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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Weekly Performance Appraisal, Week 3: Let Them Eat Cake!by William Ingram -- 10/11/2005
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“MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark
Welcome to the weekly (some might say, “weakly”) evaluation of the contestants on Apprentice Martha Stewart. Each week, I will look at each contestant remaining and give my appraisal of his or her performance. Some of them will shine like stars and others will flicker like fluorescent lights down at the warehouse.
This week, we start off with the fourteen contestants. Will any of them remember what I told them last week? Will any of them learn from their mistakes? Let’s find out.
Bethenny: You’re a cook. So, why weren’t you the project manager?
David: It’s about time that you stepped up and became the project manager. I have to question, though, whether a task involving wedding cakes was the right task for you. In any case, you did have some good ideas, such as splitting up the cooks in the group so that there would be some expertise in every part of the team. Yet, you didn’t do that. You put Bethenny and Marcela on the same part of the team.
But, it just didn’t seem like you were leading your team. You had some basic ideas, but generally seemed to just let everybody run wild and do their own thing. This ended up with a product that wasn’t endorsed by the whole team.
You just weren’t a good project manager. But, fortunately for you personally, almost everyone else on your team has a laundry list of reasons why they should be sent home before you. You just need to not do anything stupid for the next few challenges.
Dawn: You are slowly learning the ways of the world. You’ve just been dragged to the conference room three times in a row, and your team has made it plainly obvious that they do not like you. Do you make a huge effort to change your ways and become a positive force on the team? No. You entrench yourself even deeper with your decision to shut yourself off from the rest of the team. That’s better than the things you’ve tried in recent weeks.
Yeah, you recognized that the team was making more and more limiting decisions and narrowing down the potential audience. But, you also recognized that your team would not listen to you if you spoke up. Why is that? Well, it’s because you burned all your bridges with the team. You had no one to turn to.
Fortunately, this week you did manage to keep your mouth shut. As such, we never saw Jim continuing his vendetta against you. Maybe Jim has calmed down or maybe he was just distracted by his new child.
Jim: I don’t know about you. You even treat your wife as a simple business partner and wish her good luck on her upcoming “task” (i.e. childbirth). Even when she finally did have the baby, you barely noted the occurrence and couldn’t wait to get back to being on a TV show.
Now, David wisely put you in your element when he assigned you to be a salesman for the cake. Unfortunately, you managed to sell nothing to a steady stream of customers. Maybe you aren’t as good of a salesman as you think.
Marcela: You went down a risky path deciding to produce an oval cake. I mean, I am, by no means, an expert in weddings, but that offset oval design was awful. It simply looks like a mistake, or like the layers slipped during the van ride over to the sales room.
And when Shawn told you the cake was awful, she wasn’t being disrespectful, she was being honest. As the customers later said, it looks like a cruise ship or a boot.
And what was the deal with carrying the cake down the hallway and risking the whole challenge to a rogue banana peel on the floor? They make carts for moving large objects like that.
Marcela, you were the prime reason the team lost this week. You made a cake that could not be sold. You better thank your lucky stars that Martha went off on a tangent and found some other scapegoat for the loss.
Shawn: Your idea to go for selling very expensive cakes was risky. You should have seen the problems that Primarius had last week selling flowers at exorbitant prices. They only won because they got most of their materials for free. You didn’t have that luxury this week.
You did well, however, in taking the lead when it became obvious that David didn’t know anything about making cakes. You should have pointed that out in the conference room.
But, you made a rather foolish comment in that you would personally take the blame if your team lost. Let’s face it, your team has Jim and Dawn on it and is destined to keep self-destructing until one or both of them are sent home. That was a really stupid comment to make.
As it turned out, Jim and Dawn were not the primary reasons for the failure this week. But, the bottom line is that the team lost and your comment hung in the air like a dead skunk.
Those offhand comments you made this week simply doomed you. Martha took exception to them and didn’t feel that you were serious enough to work for her. And, Martha was so offended that she changed all the rules and fired you even though the project manager didn’t bring you back to the Conference Room and you should have been safe from eviction.
And, I suppose I can’t really disagree with Martha. You are a newscaster and it’s your job to just utter any pithy thing that comes to mind and to say it with a smile. Perhaps, as Martha said, you’ll now learn to think before you speak.1 2 Next-->
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