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The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, Weekly Performance Appraisal, Week 9: Damned Good Coffee, and Hot!by William Ingram -- 11/21/2005
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And I'm out with a friend
With lips full of passion
And coffee in bed”
-- “Black Coffee in Bed,” Squeeze, 1982
Welcome to the weekly (some might say, “weakly”) evaluation of the contestants on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. Every week, I look at each remaining contestant and give my appraisal of his or her performance. Some of them shine like stars and others flicker like fluorescent lights down at the warehouse.
This week, we start off with the seven 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 hitched your wagon to Jim’s star. You’d better cross your fingers that his star rises rather than falls. Need I point out to you, however, that Jim has been a part of the losing team almost every week?
Still, you took it with grace when Dawna spent the entire budget on an outside team and you just tried to work with them. You got along well with them and you were a great salesperson. You get a big pink cupcake this week.
Jim: Okay, you were a bit more subdued today, and that’s a look that’s good on you. Unfortunately, you were unwilling to let your teammates work on their own and trust them to do a good job. You should have trusted Dawna to get everything set up.
But you truly shined, once again, when it came to selling the product. Apparently, you worked so hard that you lost your voice. And, fortunately, you were up against Marcela which, correct me if I’m wrong, has been the only other time you won a challenge.
I wouldn’t get so darned cocky, though. If I do the math right, you spent $30,000 in public-relations money and had three people working full time for two days to sell just 36 coffee makers for gross sales of about $6,000. That was much better than Marcela did, but it’s still not a profitable enterprise. You get a big bear claw this week.
Dawna: You had a good idea. With only three people on the team, you can’t run everything, so you needed to hire someone to help set everything up. The problem was that you wanted to set it all up on your own. Jim was not pleased. In fact, Jim went into panic mode.
I do agree with Jim, however, that you should have at least checked in with him before finalizing any agreement with the outside company. I mean, he was the project manager. I also kind of disagree with your idea of throwing $30,000 at the company, right off the bat. You probably should have asked what their normal price was and then offered them a bit less than $30,000. If they resisted, then you might have upped the price to $30,000 if you had to.
Still, hiring the PR firm did seem to be the winning move. The other team tried to do everything on their own and blew it. It was your effort that won this week, so I’ll give you a rack of sticky buns.
Ryan: You fell in with Amanda in that she wasn’t going to respect Marcela. At one point, you made fun of Marcela for wanting to bring in pastries and not concentrating on selling the coffee machines. Yet, only a few minutes later, you were trying to spend $15,000 to bring in a celebrity, which seems to have as much in common with selling coffee machines as pastries do.
When you found one, Big Pussy, from The Sopranos, you seemed more interested in saying the word “pussy” on TV as many times as possible rather than actually figuring out a way to win this task.
And then, when Marcela told you, point blank, to find a pastry chef, you failed. And you had the gall to undermine Marcela by announcing that you couldn’t find a chef right when Charles dropped by to check up on how your team was doing. In the real world, people get fired for doing that to their bosses.
When it came time to actually sell the machines, you stood around and offered people free samples. You never seemed to try to sell the product. Finally, in the Conference Room, you got all indignant when Marcela pointed out your lack of help on this task. Martha could see the phoniness coming off of you in waves of coffee steam. You should have put some of that passion to work selling coffee machines. I’ll give you a donut hole for your efforts this week.1 2 Next-->
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