Thursday, March 29, 2012

You're fired!!

One of my favorite shows on TV is the Apprentice either with the Donald or Lord Sugar.
Finally, a new season started last week with Lord Alan Sugar.
The price this time is not a job in his organization, he is looking for someone to invest 250,000 pounds in his or her business.
16 candidates are in the running, the tasks they get are diverse and interesting, one can learn a lot from them.
Marketing, sales, communication, customer service and the feedback of course from Sir Alan and his team. Watching the process of completing the task is very educational too.

I have to admit it’s not a very impressive group this time. They are all extremely arrogant describing themselves as young versions Sir Sugar. For example, one guy calls himself a shark- he sees what he wants and he just takes it...one of the ladies calls herself a restaurateur at the age of 20, later it turned out she manages the family’s restaurant..
They are a strange group absolutely full of them selves, each one is an amazing business person and gods gift to the world. They are all this that and the other..if there something I find a turn off, is super arrogance and being self absorbed!

Week 2: Last night episode was about inventing and designing a home gadget and pitching it to two major retailers. The winning team is the one that got the most orders.

The teams are women vs. men and the guys are beating the ladies two weeks in a row now..
Both seem to have two things in common: It is clear! Once a team member pushes an idea forward, no other idea has a chance. Even if it is better and more fitting idea.
Both teams project leaders chose to ignore market research and focus group results to accommodate their own vision&choice, risky move...
Both teams have also singled out a team member during the task who is more quite or “weak” in preparation for the board room, just in case.

It’s really interesting to see how different the process is between men and women. The ladies were dis organized surprisingly and the guys were ego driven. As they say, there’s no I in team:))
The guys wanted to solve an existing problem in the kitchen, the ladies however kind of invented a problem as well as the gadget to solve it.

So the boys choose to design a gadget for the kitchen- a waste food compressor for the home so people could recycle easily. There are such products already in the market so they focused on a more trendy and modern design and better size.
They had another idea- kitchen gloves with a kind of scotch attached on one side so when you wash pots and pans, you don’t need extra items, its all in one.
The boys got going faster, they had the idea, they split in two to check a focus group and conduct market research. The focus group actually liked the glove idea better but when the results of the focus group came in, the PM chose to ignore it.
Marketing mistake no. 1! You can not ignore what people say or need otherwise, what's the point of doing it? They went a head with designing and creating the proto type.

The ladies process took a while, there was no no creativity what so ever...They chose to design a gadget for the bathroom which is more limited in options.
finally two ideas were put forward.
Both not very good however, one clearly better then other. It was between the Tap cozy or a Splish Splash- a splash screen to keep the water in when you give your baby or young child a bath.
The focus group said the splashing part of the bath is the most fun for the child and therefore, they wouldn’t want to take that away. They would not buy it.
The Tap cozy is a kind of pillow like to be put on the tap for you to rest your feet on while you take a bath. This idea got very positive responses.
The woman behind the idea of the splash screen kept saying why has this not been done yet? It’s just what we need..she later found out why it hasn’t been made..
The PM chose again to ignore the focus group, the moment the designer said the Tap cozy is complicated to design she used it as a way out.
She told the design team to build a proto type of the screen.

When the pitch's took place, it was so embarrassing for the ladies! They all talked about how incredibly shroud and successful business women they are and yet, no one got the numbers right! The foundation of any business: It cost x so I can sell it for y. Not to mention Jane the PM, actually asked for an order of one million units! How ridiculous is that?!
The second pitch went better however, the product created more problems then it solved. For example, the added colors, the children can write and draw on the screen, it can then be wash it off. The retailor asked what stops my child from writing with it all over my bathroom?..Where will I store it?

The guys pitch went well only is was a strange decision not to allow the guy which initially came up with the idea and design to pitch it. Steve wants to do all the pitches regardless if it’s the right decision, he seems to like hearing his own voice...The problem was he couldn’t answer the questions well because he didn’t understand the ideas and vision behind the product. It made him look silly and the team clueless and un professional.

The guys did win the task with a combined order of 13,000 units. The ladies had one order of 7,000 units.
The other retailor simply did not like the product and thought it was more of a toy actually. Sir Alan said their product sucks...

The PM couldn’t take responsibility for the lose, she blamed everyone else. She was the one to ignored the research therefore her product failed.
She couldn’t do simple maths and that’s way they lost.
Lucky for her, the other two failed to articulate it well and join forces in the board room and someone else was fired.
I do think Maria should have been fired as she did nothing within the team and contributed nothing to the task however, the PM showed very poor business skills.
I doubt she will make it too far.

At this time there's no one yet that stands out from the group. Normally, I have a favorite to win one from the get go...
Still, looking forward to the next episode!
Wed. 21:00 pm, BBC 1.

Feel free to add your comments and ideas below.

Till next time, have a great day!

Diti.

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