Friday, 8 June 2012

Well Done Ricky

Ricky Martin, the famous Latino singing wrestler, has won The Apprentice.

We would have placed a bet on him to win, but you can't bet on The Apprentice because it was won 6 months ago. But why did Ricky win? Let's probe the finalists:

Tom: A risk taker. Whether it's enormous (and very badly painted) pictures or investments, he likes to gamble with other peoples' money. When Lord Sugar said that he had never risked other peoples' money, what he was really saying was that he didn't want Tom gambling HIS money. Nick tried to sway him by saying that it would be a tremendously exciting business. "Electrifying" was the word. Buying and selling wine to greedy rich people? Electrifying?

Jade: No costs in her business plan! Clearly no head for business. A good saleswoman? Maybe, if you can survive her annoying. grating voice. But good sales people aka 'canon fodder' are ten a Euro. She was the hanger-on in the final, the contestant who got there, not through merit, but by keeping a low profile and being insufficiently bad to have been selected out thus far.

Nick: An incredibly complex business model, technically, which can be replicated easily by anyone else and which tries to squeeze margin out of the supermarket business. As if! Supermarkets give away margin?Supermarkets use their pet celebrity chefs to come up with recipes to drive sales. You can already order complete cook-it-yourself dinner parties, and you can already get your meals for a week delivered to make sure you stick to your diet. An interesting idea, but not unique and not a money maker in itself. And how did his platform cope with what I've already got in my cupboard? Oh, I get everything out of my fridge and type it in to his website. I give up, we'll have a takeaway instead.

Ricky: Strangely, Lord Sugar said last year that he doesn't like service businesses and he's never had one. But this year, all four plans were for service businesses. So Lord Sugar didn't choose which was the best plan, he chose who he could most easily mould into his own image, who was most open to learn, probably the least arrogant and was the safest bet. We're not convinced that Ricky will be running a recruitment business, it's more likely that LS will have him doing something else. There are already niche recruiters. Every failed salesman who isn't a sales trainer is a recruitment consultant. They are ten a Drachma. Maybe he thinks that sticking his name on a recruitment company will make it a winner. Well, has it worked for James Caan? Not really. Do you travel by Virgin trains just because they're connected to Richard Branson? Of course not. Do you buy curry sauce just because it's got Loyd Grossman's face on it? No. Although to be honest, that's more to do with the salmonella or e.coli or whatever it was, and the fact that his korma sauce looks like baby vomit.

Last year's winner, Tom, isn't running the business he pitched; ergonomic office chairs and a service to improve workplace productivity. Instead, Al did exactly what we predicted, he bought his way into Tom's existing product, the curved nail file. He stole all of Tom's years of hard work in getting the product to market and stuck his wrinkly face all over it. As he said to the girl who made the hand cream in her kitchen, he's not exactly a walking advert for the beauty market.

One odd thing, though. In the after-show-show, You're Hired, they showed a compilation of clips of Ricky's wayward eyebrows. But not once did they pick up on his other odd habit of twitching like a pigeon. Either he's not comfortable in a shirt or Lord Sugar is training him to peck at competitors.

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