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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart – Why Howie Lostby David Bloomberg -- 11/16/2005
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On the most recent edition of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, three out of four people on the losing team could reasonably have been fired – and surprisingly, Jim was the other one! How did it end up being Howie rather than Dawna or Bethenny? Why did Howie lose?
While we won’t spend too much time discussing the two who didn’t lose, it is now time to go back through What ‘Apprentice 4’ and ‘Martha Stewart Apprentice’ Applicants Should Have Learned to answer the question of why Howie did.
The first rule, of course, is to show leadership. In previous tasks, Howie has helped lead his team both when he was project manager and when he wasn’t. However, in this particular one, leader Howie seemed to have left the building. In his place was I-don’t-care Howie, at least from all appearances.
Bethenny was the project manager, which was fine. But Howie had other opportunities to take on important roles. He was supposed to be one of the on-air personalities, and could have made a point about wanting to write his own script, choose his method of promotion, etc. From all we saw, he didn’t. In fact, he took very little interest in anything that was going on – refusing to practice and not even getting the product name right. It was almost like Howie didn’t even want to be there anymore, let alone lead while he was there.
Another possibility is that Howie blew the second rule, staying cool under fire. Did the pressure of having to do the live TV presentation get to him? I would have to say no, as it looked more like apathy than nerves, but I suppose it’s possible. At previous times in the series, Howie definitely blew this rule, but it didn’t affect him here. Indeed, showing a little more stress and emotion might have been just what the doctor ordered for Howie at this point.
The third rule also brings us a past Howie/current Howie issue. Previously, Howie had no problem speaking up and standing up for what he thought was right. But suddenly in this challenge, Howie just didn’t seem to care. If he wanted to be the on-air salesman, he could have told Bethenny that he would do it, and then done it right. Instead, he just moved aside and let Jim take over with little preparation.
The fourth rule, however, didn’t apply here. Howie wasn’t even interested enough to try to scheme his way out of things. It probably wouldn’t have worked, but he didn’t even give it a shot.
The fifth rule similarly played pretty much zero role. While Howie did have moments of anger, none surfaced in the most recent task and they had nothing to do with him getting fired.
One thing that did have a big impact was his failure in the sixth rule, focusing on the long-term. As already noted, Howie seemed to have a problem focusing even on the task at hand. He couldn’t get the product name right, couldn’t show that he was ready to go live on air, and then couldn’t even figure out the controls as far as who he was talking to!
Perhaps this particular task didn’t interest Howie. But even if that was the case, he needed to keep his eye on the prize. Martha Stewart has made it clear that the person she hires will need to have ideas, creativity, and passion. By showing that he really didn’t seem to care anymore, Howie blew the third one completely.
The seventh rule says to understand the challenge – in this case, that meant getting the most dollars possible. We could say that the team’s pick of a lower-priced item led to their loss, but there is really no way to be sure and certainly no way they could have known that going in. No, the point here was to show that they could give a sales pitch and get people to buy what they were selling. Howie was supposed to be a major part of that pitch, but chose not to worry too much about that. Not smart.
And not creative, either. Jim playing the average dad was smart and a creative way to sell the product. But Howie had no idea what he was going to do, despite being asked repeatedly to rehearse. He contributed a big zero to this task. Once again, contributing zero is not exactly what Martha is looking for.
Plus, lack of contribution doesn’t help show that a contestant can meet the ninth rule, which warns against being one-dimensional. As we’ve already discussed, Howie was zero-dimensional in this task, so even one would have been an improvement!
Finally, we arrive at the rule that says to use common sense. Howie appeared to have given up on this as well. Common sense would have dictated that Howie should either have practiced and rehearsed or said from the get-go that he felt uncomfortable doing it. Either way would have been better than his passive resistance that lasted until Bethenny had no choice but to pull him out of the TV segment.
From what we saw, Howie pretty much checked out. It’s not clear if he was tired, sick of the competition, or what, but he seemed to forget why he was there. He didn’t contribute much of anything to this challenge, even when given several opportunities. Martha Stewart had to see this and think, “If he gives up this easily when a competition is on the line, how will he do with everyday jobs if he were to win?” The answer, of course, is that Howie was not the type of employee Martha would hire!
Howie stopped showing leadership or even showing that he cared. He abandoned whatever passion he had and there was no way he was going to convince Martha that he was in this for the long haul. If he couldn’t even make it through the “interview” process, there was no way he was going to make it in Martha’s company. That is why Howie lost.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other Apprentice: Martha Stewart Episode 8 articles:
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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