Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Apprentice Series 7 blog by John Moss

I know this blog might be written a bit last minute of The Apprentice process but I'd like to express my own view on series 7 which is no longer a job working for Lord Sugar in one of his companies as you all know he's injecting a 250,000 grand stake in a new money spinning business venture and he'll own 50% of the companies equity. 

Week 1 - Edward Hunter got fired, was it the right choice? I say it was constantly because of the fact how he didn't use his own skills which were accounting skills and he led the team poorly without a plan, when I started my first venture last November I didn't hop on a bus to my nearest wholesaler and try and work out some strategy on the journey, I didn't physically write a plan down on paper but I had it all in my head what I was doing before I went off to start trading!

Week 2 -  Alex Cabral got fired, was it the right choice? Am gonna have to say no on this one despite the fact that he was only seen cutting bread rolls during week one I still think he never had a chance to actually show his true business spirit, as Jim Eastwood highlighted in the boardroom who made the errors on the task and they were down to the person responsible with the speech which was Vincent Disneur and Glen Ward who was responsible for the mobile app. I thought it was down to the app more than the speech as you can be awarded a public speaker but go on dragons den and pitch a product which is awful. So on that note I can conclude Glenn should have went instead of Alex. The reason why I don't blame the project manager Leon Doyle was because as Alan stated he set up his own fast food marketing business from scratch and he's already proven that he can start a business up from scratch.

Week 3 - Gavin Winstanley got fired, was it the right choice? Yes it was indeed. The team didn't have any intention of splitting up and one half going out and the other half at least staying and contacting businesses using the yellow pages and they left together at around 12 o clock or so. He didn't manage the team well and he was under frustration himself when he kept telling his team to calm down. He couldn't identify two or three items and whilst he was out in the east end of London he went into a top hat cleaners and requested where he could buy a top hat? Worth a try I guess but if I was him I wouldn't have my hopes up.

Week 4 - Felicity Jackson got fired, was it the right choice? No I was expecting to see Ellie Reed go apart from the management she was doing absolutely nothing upstairs at the Birmingham shopping center. Being quiet and doing nothing isn't going to let you win and because you ain't project manager you think you're safe as you won't do anything which might cock up. I honestly think that they were all bad as each other on the task but Lord Sugar ain't looking for a sleeping partner and she was all relaxed at ease therefore in my case she should've went without a question.

Week 5 - Now this had surprised me, not only the original one candidate as Lord Sugar states at the beginning of each task was gonna get fired but infact two candidates got fired which were Ellie and Vincent. Let me just say the marketing technique and branding for the dog food product wasn't attractive to dog owners as each dog owner loves their own dog not every dog. Jim suggested the name and he fairly should have been responsible but because of his true entrepreneurial and sales talent he has shown us throughout the process he didn't bring him back to the final 3 so thats a second time he's used his "jedi" powers to overcome the firing line. Lord Sugar wanted a reason why he brang back Natasha Scribbins to the boardroom when she did a good job at creating the TV advert and he did make a good point about her not contributing enough and getting herself out there like Jim is. But he should have brang Jim back into the boardroom as he did make a fatal error on the task. I think that out of the three Ellie should've went as she hasn't shown any contribution and effort on the process and she did go and there's me thinking thats it for this week but then suddenly Lord Sugar explained to Vincent that he doesn't like people who ain't straightforward and that he's playing a risky game of bringing the wrong people in which he did do and then Lord Sugar fires him which I thought was fair as Natasha did do well on the task but he did make a bit of a good point stating "when it suits Natasha she will pipe up"

Week 6 - Edna Arbarha got fired this week, throughout the whole process was it the right choice for Lord Sugar to fire her it indeed was the obvious choice as she's been wheezing her way through on the winning team but during the second week she actually showed the audience how poor she was presenting a presentation in front of hundreds of App fans at an exhibition and she didn't have the pitching skills and without discussing who's doing the pitch in front of everyone she appoints herself to do it without analyzing who has the skills and motivation to deliver it perfectly. Judging on the task I thought Zoe should have got fired because whilst being in the final three on a previous task she didn't listen to her team mates if she listened to Susan and maybe charged less there was a chance of getting the rubbish and making a bit of profit but it wouldn't have happened as team logic got both deals for free. She wasn't passionate about the task and the only good what came out from her was loading the rubbish on to the van and not communicating well with her team mates. Edna did make an appointment which was the only good thing which came out of her from the whole process. I could see Lord Sugar's point on firing Edna when she did bring up her qualifications which didn't impress him as doing the work physically matters more to set up your own business. 

Week 7 - Glenn Ward was the eigth candidate to get fired this week, I thought the right candidate left this week as he didn't impress Lord Sugar enough in the boardroom and there has been some tasks where he did lose the plot and he was too cocky thinking he's the best candidate in the whole process he had to go. The task Lord Sugar set them this week was to come up with their own freemium magazine. It was at the famous Fleet Street in London which was where Lord Sugar announced the task. They had to identify their target market and come up with a name, design, and pages to sell advertising space and the team who gets the most revenue wins. Jim Eastwood who was appointed project manager for team Venture came up with the over 60s market to target whilst on the other hand Natasha without a doubt had to lead team Logic and she came up with the lads mag idea. On team Logic Zoe put forward the name "Hip replacement" as the names which Susan and Glenn pitched to the over 60s were terrible and I couldn't blame them for laughing in their faces the names were thatg bad! They got pictures of over 60s looking in their 30s. They published a page about technology about how to make a telephone call which would give some people in the market the wrong impression, Lord Sugar himself tweets and this is something they should have thought about before going along with the topic Whilst on team Logic the name of their lads mag was "Covered" and they photographed models looking like they mean business they even mentioned in the magazine how to make a grand in a day which reflects on the previous task. They even had a page on how to blow your load which I did cringe to at the time as the topic name isn't really pleasent and the other pages were used to sell the advertising space. Team Logic was overun by Team venture in two pitches but there was one pitch where team Logic generated no sales and team Venture generated 50 thousand which outranked team Logic which generated around 27 grand. Jim decided to bring in Glenn and Susan as Zoe contributed more during the task which I do agree to. Susan was in the boardroom for the second time in a row and everyone kept complaining that she lacked responsibility and contribution to the task which I already knew. The problemn with Glenn was he was seen as a del boy trotter who Lord Sugar stated if he was one of those lads who thought Only Fools and Horses was a business documentary which led Lord Sugar to think is his CV over-done to what he's actually seen of him through the seven weeks of the process. Jim was the target as Nick was exploiting his recent business activity to Lord Sugar and they all agreed that he was a bit of a control freak and Lord Sugar said that he can talk. Glenn got fired as lord Sugar said that he never came across an engineer which turned his hands to business which I thought was offensive to engineers themselves. Susan survived the mouse trap because Lord Sugar has given her a chance to be more serious and to become project manager on an upcoming task as she has actually owned a business unlike the other two candidates in the final three. For Jim, Lord Sugar saw a glimaur in him and I think he likes his attitude, his passion, and he makes his voice heard, he could become a politician as he always backs himself up.

Week 8 - Only seven candidates remain in the process to fight it out for Lord Sugar's investment of a quarter of a million pounds investment after it was Leon Doyle who got fired from the process this week which left 5 women and 2 men remain. The task was about representing british products in France where they ain't on the french market and this reminded me of a task in a previous series where Lord Sugar sent candidates to France to sell british cheese to the french. Getting to the point Lord Sugar made Tom project manager for team Logic to see what skills he has and for team Venture Susan put herself forward to be project manager but things don't go well for her as she says she doesn't know anything at all about the french but what made me cringe was how she could actually say do the french drive? Do the french love their children? But with Leon and Melody doing market research which was ordered by Tom to decide whether the baby seat-backpack or the tea-pot with the lamp would be a great product to market for the french they were asking people in the Metro station which product they would like without thinking if they're in the right spot to find their potential market so they're asking an audience who use the Metro if they like a product which is relevant for car owners only so thats something what went wrong. So they wanted the tea-pot with the lamp which Tom wasn't confident with but he wanted the product which outranked his ideal product. For team Venture Jim and Helen agreed on the baby seat-backpack and the phone holderwhich can be used in cars to keep your phone or I-pod staple and still operate it during the same time, they arranged interviews with retailers of their choice before the day ended. Next day for team venture they managed to get an order in from the company Lord Sugar arranged with them for over two thousand euros and whilst Jim was also making sales happen Susan managed to negotiate a deal with a small business selling mobile phones and electronic devices for around twelve thousand euros which gave them the win. For Logic Melody and Leon were hold up by traffic and by that point they knew they went with the wrong product so they got Tom and Natasha to do the big pitch for lord Sugar and they didn't generate any money from them whilst Melody made money by contacting the shops in France but wasn't good enough to outrule team Logic with Helen doing extremly well on the pitch. Back in the boardroom Tom decided he'd bring back Leon because he didn't contribute enough during the task and Melody because of her going along with the wrong product I still think Natasha should've been bought in instead of Melody as she did sell the most during the task but then again Lord Sugar ain't looking for a sales person I suppose. I agree with Leon getting fired over Tom, because Leon was in the final three in the first two weeks and was given a chance by Lord Sugar as he set up his own business but he didn't do much on the task and not knowing how to speak french was a poor excuse most of them spoke english as Melody asked them which he could've done.

Week 9 - 4 women and 2 men remain in the process to fight to become Lod Sugar's business partner. After Zoe Beresford got fired for the failure of not using her manufacturing skills by going to the factory and making sure the outcome of the biscuits were a success, which didn't happen as they didn't appeal to the people at the pitch. Team venture targeted school children, and team Logic had different targets but before their second pitch after being told the product can't target a number of market ranges they decided to target women and the biscuits were designed to share, one part would be chocolate and the other side would be digestive. Team venture made a flapjack chocolate layered on with a white or dark chocolate star on top to appeal to the school children. When it came to market research Jim knew what was needed to improve the quality of the biscuits and he stuck to the market research. Whilst on the other hand Melody and Tom had about two or three designs, the popcorn biscuit idea which was niched by Melody didn't appeal to any of the target audiences and she still wanted to push forward with the idea which was terrible to outrule a customer and Tom came up with the emergency biscuits idea which had me puzzled, why would you want to think of biscuits out of everything during an emergency? During the end they produced biscuits to have one side covered in chocolate and the other side would be digestive but they didn't have a proper idea who to market the product to. When it came to pitching team logic thought they'd do a role play to show the pitchers more about the product they have and it was absolutely cheesy and I laughed throughout the whole play and the pitchers knew they wasn't serious enough especially when they were told it would target several groups of people which dosn't work. They decided to find a market to stick to and judging on the packaging they thought they'd go for women and they did the other two pitches and were told the packaging and branding were great but the product was awful.  For team venture Helen did the first two pitches and they were questioned about hwo the product needs to be healthy for kids and Natasha stuck her nose in the first pitch and gave a bad reaction and Jim and Helen didn't like her doing that so she was warned to stay quiet for the next two pithces which she did. For the 3rd pitch it was preseneted by Jim and they got the only order by this pitch and Jim claimed that they were gonna advertise there product on TV for Harry Potter fans to get attracted to it which was pretty much said to persuade the pitchers to make an order especially with Jim's quote "go big or go home". Team venture won by the one order made by Asda which Jim pitched and Zoe's team looked surprised as they thought they may have won the task but they recieved zero orders. It was stated by Zoe and Lord Sugar that it was down to the product, Zoe brang in Melody and Tom into the boardroom as it was down to the product. Zoe got fired because she was experienced in manufacturing and she didn't use her skills to produce the product to a high standard. I agree Lord Sugar should've fired Zoe for the task, Alan likes Melody and has given Tom another chance to show some business acumen, will he shine during the next episode? We'll find out next week.

Week 10 - Six candidates remaining and this weeks task was to reinvest stock which Lord Sugar sorted out for both teams. Melody got fired this week because she was too much hot air for Lord Sugar and she didn't smell what was selling to continue making a good margin instead she wanted to invest in travel products which I thought was silly when you smell the best seller you exploit it and keep making a good margin so according to this she deserved the eleventh firing. Team Logic was so horrifically managed by Melody that the next morning Helen wanted to take charge which didn't work and that's the first time on The Apprentice someone wanted to take the lead as the project manager was so poor at leading the team to a decent victory.

On team Venture Natasha put her foot down to Susan who claimed the task would be perfect for her to lead but Natasha wanted to manage the team as she said in the boardroom she felt "hungry" for it. Despite Natasha and Susan having arguments on the task I think Jim saved the day for them as Jim sold all the products in a fun way and he showed everyone that he ain't a shy person and that he'll try anything to bring in sales to the team and Nick went from disliking to liking him as a person, the real problem behind this team was Natasha didn't give Jim permission to restock items as she said they bought loads yesterday and they don't want to be left with unsold stock but Lord Sugar said that it doesn't matter as they would count as assets so it won't be like they'd make a loss. When Natasha told Jim last minute to restock umbrellas and he bought them in time but couldn't sell any as he got to his destination exactly at six but as he bought those umbrellas thats what won them the task but as Natasha didn't understand the concept of the task their treat was cancelled which was a real shame as Jim and Susan performed well on the task and I think it should've been Natasha who went straight home.

Week 11 - It's the final task of The Apprentice and the final five are: Susan, Helen, Natasha, Jim and Tom.

So this weeks final task was to create and brand the next fast food chain (This task would've suited Leon). This week the unlucky candidate to get fired was Nastaha, she claimed that she had a degree in Hospitality and part of her degree was about setting up a restaurant but later on she thought I don't wanna task any risks so I'll pretend that I can't cook and get out of it says the candidate who made breakfast for Susan and Helen that morning, this comes to show if you've ever learned anything remember your industry experience of the sector as it may come in handy one day doing it five years ago isn't a good enough excuse it shows that you've wasted three or five years doing something which isn't of interest to you now, this takes me back to the first episode when Edward didn't want to use his accountancy skills on the task as he wanted to jump into something new this is why I had a good feeling Natasha was going to be fired like she did. Jim was project manager yes he may've lost the second task he project managed on but he tried his best and he didn't get much help of Susan and Natasha who were argueing with each other yet again which was a joke, the only error which Jim made was a maths calculation but the failure was down to Natasha, she even changed her mind about gunning for Susan she thought as Susan made Jim look weak she'll join in but it didn't work, the mexican themed chain got 4/10 mainly because of the long wait and poor presentation which Natasha should've known as she did a degree in Hospitality. They branded their mexican themed fast food chain "Caraca"s.

Team Logic won the task and went straight to the final. Helen was project manager and herself and Tom came up with a british themed chain which involved selling small pies and they branded it "Mypy" and Tom came up with the brand name as he misread an advertisement on a shop window as he's dyslexic. The food was served immedietly and to a great standard and they got 7/10.

My view on the finalist:

Susan Ma 3rd Fired - I give Susan credit for starting up her own business but she's showed some weaknesses throughout the process and Lord Sugar doesn't want to go into partnership with someone who can't adapt to different situations but it depends on her business plan aswell if it's something unrealistic then she ain't for Lord Sugar.

Helen Milligan 2nd Runner up - Helen has been a strong candidate during the process apart from going into a pound store to sell watches for 25 quid, this shows that she doesn't have business sense in her and that may well be because she's not been in business and she's only supported a business also having a law degree means she ain't as experienced in the business sector but there's a chance if she can produce a clear vision for her business plan.

Tom Pellereau 4th Fired - Tom I like there's no doubt about that, but being a business partner with Lord Sugar I ain't sure about even though he's invented products and bought them to market he still doesn't have the right voice and business skills that Lord Sugar is looking for and knowing he's an inventor he could come up with a business plan which involves inventing products which the interviewers won't have confidence in and they'd also want an explanation why anyone would need his products and how it will make an impact to the economy. 

Jim Eastwood 1st Hired - Now Jim may have not shown that he could win a task which he can project manage but he's shown he's a good sales person and he has good charisma towards loads of people and can inspire people and take their hearts as he's mentioned, if he comes up with a good business plan and he knows what to say and what no to say he's a potential winner as Lord Sugar clearly likes him as he's working to a high standard and entertaining at the same time, I'd definitely hand him over quarter of a million pounds and go into partnership with him as he'll be fun and determined to work with, but he can still cause some faults sometimes which may lead Lord Sugar into the wrong impression of him.

Thanks for reading my blog on this years Apprentice, this is the last update of my blog and hopefully I'll be back blogging when The Junior Apprentice gets aired during August, 9 PM, BBC1, This Sunday, be there or be square!

John Moss

Twitter: John_Moss_93

� BBC The Apprentice


  1. Hi, I quite like your review of the Apprentice. Some very good opinions and points brought up in here. My only qualm is that I think it would be easier to read if more of the text was split into paragraphs. Apart from that, good read :)

  2. Thanks for the feedback Toks, I'll take that into account! :)