The Apprentice 2 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 5: Gross!by Mike DeGeorge -- 10/14/2004
The biggest controversy this week deals with whether the teams should have been judged by gross sales or net. While I understand what RNO editor David Bloomberg wrote in his recent article, I disagree with his point. Yes, the challenge did not accurately measure salesmanship, but I contend that the entire point of the challenge was about choosing the right product and pricing it correctly. How much they actually made is irrelevant. It's like a physics problem, where you ignore factors like friction and concentrate on what you're trying to learn. That's all The Apprentice's tasks are, business school examples on a grand scale.
I'd almost wish you guys would lose once in a while so that we'd see a little bit of you. But I'm not complaining, as long as Raj is still around, I'm happy. I thought your price was too high, and wasn't particularly impressed with 90% of Chris' managerial skills (we'll get to that in a minute). But you had the highest gross sales (nyah!) and won. The interesting question becomes, how many sales would you have had if the price WERE under $70?
Kevin and Wes: It's hard to believe that this far into it that we still have a few people that get next to no exposure in each episode.
John: Great job on the air demonstrating the grill, and I think it might have made the difference for your team. But I hope in the future you can show a little more than a winning smile.
Raj: I like your style, always have. You've got to admire someone with the guts to walk right up to Anna Kournikova and ask for a date. The problem is, you're putting yourself in the "class clown" role. The danger there is that you're not competing to be popular - you're competing to become a manager. If people see you as the fun guy, no one will respect you as a leader. As it stands, although I think it's your strongest feature, I think your "differentness" will end up being your downfall.
I also agree with you that the price should have been under $70. I'll never understand retailers that price things at $71, for example. We've been conditioned as a society to think of $69.99 as a much lower number than $70, and it's a proven fact that the scheme works. Why mess with it?
Kelly: You're coming on way too strong. Just because Pamela left doesn't mean you have to assume the authoritarian dictator role in her place. Your team came damn close to losing, and you're lucky. The others would probably have put the blame right on your shoulders for the pricing decision. In this case, Pamela was more incompetent than you, which may have saved you.
Andy: My only advice to you this week: Don't wear a hard hat again. Ever.
Chris: I have to agree with Raj - you should have stepped into the argument about price, especially since you were being judged on gross sales. That was the most important aspect of the challenge, and you sat back and watched while it was decided for you. You DID take the initiative in choosing to sell the grill, which I think was the best choice. And I have to agree with Betsy from her article. I ALWAYS respect a manager that gives credit to the employees.
I thought this team couldn't get any sadder, but to rise up and unite against someone who was trying to fix the team is the most pathetic display I've ever seen on this show, and that includes a LOT. Pamela may have had a horrible style, but nobody even TRIED to play by her rules. The only time Apex shows togetherness is when they pick a target, which means this team as it stands will never be successful.
Now watch them win next week.
Elizabeth: Your big moment was embarrassing the heck out of Maria with the walkie-talkie. Had you been the project manager, I don't think you'd be around after that one. And by the way, nice job criticizing the leadership. It would have meant something from someone who hasn't FAILED MISERABLY.
Jennifer: You did a fine job as a spokesmodel. Now how are you as a manager?
Sandy: I didn't see anything wrong, but supposedly the QVC people hated you. This is two weeks in a row that you were mentioned as the one who should have gone to the boardroom. Not good.
Ivana: Well, you're very, very slowly redeeming yourself, although it is a very long voyage to redemption in my eyes. My big problem with you was the total and complete anarchy that ruled under your leadership. You want to impress me (and you know you do!), show that you've learned from the spectacular Apex failures of the past and lead your team to victory.
On the negative side, I loved how your argument about Pamela not taking responsibility was cut off at the knees as she steadily took responsibility from everyone else on the team.
Maria: Why are you still here? Have you produced ANYTHING besides attitude? You don't want to be lectured? So the only one that's allowed to be condescending on this team is you? Yes, you're grown women, but as a team, you're pathetic. You need to be lectured, among many other things.
You're like Ereka from last year - you only stayed around because others screwed up more spectacularly than you, and you managed to point that finger of yours in their direction. Like Ereka, the minute you lead, you will fall.
Stacey: I defended you last week, and darn it, I want to defend you this week against Pamela - my enemy's enemy and all that. But I have to say that being the primary "havoc wreaker" two weeks in a row looks pretty bad. I can see your arguments, and agree with you that Jen and Pamela were horrid leaders. But there's one thing in business that many people NEVER learn, which is there comes a time when you have to just SHUT UP and do what you're told, no matter how much you disagree. I'm not saying to do this all the time, in fact, the hard part is knowing when to argue and when to shut up. Continually doing one or the other is a fast track to becoming a troublemaker and eventually NO ONE will listen to you because it will become, "What does Stacey not like about the plan THIS TIME?" Pick your spots. I know you had to be frustrated - I would have been, too. But screaming about it and arguing won't help. Luckily for you, you saved your best ammunition for the boardroom where it counted.
Pamela: Boy, you flat-out suck, don't you? Twice as project manager, two losses. You're also responsible for Mosaic's only loss, which I thought should have gotten you fired for in week one. In fact, the men hated you so much, they actively campaigned the women to get rid of you. Some might say that the men wanted you gone because they were afraid of you, and they'd be partially right - I think the men were afraid that you'd rejoin their team, and they wanted to nip that in the bud.
You've got an MBA degree, huh? Guess how impressed I am by that? Apparently, and I've been saying this since The Apprentice started, degrees mean absolutely nothing if you don't convert what you learn into actual business knowledge. I think you've proven my point quite nicely.
Let's get the good out of the way first, especially since this is the shorter section by far. I did like how you tried to take control of the women's team on the bus to West Chester. Of course, just like your degrees, the speech ended up meaning nothing and turned out putting the rest of the team against you. So while I give you credit for the effort, it didn't work in the slightest.
You refused to take Ivana's advice about the price (and then lied about it in the boardroom), you didn't let Stacey do her job and belittled her for trying to do what you told her to do - and then belittled her legal background in front of Trump's General Council, which in case they didn't teach that at Wharton, IS A LAWYER. As stupid moves go, that one ranks right up there with Bradford giving up his immunity. You were disrespectful. You refused to admit that you even lost! A tie! Did you actually think Trump would buy that? Above all, and something no one seems to understand, is that you refused to take responsibility for the loss. That, more than anything else, got you fired.
But you did succeed in one aspect - you brought the team together. Unfortunately for you, they came together to get you fired, and for the first time in a long while, Apex Corporation was successful at something. Couldn't have happened to a nicer person.
Mike DeGeorge has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, and has almost ten years of management experience. He is also Associate Editor of RNO. Email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to sign up for our e-mail update so you can stay informed about new articles on the site! And take a look at the rest of the site. You can find all of our recent articles on this show at our The Apprentice page and take a look at our sections on Survivor: All-Stars and Celebrity Mole. You can even buy reality show stuff at our Reality TV Store!
For more news about The Apprentice, be sure to check out SirLinksALot!