The Apprentice 2014 – Week 1- Poisoned Chalice

lord-sugar4The Apprentice 2014 Week 1 Poisoned Chalice.

The Apprentice returned this week, slightly later in the year than usual, but with a bumper cast for its 10th Anniversary. Yes, we have 20 Candidates at the start of the series, but with only 12 weeks of competition, expect a regular occurrence of multiple firings.

The Candidates consist of the usual motley crue from assorted backgrounds, both commercial (several business owners) and non commercial (social workers, lawyer). I won’t go into detail, as it would just take too long, but you can check them out here. What did strike me from Episode 1, in which the teams (boys v girls) had to maximise the profits by selling a variety of items, was just how weird the bunch are. Let’s be honest, this is TV, and Reality TV at that, so they have been recruited for their personality as much as for their business idea, possibly more so. But the first task was like watching a car crash in slow motion!

Task 1 is usually a poisoned chalice. Here are a few tips for surviving Task 1;

  • Never volunteer to be project manager, as you don’t know the team yet
  • If you do end up being PM, do a quick audit of strengths in relation to the task and try to allocate people to their strengths. This was a challenge in this task with 9 team mates you’ve just met
  • Get everyone to understand that if you cooperate and win the task, no-one in the team will get fired.

In Task 1 the boys’ (now called Summit) PM was Columbian lawyer Felipe Alviar-Baquero and he demonstrated excellent organisation and management skills, but too much trust in his appointment as sub-team leader  Chiles Cartwright. Chiles had a different approach (more autocratic) and despite already running several successful businesses, some pretty poor business decisions. In the end, in fighting with former social worker  Steven Ugoalah and a cock-up with selling tee shirts cost the boys the task. Steven is very annoying, but he did have some valid points to make about the tee shirts. Unfortunately, no one was prepared to listen to him. He will need to adapt or die.

The girls (running with team name Decadent) were led by ex-PA Sarah Dales whose idea of strategy was to get the girls to glam up (yes really) and wear short skirts. See what I mean about the candidates? The girls didn’t really win the task, so much as benefit from the incompetence and in-fighting amongst the boys. On this performance, Sarah is unlikely to last long.

Once it was revealed that the boys had lost the task, Sugar rumbled that there was a plan to point the finger at Steven and more or less told them not to bring him back. Given the debacle with the tee shirts (poor planning, none sold) Felipe brought back Chiles. He also brought back Robert Goodwin, who has ambitions in high fashion and dresses accordingly. His mistake was to try to glam up the hot dog sausages, which was ridiculed by Sugar. His card was marked by Sugar, but he survived as did Felipe for being generally ok. In the end Chiles was fired. Based on what we saw it was the right decision. The girls got off relatively lightly, though they were instructed to change the team name.

Courtesy of BBC

Chiles Cartwright. Fired in Week 1. Courtesy of BBC

Early Star I was impressed with Aussie Digital Sales manager Mark Wright