A Dose of Reality: The Apprentice 3 - Episode 3: Nestled Tastes, Trump's Choices
by Beth Gottfried
Published: February 4, 2005
Watching this week's episode had me questioning whether or not these candidates are psychologically evaluated prior to being allowed on the show. I know in seasons' past there were the whacked out divas, but even Stacie J with her magic 8 ball seemed far less offensive and malevolent than serial whack job, Michael. If his lack of compassion for Verna wasn't enough to convince you that this guy was subzero, he was positively ruthless in his desire to sabotage Danny's unsuccessful stint as project manager. Guys like Michael are jerks, but the reality is, on or off TV we're confronted with jerks in the workplace and in our personal lives. So perhaps a more fitting practical business and life lesson for this week's show would have been, "Eliminate the noid" or maybe just "Michael, the viewers have tasted your kind and made this choice: You're fired!"
"The Apprentice is a huge opportunity to give up. At least if you get fired, there is dignity." -Michael
Earth to Michael: Getting fired or dumped hurts far worse than leaving of your own free will. It's a known fact. Even so, I recommend experiencing one of the two in your lifetime; if for nothing else, as I told my brother last night, it's one of those things you must endure to become a better, wiser individual. (or maybe a less tortured soul) Michael's drawbacks are that he has no soul. This is also a positive as he can't be consumed with guilt, nor does he have to bother with all the nuances of having an actual conscience so it allows him to move to the top of the corporate ladder quicker. Unfortunately "The Apprentice" is also about team work and at least pretending to get along and earn the respect of your teammates. In this way, Michael is sure to be eliminated in the upcoming weeks.
"Let's get everyone together and form a support group. " -Danny
Danny means well, he really does, but he has no business acumen and shouldn't have been cast on a show like this. He's all heart and peace-loving hippie, which makes him a "nice guy," but not really a qualified Apprentice . I liked that he showed Verna love and while the rest of Magna Corp seemed to begrudge her for leaving, Danny seemed genuinely sincere in his concern for her. Compassion is an important quality in becoming a decent person and it might not have its place on this show, but I'd like to think it still ranks highly enough in the corporate world. This may just be wishful thinking on my part.
Verna did walk off this week, in a much anticipated event, and she was right to do so. She realized her limitations and while others made it seem as if she couldn’t quite "hack" the fast-paced business environment of this show, it should also be noted that even Season One's winner Bill Rancic and Season Two's loser, Ivana said the stress of this show was immense and physically took its toll. We don't see this aspect on a weekly basis for obvious reasons and I think that if anything Verna walking off solidified the extent of the pressure that these candidates must endure. These episodes are shot consecutively and there aren't really breaks between missions. A week may transpire between episodes, but this does not reflect real time. I was sad to see Verna go, based on her performance on the first task and her efforts on the second. I think she showed potential, just perhaps lacked the will. It should also be noted that there ain't nothing wrong with that. As an aside, a few years back I trained rigorously for a marathon and got up to 23 miles. An actual marathon is a little over 26 miles. I never came to run the marathon and it wasn't for lack of will; I willed my body into submission and forced it to physical extremes that had me throwing up on a fairly steady basis. Giving up and realizing my own physical limitations was the hardest thing for me to do because it meant giving my ego a reprieve and thinking with my heart. I think Verna might have arrived at a similar place and for that, she has my respect. It takes courage to know when to cut your losses.
"Enough Life Lessons, Get to the Recap." -Beth (to herself)
Nestle, the largest food company, grosses over 100 billion a year. In an effort to market their Nescafe Taster's Choice coffee, each team is allotted $75,000 to create a buzz-worthy campaign that promotes the coffee brand. They are later evaluated by 2 Nestle executives and whichever team rates the highest, wins.
Magna : Danny, Dippy Well-Meaning Hippy: Project Manager; Michael, Real Estate Entrepreneur: Jerk/The Noid.
NetWorth: Angie, uber aggressive Entrepreneur: Project Manager. Chris: the guy who really stepped up to plate on this task.
Danny and Michael duke it out in the boardroom as an annoyed Stephanie watches on. "Why did you take someone who was exempt into the boardroom with you?" Trump asks Danny over and over and over again. My response: Why is Trump so adamant about "sticking to the rules" when he hardly advocates this behavior in his own professional life? As Erin put so eloquently, "Michael has abused power, shown a lack of integrity, and a lack of professionalism" For all of Michael's breaches in conduct, that "rule" should have been overturned, unfortunately it wasn't. A rule is a rule for Trump, unless he decides to change it, that is.
Danny as Project Manager
Danny was "terrible," "lousy" and "no good." Once again, Trump's grasp of the diverse range of the English vernacular continues to impress audiences. I'm just waiting for him to come up with a synonym for "terrible" and "billion" and then I'll be happy. I realize the latter might be tough. Danny was in fact a lousy leader. He couldn't delegate and what's worse, (aside from an inability to make a decision) didn't seem to have a creative bone in his body. He forks over $30,000 to an event planner for an event which has yet to be an actual concept or idea, let alone a full-fledged shindig. He should have booted Michael out for his hysterics and desire to sabotage the task, within the first 10 minutes. Bren saved the day by coming up with the idea of an I-pod giveaway, but this didn't actually accomplish the goal of creating a stir around the brand. It only insured that people came out to the event. Once again, Magna was half-ass on this task. Much like on their first task, they managed to attract people to their event, but didn't have the follow thru or know-how to actually market their item.
Angie as Project Manager
Angie was direct, creative, and knew how to implement her plan. She wasted no time in delegating the task and getting her "Election/Debate" concept into play. She actively engaged patrons by having a debate forum, "Hot vs Cold" coffee and got them talking about the brand. She also showed creativity in using the Election theme to target consumers as the event was most likely taped around the same time that the presidential debates were going on. As Tana commented about Angie however, "The day of the task she'll be like my mother on Thanksgiving day." I believe this accurately reflects Angie's aggressive and somewhat bulldog style. She needs to be less abrasive and act like more of a team player, if she wants to be in this long term.
And now a word from our MBA student/financial analyst/Apprentice 3 future candidate…
Gordon's Take on Magna Corp
Overall, we have to look at the real reason why Magna lost this task. As the Nescafe executives mentioned, this task was lost on a lack of creativity in the marketing campaign. What is sad is that a team of college-educated people could not come up with an effective marketing campaign for an everyday necessity of most people. They squandered $37,000 on an event planner when they had no event to be planned. Although teamwork and leadership was also lacking in this mission, the underlying reason why Magna was sent to the boardroom was based on their horrendous marketing initiative. Magna’s presentation looked boring and unappealing. I do not see anything enticing about receiving an IPOD for participating in a taste test. The advertising means were pitiful. In the end, I applaud DT for observing the real reason why Magna lost this task and firing the person responsible instead of having another attack of Stacie J syndrome and dismissing the person that the whole team is plotted against.
Gordon's Take on NetWorth Corp
I was very impressed with the performance of Net Worth. These guys were highly motivated and displayed the hustle, hunger, and drive needed to be successful in business. These guys definitely shined and showed that the strength of their experience they received while Magna was in college. Their marketing campaign was in tune with current events and therefore able to draw a large crowd. Net Worth included diversity with their hot and cold coffees. They used their seed money efficiently and were able to have a raffle to give away for $10,000. Project Manager Angie had control of her team from the beginning. Chris recovered from the nervous breakdown that he had in the boardroom last week and became a primary contributor.
Beth's Take on Gordon's Take
Totally agree with you on Chris. He really stepped up to plate and was a positive influence. This was in direct contrast to his performance on the last episode. Maybe two short men with Napoleon complexes is one too many for NetWorth. I hope Chris continues his quality performance, but I'm not sure I see him as a leader. He seems like he could potentially be too defensive and vulnerable to team dynamics and pettiness. We'll see. I always like being proven wrong. Or not...
Once again, thanks Gordon for your contribution to the column and good luck with the try-outs! If Trump is reading this, pick Gordon.
Stay tuned for next week's episode as Trump calls both teams into the boardroom. And you thought a candidate walk off was dramatic?