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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why David Lostby David Bloomberg -- 10/28/2005
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At only 22 and with precious little business experience, David was always a long-shot to become Martha Stewart’s apprentice. He stuck around longer than many others, but his end finally came. Why did David lose?
We are getting to the point in this Apprentice series where candidates are not being judged on a single performance, but on their entire record to date. With this in mind, we will look back at how David has done in comparison to What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned. Much of his loss can be blamed on his actions (or lack thereof) in the recent challenge, but we will definitely find the past creeping in as well.
The first rule, of course, notes the importance of leadership. David has not exactly been a hotshot manager, leading his team to victory. In fact, the one time he was project manager, he lost (which made it ironic that he complained about Marcela losing her first time). In fact, I was surprised he wasn’t fired at the time – and think that if he had been on Trump’s version of the show, he would have been.
I am, of course, talking about the wedding cake challenge. David “led” his team by allowing everybody else to do the work. He didn’t pick the design, he didn’t bake the cake, he didn’t sell the cake (well, nobody on his team sold a cake!). Then, to top it off, he brought the wrong people to the Conference Room, putting Martha in a position where she decided to bring back the rest of the team and fire Shawn. Indeed, I think she has been picking the people to return to the Conference Room in large part because she doesn’t want a repeat of David’s performance.
As I mentioned, if this had been Trump’s version of the show, I believe David would have been fired for bringing the wrong people. Martha barely gave him a slap on the wrist, if that. But his lack of leadership cannot have been forgotten. Shawn needed to go at that particular time, but David never came around to show that he truly deserved to stay. David was a poor leader when he was project manager, and took on no leadership responsibilities when he wasn’t.
The second rule says to stay cool under fire. David didn’t really have a problem here, but I have to wonder if that’s because he never really felt any pressure. Since he didn’t take leadership roles, he wasn’t in a position to feel the heat that could affect others.
Similarly, David didn’t really put himself into a position where he needed to stick up for his ideas and show he had a backbone. By allowing everybody else to do their stuff, he didn’t have to get into any conflicts that might have caused him to either fold or stand up strong.
And while a number of people this season have tried to scheme their way out of the Conference Room – Jim chief among them – David barely even tried it, which is good. Sure, he talked to one teammate, but that’s about it.
David did well in the fifth rule, getting along with others. It seemed that everybody liked David – and why not? But they seemed to like him more in a “kid brother” kind of way than a “respected coworker” way. While they didn’t go out of their way to blame him, they also didn’t go out of their way to talk about what a great job he did or otherwise protect him.
Sixth is to focus on the long-term. I believe that David did truly want to work for Martha Stewart – but he wanted to work in one specific area. However, this show is not The Internet Apprentice: Martha Stewart and there was no guarantee that even if he won, he would have been put in the internet department. He should have been trying to show Stewart that he had capabilities above and beyond the web. Those abilities never really showed up, and then he further hurt his chances by telling Stewart that he wanted to work on the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia websites. Was he being honest? Sure. But was full honesty the best policy at that point? Probably not. He needed to expand his goals to meet with what the apprentice position would involve.
The seventh rule says to understand the challenge. The celebrity pet auction challenge focus should have been on getting the absolute best packages to attract buyers. However, David contributed nothing, from what we saw, to that goal. He took notes. That about covers it. As Charles noted, even one single idea from David might have been enough to put them over the top. But it didn’t happen.
In the task when David was project manager, he also showed an inability to understand the point. When they lost, he brought the bakers into the Conference Room to take the blame. But Stewart said it wasn’t the bakers’ fault – it was sales. Not only didn’t David understand that during the challenge, when it might have helped his team win, but he didn’t understand it afterwards either.
Eighth is to be creative – again, David failed here. Of all the applicants, I don’t know of anybody who has been less creative than David. I’m sure he had a few moments along the way, but nothing stands out. Therein lies a problem. This rule is especially important for Stewart’s version of the show. Being an internet wizard is great, but people working with Stewart need to create as well.
That mention of the internet leads us back to what we already discussed, but also forward to the ninth rule, which says contestants can’t be one-dimensional. David’s one dimension was the internet. He created an internet company. He wanted to work on Martha Stewart’s website. That’s all well and good, but it’s simply not what Stewart is looking for through this show. Maybe David will contact Stewart’s web folks and end up with a job or consulting in that way – but he won’t be the Apprentice.
The tenth rule says to use common sense. Unfortunately for David, a lot of the wisdom involved in common sense comes with experience – and he had little to none. Common sense should have told David to be more involved and show more capabilities. Common sense should have told him not to focus so much on the internet when answering Stewart’s question about why he wanted to work there. But David failed in both of these particular areas.
When Stewart fired David, she discussed his lack of experience and leadership. These were things he could not have done anything about – he was brought on to the show with what he had. So that meant he needed to fight extra hard to show he belonged there. Instead, David tended to end up in the background, even when he was the project manager. David did not show that he was much more than an internet guru. There’s nothing wrong with being an internet guru, mind you, but that’s not what Stewart was looking for. David did not show the necessary leadership, decision-making, and creative abilities. That is why David lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out our Apprentice: Martha Stewart Episode 6 recap:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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