The Apprentice: Why Bill Wonby David Bloomberg -- 04/21/2004
In order to fully understand why Bill won, we need to look at him as he progressed through all the challenges. When we first saw Bill in the lemonade stand challenge, he was trying to stop Sam from wasting time on his crazy ideas. In the second episode, he was again trying to deal with Sam. By the third episode, he was the one who suggested making Sam their project manager! Sure, Sam isn’t as bad as Omarosa, but Bill did his share in dealing with a problem coworker.
In the fourth episode, Kwame was the project manager of the Planet Hollywood challenge. However, due to Kwame’s laid back style and Bill’s initiative, Bowie commented that Bill seemed more like the project manager than Kwame did. Although the guys lost the first four challenges, Bill was never brought to the boardroom for the final decision. Kwame, however, was there twice.
In the fifth episode, after the teams had been reshuffled, Bill really started to come into his own. He found the deal on t-shirts the new team would use in the flea market challenge. He suggested they blow through the merchandise to make sure they weren’t stuck with any unsold inventory. The team Bill was on won, the one Kwame was on lost.
Bill took the helm in the sixth episode, and had to deal with another troublemaker, Tammy. Still, he led his team to a victory in the celebrity auction challenge, while Kwame’s team again lost. In the seventh episode, Bill was put in charge of negotiating the final apartment deal. It was then that he got into an argument with Ereka, who decided to take a break while they were on a tight schedule. Eventually, he got a 10% markup on the apartment’s value, which seemed to be a pretty good deal and was, indeed, what the team had talked about shooting for. However, they lost and Katrina tried to pin the blame on Bill – thus creating his first trip to the boardroom for a possible firing. However, Katrina took most of the blame for not handling the rent negotiations herself – and then Tammy was fired for being so disloyal.
In the next challenge, Bill showed his understanding of business and tried to explain to his team that buyers would be more interested in the price of Trump Ice water than in its sparkling qualities. He was shown to be right when Ereka tried her “let’s create a buzz” pitch and got nowhere, but Bill saved the day. Then he had to do the same for Nick. In the boardroom, after much cajoling from Trump and George, Bill pointed to Ereka as the weakest link – and she was sent home.
While Amy came up with the idea to sell advertising space on the rickshaws in Episode 10, Bill was the project manager and leaped at the concept. In the casino challenge – after he had been traded to the other team – Bill was the one who had what ended up being the winning idea for targeting the VIPs and going for quality rather than quantity.
All along, we saw Bill soldier on, able to manage different difficult situations, coming up with good ideas. He also helped himself out in the boardroom, such as in the 12th episode, when he planted the seed of what would be one of his eventual winning strategies, remarking to Trump that Kwame needed more experience to go along with his book learning.
When it came time for the interviews by four of Trump’s executives, Bill received the highest marks, from what we saw, and did a good job defending himself when some of the interviewers tried to catch him off guard (for example, regarding his education). Earlier, he also scored some points when Amy named him as her biggest competition.
Along the way, Bill became more confident in his boardroom dealings. When he was first asked about who did the worst job, he didn’t answer. Later, he answered after some persuasion. But eventually, when he was asked if he would hire Troy, he gave straight answers without having to be drawn out. This helped solidify his image as somebody who could, in fact, make the difficult decisions. Also, in the final boardroom, Kwame seemed hesitant to take credit and talk himself up, saying that in 30 years they would be neck and neck. However, any expert will tell you that in a job interview, you have to talk yourself up. Bill treated the boardroom as a job interview (which it was, really) and did just that. He had a good answer as to why he’d be better off than Kwame and supported it without being rude or nasty to Kwame.
Bill has some interesting characteristics. He definitely has business ethics – as shown by the way he did not support the “Kwame Jackson” autograph session at Planet Hollywood – but he also is willing to drive a hard bargain – as shown when he didn’t want to refund all of an advertiser’s money after a sign fell off during the rickshaw challenge.
Where Bill really showed his stuff was the final challenge. He was in charge and was making sure nothing went wrong – or when it did, he was on top of it. When people started coming to him about what he considered to be side issues (such as the model homes), that’s exactly where he put them – on the side. He knew what needed to be done and he was going to do it.
Let’s look at the situations when both finalists lost something. Kwame lost Jessica Simpson; Bill lost an advertising sign. Kwame called helplessly on his walkie talkie; Bill personally tracked down everybody who might have seen it and sent them out looking – and when that didn’t work, he went to the trash dumpster himself and found it. I just can’t see Kwame doing that. He would have probably called somebody on his walkie talkie and considered the matter taken care of.
Did Bill sometimes look like a chicken with its head cut off? Yes. But while some of that was in front of the golfers, it was not in front of Donald Trump. Kwame, on the other hand, had his biggest failure while Trump was standing around waiting. What Bill showed Trump was energy and leading by example. Kwame didn’t.
The final project was make or break for both Bill and Kwame. Bill acted like he knew it. Kwame didn’t. Obviously, he did, but that’s just not the way he acted. I mean, I sure as hell wouldn’t trust my future to Omarosa in any way, shape, or form. Yes, he got stuck with her, but Bill had been stuck with difficult people previously and managed to work around them. Allowing your employees to do their jobs is great, but sometimes a manager needs to grab hold of the reins and make sure everything – and everybody – is under control. Bill did a better job of that than Kwame did.
Bill and Kwame have very different management styles. Both of them might work better or worse depending on the circumstances. In real life, if Kwame could choose his own people and fire those who don’t work out, his more laid back style might work great. But nobody is perfect all of the time – even his star player, Troy, had some miscommunications along the way. And that’s when a manager needs to get involved. Kwame really didn’t.
Bill may have overdone it a bit, but he was fighting for his future, so that’s understandable. Also, Bill’s management style is likely one that Trump understands better – I can’t see The Donald just sitting back and saying, “My employees know what to do, so I’ll just let ‘em,” especially when things are falling apart.
Bill did a better overall job of managing a difficult situation. And his event went off virtually without a hitch as far as those involved with it were concerned (other than the weather, which he certainly can’t control – plus, he was on top of that issue every step of the way). His management techniques were more along the lines of what Trump could embrace. He showed that he has good ideas and the ability to execute them. That is why Bill won.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at RNO@pobox.com.
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