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The Apprentice (spoilers)


*Awesome* to see Versacorp trading on the relationships they'd made over the past few months.

Also interesting to see Protege stop in the middle of the day to evaluate and regroup; I'm not sure we'd seen a team do that before.

Troy communicates the business lesson of the week - passion sells. When he "stepped back into himself" sales took off.

Nick gave a full refund for a 50% loss - thinking strategically in a tactical game. Will it pay off?

Wicked spin on Troy - he figured the heat was off because he didn't have to pick anyone; Trump would do the firing. Instead Trump made him pick one person, which obviously *completely* caught him off guard.

I'm not sure Troy will make it to the end - he's a nice guy and it looks like he can't make the hard decisions. He only picked Kwame to go upstairs because he was his buddy, not for a concrete business reason. On the other hand, he's definitely got the charisma and self-esteem...

Damn - George called Troy on hedging when he had to pick someone.

And Heidi's gone. To be honest, I can't say I fault Trump on this one at all.

I also think (hope?) the show's going to be more of a character show from here out.

Finally, brava to Heidi for walking out like a champion. A smile and a handshake, and head held high.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, March 11, 2004

You're Fired.  (insert hand movement here)

Wayne
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I was very impressed with Troy's ability to reassess his strategy.  That takes a lot of insight and confidence.

I was amazed that Protege' sold so much advertising.  All I can figure is the people buying the ads thought they'd end up on TV.  I've bought advertising before, I don't think an ad on a rickshaw is worth the paper it's printed on.  But... I could be wrong.


Maybe we'll see ads on rickshaws from now on.

The real Entrepreneur
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Past performance and team behavior was probably taken into account (same thing happened last week) when Troy picked Hedi. Also, Kwame picked Hedi as the weakest link while Hedi picked Troy.

Troy, the only person who doesn't have a college degree is the one I am rooting for. Imo, there are too many business people out there who graduated somewhere in the top 20% of their class, however, they haven't done squat since. While I have a degree, I believe people should be hired based on merit and not on their grade point average or which university they attended.


Thursday, March 11, 2004

This past December in NYC I swear I saw a sign on a rickshaw that looked just like one of those prepaid cards.  Can anyone in the city verify that?

Lou
Thursday, March 11, 2004

The whole kangaroo court aspect of things really gets on my nerves now.  Trump asks Troy how it was and he is positive.  Asks if he thinks he won (and how the fuck would he know?) and he is cautiously optimistic.  Was it still a positive experience if he lost?  You can't take the day away and he had fun.  Trump- losing would ruin my day (or something like that).

What a douche-bag.  This game where you keep trying to figure out what the top guy claims he would say in your situation but can always turn it around on you sucks.

name withheld out of cowardice
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I was surprised that Troy wasn't picked. Heidi and Kwame didn't seem to make any mistakes, and did what they were supposed to do. The team fails, so the leader goes.

Was really hoping that the other team would lose though. All that whining from Erika about "boo hoo...nobody listens to me...I'm not playing anymore". I wanted to see her butt canned.

Nigel
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Nigel, weren't you paying attention? She *hates* it when people want to see her butt.

Philo

Philo
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I hate the whole LOL thing Philo, but sometime's it's appropriate.

Isn't this woman from the same team that offered kisses for money in the first week or so? I also seem to recall services being offered in return for low gold prices in a later episode.

Can't stand fickleness; at least Omarosa was consistently bitchy.

Nigel
Thursday, March 11, 2004

"This past December in NYC I swear I saw a sign on a rickshaw "

How cold was it when you were in NYC?
It looked fairly warm for December in NYC.  They weren't wearing coats, as I recall. Nor were the folks on the street.

The real Entrepreneur
Friday, March 12, 2004

Troy dropped way down in this episode. When called on the carpet, he looked meek. He's starting to look more like the guy you'd want heading up your sales team, but not like the guy you'd pick as CEO.

I've been picking Bill and Amy since early on, and this time they were the winning combo.  Amy's ad idea was good on it's own, but probably wouldn't have worked without Bill's idea to pursue their previous contacts on the show.

That said, I think Nick is starting to look stronger. All the little comments The Donald drops make me think he's looking for someone as arrogant and comptetitive as he his.  That would be The Nick.

Nick - but not The Nick
Friday, March 12, 2004

The task itself was relatively mundane - run a business. One team got the strategic advantage by coming up with a killer plan. If they had more than a day to compete we might have seen a different story once the other team learned their strategy & emulated, or improved on it, or maybe came up with their own. However, the game is what it is, so we have to judge it on it's own merits. There are certainly times where coming up with a great idea early on can win the day.

Winner of the If At First You Don't Succeed Award: Kwame for giving rediculously high bonuses to the top sales people both at Planet Hollywood & at the Pedicab company.

Other than that, the personal foibles of everyone involved was more interesting to watch. Really only Nick & Amy came out of this looking like winners. Nick for returning that guy's money, and Amy for coming up with the idea to sell advertising, and otherwise keeping her nose clean.

The Bill & Katrina drama wasn't one sided, and a good leader wouldn't just disregard the complaints of one of his employees, especially on such a small team. Heidi, as always got emotionally invested first, leading with her "feistiness" and not with her head. Troy and Kwame performed about the same as always - strong interpersonal skills, but not the master strategists.

Regarding Trump, I do have a dislike for open ended questions that can be discounted by the person on the other end of the table. Probably a trick he learned to keep other people off balance. It really only works if you care what he thinks, and these people obviously care.

After the "outtakes & behind the scenes" show they're going to Atlantic City. Is it a sign for people to start betting on the final 6 in their office pools?

It looks to me like Katrina is the last of the "lead with your emotions" group, and coincidentally, the 2nd to last woman. Depending on how the dice fall (she couldn't be eliminated this week because her team won), she'll probably be next to go.

Kwame and Troy seem to have formed an alliance - make me the PM and I'll keep you out of the board room. I'm going to guess the same is true for Nick & Amy. Bill and Katrina don't seem to have such alliances, but now that the board room is 2 people, once you get in, you have to defend yourself - you can't gang up on someone or sit back while the two more explosive personalities implode.

Side Note: Has anyone else noticed the splicing together of two different sound sources? First when Nick was talking to Trump in his penthouse, second tonight when Trump was talking to Heidi in the boardroom? It's like they re-recorded a bit in a sound studio. It was obvious both times from both the sound shift and the fact that the person talking wasn't on camera. I wonder how much of Trump's performance is actually post mortem - clever editing, reshooting scenes, etc.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, March 12, 2004

Re the Bill & Katrina spat - did anyone catch the ideas that she suggested and he disregarded?  I must have missed it, because I didn't hear her come up with anything.

Nick
Friday, March 12, 2004

Katrina is a joke.  She didn't mind selling her body the first several episodes.

The Ted
Friday, March 12, 2004

T.R.E. - it was bitter cold in December when I was in NYC, this show must have been filmed in the early Fall.

Nick made a relatively poor call in returing all of the money, however I can't fault him too heavily for it.  The alternative is to sit down with the store owner and say, "Well, you had two signs, we lost one half way through the day, so we'll return 1/4 of the advertising cost, plus however much a sign costs... how much is that?"

Instead he says, "We screwed up and don't want to ruin our business relationship for the future.  Here's your money back and as a bonus we'll keep your other sign on our cab for the rest of the day."

If there's another episode where they need buy-in, that guy will definately work with Nick, and probably pay a premium to do so because he knows he isn't going to get taken advantage of.

Heidi and Kwame came up with no ideas except for Kwame's continuing theme of paying people exteme bonuses that are entirely out of line with potential returns.  "Here's $100.  Since you normally bring in $100 a day in profit each, I'll simply wipe out the profit of two of my riders for brining in an extra $10 in profit."  Hello?  A much smaller incentive would have worked well, and no incentive at all is probably the smartest move of all - how much extra profit would any incentive have actually created?  As these people live for tips they are trying hard already.

No one asked any of the riders what the most profitable routes were or what seemed to work in the past and what didn't.  They should have spent $30 and taken two of the top riders out the night before to a light dinner and gotten additional ideas that way.  Take advantage of the people who know the business.

Lou
Friday, March 12, 2004

Nick should've asked the guy how much he thought that advertising was worth, and accepted it. 

html tag user
Friday, March 12, 2004

Obviously a great idea by Amy. But then she reverted to her old schtick by trying to sell $50 rides for a two block trip. Katrina wallowed in bitterness the whole episode but did have one good line about Amy: "She thinks every man is in love with her and every woman wants to be her best friend."

Honestly, I don't think any of these people should be running a company.

Clutch Cargo
Friday, March 12, 2004

"...take.. two of the top riders out the night before ... and gotten additional ideas that way.  Take advantage of the people who know the business.
"

Yes, I was wondering the same thing. I didn't think of the advertising or punch cards, but the above occurs to me everytime they try to take over a business for a day.

HOWEVER, while I always have ideas for improving companies I worked for in the past, perhaps most long time employees don't have those ideas. Otherwise they wouldn't still be employees.

But it could work like this " you give me yoru best ideas. If we use 'em, I'll announce it to the world".  If I had a good idea, I'd give it away free to get the credit (unless I could implement it myself).

The real Entrepreneur
Friday, March 12, 2004

Troy did say they talked to the professional drivers to get an idea of the best routes and locations.

Nigel
Friday, March 12, 2004

Nigel, I think that was primarily to determine the locations to put on the cards.  Because subsequently Kwame rode around all morning without picking anyone up.

Lou
Friday, March 12, 2004


It looked like most of the coolies were white.  Kwame didn't have a chance.


Friday, March 12, 2004

Anyone notice how Troy broke the fourth wall in the boardroom.  When George criticized him for offering an explanation, he looked a bit confused and said something like "But I thought thats what you wanted now".  Trump jumped in and said something like "yes, but your explanation was boring".


Friday, March 12, 2004

What's the fourth wall?


Friday, March 12, 2004

Talking to the camera, or to the concept that they're on TV instead of pretending there's nobody watching.

Philo

Philo
Friday, March 12, 2004

Do people resent Troy because he has a southern accent and no degree?  It seems that way to me.


Friday, March 12, 2004

Although Kwame, the Harvard MBA, likes him.


Friday, March 12, 2004

Heidi does not have the temperament to be an Executive - I expected her to go after the fiasco with Omarosa.  She does not have the patience to deal with people like Omarosa

KS
Friday, March 12, 2004

Do you think Troy and Kwame are smart enough not to pick Amy for their team next week?  Who do they pick.  Picking Bill or Nick is almost as bad -- strengthens their hand.  I say pick Katrina and make her PM.  If you win, great.  If you lose -- she's getting fired no matter who goes in with her.

Lou Franco
Friday, March 12, 2004

Looking at the next week's trailers, it looks like they picked Katrina.

Anon
Friday, March 12, 2004

They may have picked Katrina just make her PM and get her fired, in case they loose. Or it could be because they can't pick Amy (since Trump already commented about both the teams picking Amy) and they have to have a girl in thier team. They always lost when it was all male team.

Anon
Friday, March 12, 2004

I was impressed that it looked like both Troy and Heidi *learned* something about themselves in the boardroom.  Both looked very thoughtful about some of the things they were told, and I thought I heard Heidi say as she left, something to the effect of not wanting to be in management.

It's hard to get Troy to be negative about *anything*.  Even in his selection of Heidi to stay, he was trying to make it be a selection of Kwame to go.  When asked if Heidi was a leader, he said she was a great salesperson.  *Man* that guy is positive.  The funny thing is that both he and Heidi do well at sales, considering that she seems almost uniformly *negative* about everything.  I would have expected a negative attitude to be counterproductive for a sales person, who needs to continually face rejection.  Troy, however, never sees rejection, he only sees wonderful people who just haven't gotten to know him well yet.  :)

George had an interesting comment about explanations weakening you as a leader.  It was really fascinating, once I understood what he meant.  You might think it's a superficial comment about one's relationship to subordinates -- and maybe he even meant it that way.  But what I took away from it was different.  He seemed to actually be saying that if you make out that external forces are compelling you to decide a certain way, then you are giving up your personal power.  If the circumstances are what decide things, then there is no need for a decision *maker*.  Or to put it another way, sometimes what makes leadership is deciding to do things that go *against* what external circumstances or common thought seem to say, so trying to "explain" your decisions just weakens you as a leader.

Not because of what other people do or don't think of your explanations, but because making a habit of justifying all decisions is a good way to ensure that you only make justifiable decisions.  Not good ones, necessarily, just ones that you can justify!

Phillip J. Eby
Friday, March 12, 2004

Don't be silly. After Troy's lecture from Trump - I expected more from you - They're not going to throw a game just to get rid of THE OTHER TEAM's liability.

Troy and Kwame are buddies, they're going to choose another buddy. Trump already told them not to choose Amy so they will choose either Bill or Nick, whichever isn't PM, though I suspect Amy will be PM next week.

They would be smart to choose Bill (brains) because they already have the brawn. Nick is just another mindless sales drone. Amy is off limits because of Trump's comments. Katrina... If they choose her it's because they want some "feminine energy" on the team, or because they were told to do it by the show's producers.

Troy, Kwame, and Katrina would be so heavily handicapped from the starting gate that... Well, it would be like watching this weeks massacre a second time.

www.MarkTAW.com
Friday, March 12, 2004

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000072.html

"If you hire all A people, he said, they'll also hire A people. But if you hire B people, they'll hire the C people and then it's all over."

I say they choose Katrina.

Lou Franco
Friday, March 12, 2004

If I'm an A person, then what am I doing hiring B people to begin with?

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, March 13, 2004

> What's the fourth wall?

It comes from theater, it's the imaginary 4th wall where the audience is.

Insofar as I recall, they did ask the drivers where the best places to go where. I believe it was Kwame (or Troy) that mentioned it "I went to all the spots they told me to, but I still couldn't get a fare."

You're right about Amy using sex (again) to sell, so I guess I was wrong, she didn't keep her nose completely clean. On the other hand, it was a sales situation and they were trying to turn a "no" into a "yes." As far as I'm concerned, she didn't lose too many points because of that.

Nick's returning the money was consistent with his statements that he felt it was wrong to take money for something that he didn't deliver on. The scenes with him are straight out of the book Influence by Cialdini that was metioned here a week ago. Consistency, Reciprocity. These are straight out of the book. This is clearly his sales background talking. Isn't he a photocopier salesman? Xerox has a near infamous sales team with a rigorous training program. (See "The Force" by David Dorsey for more details.)

Regarding the George/Troy discussion. I don't really remember what George said, but any time someone has a solid explanation for everything they do, I'm sleightly suspect. Logic as I learned in math class and through debating is "if P is true then Q is true. P is true so Q must be true." I.e. "If someone didn't contribute they must be fired. Heidi didn't contribute, so she must be fired." The problem is, decisions rarely get made that way. You make the decision to fire someone, and then you can back it up with reasons, but the decision itself isn't made for
"on paper" logic reasons.

Again, straight out of Influence, if you give a reason for something, people are much more likely to accept what you have to say. "Due to budget cuts, you have to be let go." Even if the reason given is obvious - you ARE the budget cuts.

Troy is a nice guy. Troy believes he's a nice guy. Troy doesn't like saying bad things about people, so he had an inherent conflict, just as Bill did last week, when he was forced to make a decision about who to fire, or why Heidi should be fired.

Nick has no such problems and can argue just about anything you tell him to.

Since we're talking about someone who will have to be a leader, and in the context of firing people... from what I've seen of Bill, Troy and Nick in the boardroom, here is how I'd see each of them handling firing someone.

Bill - realizes someone isn't pulling their weight and starts weighing pros & cons. He's a nice guy, but as you saw with his comments about Katrina, if he doesn't like you, he won't want you around. He'll likely fire you as your friend and give you a good recommendation, or on the flipside, it'll be a bitter argument. He'll tell you why he fired you, but will try to spare your feelings, so you may never really find out what problems you need to address.

Nick - will choose not to like you for various reasons, I'm not sure as logical as Bill's would be, he shoots from the hip a bit, look at how he chose the artist. He'd be tough, and honest, and will provide a good recommendation (he can argue anything, even something he doesn't believe).

Troy - will be told he has to fire you, and after the 5th person tells him, he'll begrudgingly do it. He may even give you a second and a third chance to "shape up." By the fourth chance, even you'll agree with him - Troy hates having people dislike him, so having clearly told you in advance and having given you 3 chances, you'll "see it his way" and leave. Troy will also give you a good reference, and will genuinely believe you'll do better in your new job.

Amy, Katrina, and Kwame I haven't really gathered enough information on to come up with scenarios.

www.MarkTAW.com
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Handicapping the remaining contestants in order:

Amy – Has to be the favorite at this point. As she noted this week she’s won 10 straight competitions and she’s been drafted twice.

Troy – Has contributed more to his teams than anyone else. Superb people skills. Anyone other than Troy or Amy is a huge long shot.

Nick – He’s goofy, but he works hard and is decisive. He vastly overestimates his own abilities though.

Bill – Doesn’t seem to work very hard, doesn’t have good people skills and he’s not very smart. Not a great combination.

Katrina – A little too emotional, and not forceful enough. Seems spoiled and likes to whine when she doesn’t get her way.

Kwame – The invisible man. He’s had chances, but hasn’t shown skill at anything other than chin-ups. Wonder what his autograph is worth now.

The Ronald
Saturday, March 13, 2004

I agree about  Amy -- not only on the winning team, but actually contributing to the win.  Only Troy and Nick seem as good at contributing to the win (when they win).

Troy, unfortunately, also seems to contribute to his losses -- does that make him a leader :)

I think Kwame is a sleeper and definitely has room to impress.  He has Troy as a partner, but I think he needs to set up a situation where he is against him and right.

Lou Franco
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

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