The Apprentice 4 Weekly Performance Review, Episode 1by Brian Towers -- 09/27/2005
In this series of articles about The Apprentice, we will be focusing on the business actions of each player. Toward that end, I’ll be giving a capsulated “performance review” on each applicant each week. Warning - a few comments on game play just might sneak in there, too!
First off, what a crummy name these guys picked! Were they thinking of the spreadsheet, the British airway, or the Canadian chewing gum? At any rate, I look at the pictures of these guys and I’m seeing essentially the same face on at least six of them. Will they be able to distinguish themselves, or get lost in the shuffle?
What the men did right was to focus their efforts on people already at Bally’s. Although Chris said it to the camera, it wasn’t clear whose idea this actually was. I think this task was won on marketing, so kudos!
Adam: Adam wasn’t featured much this week, so let me comment that Adam is young. In fact, the third-youngest member of his team is five years older than he. Adam needs to be ready to fight off labels like “too young” and “inexperienced.”
Brian: See my comment about Adam - he’s only one year older than Adam. Diminutive Brian used his knowledge of NYC to help secure the desired Bally’s location. He was working so hard that he almost didn’t see the magnificent view of the city. A good start.
Chris: The one exposure to Chris we saw was that the former NFLer almost ran over Trump on the sprint to the chopper. Luckily for Chris, Trump found it funny, but if one of the upcoming weekly tips is, “Don’t Chop-Block Your Boss,” we’ll know who is going home that week!
Josh: Josh also used his knowledge of NYC to help secure the desired Bally’s location. It seemed like he was taking charge there, getting the key information from the manager. His critique of Markus’ leadership was funny, as long as he keeps it in the cameos. Mature, positive, and an obvious leader, I think Josh is a factor to be reckoned with in this game.
Markus: Pardon me for writing so much about Markus this week, because I don’t think he’ll be with us long. Markus has fallen in love with the sound of his own voice. A busy man like Trump simply doesn’t have time for Markus’s excessive blather and has already shown that he finds it irritating. If there’s a close call in the weeks ahead, this could well be the deciding factor.
Secondarily, has anyone ever been more blatant about being unwilling to take on the role of project manager? Especially after initially taking charge? Kendra notwithstanding, Trump likes to see his people step up and have the courage of their convictions. It’s hard to build a good winning record from the back of the bus!
And finally, his entire team thought he was confused and indecisive on the task. Lucky for him they didn’t lose, but if this week’s task properly showed us his skills, I can’t see Markus making it far into the season.
Mark: Not that foot-speed is traditionally a prized corporate trait, but Mark, the second-oldest player in the game, ran well enough to win his team the first advantage, use of the helicopter. What’s important in that sentence is the word “win.”
Randal: We didn’t see much business activity from Rhodes Scholar Randal (with one L) because of the focus on the unfortunate passing of his grandmother. Of course, this impacted his work, but hopefully he will be able to get back on his game soon.
Clay and James: Maybe we’ll see more in the future, but these lads were not featured this week.
It was an odd marketing campaign to send all those mostly-blondes out to pass around “XXX” flyers in Spanish Harlem, wasn’t it? And as annoying as Melissa was, didn’t you secretly wish that, like Sam or Omarosa, she’d last long enough to give us some interesting reality TV moments?
Alla: Alla was smart enough to see that Melissa running down PM Kristi to Carolyn was bad. However, she didn’t make any effort towards damage control by trying to stop her. Watching wrong things happen and not stopping them… that’s Enron-ish, isn’t it? Mind you, I think Melissa also likes the sound of her own voice and was essentially unstoppable.
Kristi: All-American athlete Kristi stepped up to be PM, which is good. Unfortunately, she was a bad PM, which is not good. The flyers were ridiculous (and not the “good ridiculous”). I’m sure many potential clients initially thought they were being passed a porno advert.
It’s hard in the first week to manage the others, because you have zero prior knowledge of them. So I cannot fault Kristi too badly for Melissa getting out of control, and she did try to rein her negativity in. However, the problem with Melissa never went away and Kristi ought to have ordered her off the task and back to the suite.
Finally, her performance in the boardroom was less than stellar, and Trump has already put her on notice that she needs to step it up. It can be done, but a man like Trump forms a first impression and you’re pretty much saddled with it. One good first step she made was to bring only Melissa back to the boardroom… but it will take 49 more such acts to change the Donald’s mind about Kristi.
Marshawn: We didn’t see a lot of Marshawn, except in a “narrator” role. What we did see indicated that she worked hard and effectively.
Rebecca: At only 23, Rebecca is the youngest on her team, so the comment for Adam and Brian may also apply to her. However, this is a much younger team in that two-thirds are under 30 and no one is over 34.
Toral: On paper, Toral has so many skills she has to be an early favorite. Can she handle the decrease in salary and responsibility if she wins? She wasn’t visible very much this week either, so I’ll have to defer about Toral for now.
Felisha, Jennifer M., and Jennifer W.: Maybe we’ll see more next week, but these ladies were not significantly featured this week.
Melissa: Self-deluded Melissa has two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees. Too bad she never learned anything about business. From trying to take over the pricing to insisting her cultural background gave her special insight to openly criticizing her boss to repeatedly talking over the others to admitting that she can’t work with other women, her mistakes compounded as the show wore on. The last time someone was such an obvious boot on this show was, um, never.
Well, those are the performance reviews for the first week. There are some promising candidates in this group. We’ll see how it all plays out in the weeks ahead!
Brian lives in Toronto, where he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He spent a couple of decades working in middle management at The Prudential, primarily hiding behind the coffee machine to avoid his pointy-haired bosses. He’d like to hear your opinions and promises to respond to all serious email!
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