the team, or herself, but it’s a shame we also lost a couple of characters as collateral damage. Maybe that’s a good analogy for business too……you will lose good people when trying to clear out dead-wood as it destabilises everybody.

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Comments 1

  1. Nice summary! Although I think Ella didn’t show because her father had just died.

    Personally I think Steven was going nowhere (much like his 100 mile walk)

    You should run a weekly poll on favourite(s) to win!! My money’s on Solomon or Roisin.

    Keep up the good work!


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