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The Apprentice (5) – Sterling Devalued: Winner loses – Loser wins


Duane Bryan - the curse of 2 first names strikes again



The Apprentice (5) – Sterling Devalued

Farce. By simple arithmetic, common sense, rudimentary business practice and principles from Barley’s own mouth –Sterling won and Phoenix lost. Big time.



£5,000.00 – (Development fee from Fitness First)
£2,970.00 – (22 sites @ £45/m for 3 months) Pure Gym

£0 – Costs

£7,970.00 – Net Profit.



£12,810.00 – (£17.50/m over 122 sites for 6 months) Virgin

£05,124.00 – Costs (Equipment Estimate: £3.50/set* at 3 x 12sets/site x 122 sites)

£7,686.00 – Net Profit

* Space-Hopper £2 + Hula Hoop £1 + Skipping Rope £.50

Let’s accept these ludicrously low prices, clearly picked out of mid-air. (But just try getting any of these items for the daft prices above – even wholesale). 12 seems to me a minimum number of sets to run a course. In fact 12 is very conservative.

Phoenix lost by £284 even before one asks how much it would cost to distribute 12 sets of 3 per site over 122 sites = 1,464 sets – 4,392 items.

You can’t judge the two teams on what happens after the periods for which they sold licences because we have no way of telling if any would have been renewed. Plus we have no way of judging the outcome after the development work for which Fitness First were willing to pay £5,000. Phoenix were twice lucky: first they actually lost; second their only success was fortuitously based on a family market they hadn’t even thought of, let alone targeted.

Lord Barley even said that there was no point in selling a licence for £100 and spending £120 to get it. This can’t even pretend to be a programme about business if it ignores the very principles it explicitly advocates – and simple arithmentic.

Despite this false, daft outcome there were some good things on display this week. I find Ricky deeply irritating but he was a good Project Manager and for once had some idea of how to pitch without patronising and embarrassing his listeners. And lor’ luv a duck – he’d done some relevant preparation: able to justify the Beat Battle combination of martial arts and dance with last 12 month market figures of 10% increase for Martial Arts and 103% for Dance Class registrations. I suspect this was complete bull-sh*t but it obviously impressed and as they say – bull-sh*t beats brains every time. Not really true but one of the key business skills is telling the BS from the facts; and the Bull-sh*tters from those who actually know what they’re talking about. I do rather place Ricky on the BS end of that spectrum.

Nick was quietly impressive: putting his finger on the key issue of the lack of martial arts movements in their video. Which point, the normally sensible Duane, steadfastly refused to acknowledge – and it got him fired. This was very strange as Gabrielle’s only contribution was a name she mysteriously couldn’t later remember. Every week Jenna doesn’t speak is a bonus – so no complaints there.

As for Phoenix, not since poor old what’sisname had to spray-tan a naked bloke last year, have I seen anyone as embarrassed as Ashar in his jolly red shorts far too ‘retro’ up his leg for his, or our comfort. But credit where due – he went for it and cheesy worked on this occasion. I do understand though why he demurred when asked by Barley “do you want to talk about your package?”

The editing was a complete mess this week: I was constantly confused as to who was on what team with bewildering cuts from one to the other throughout. We saw nothing of Tom or Stephen after the pick a PM shots: and Stephen was supposed to be the Project Manager.

My last beef I’ve left till last so as not to appear too negative. My first career was as a fully-qualified Physical Education teacher, before Philosophy caught my eye and brain. It really pisses me off that any oik on the look out for a quick buck can just invent a ‘fitness’ regime to flog to an unsuspecting public. I have to say that in the real world of private gyms etc I have been impressed by the level of professional qualification and experience I have encountered: which is as it should be for without a proper understanding of anatomy and physiology, cardiovascular and strength principles, and proper disciplined exercise techniques with the training to teach them properly, people will be seriously exposed to risk of injury or worse. I cringe to see young children unsupervised on bouncy castles and trampolines on the beach. The potential for back, neck and limb injuries on bouncy castles is frightening – only children’s inherent suppleness mitigates the risk. And don’t ever let a drunk adult on one at the same time as children.

Just because the Barley Boy salivates over a massively profitable market does not mean that he, or anyone else should point a bunch of unqualified, inexperienced ‘entrepreneurs’ at it. Often substituting salesmanship or as we say technically – bull-sh*t – for genuine knowledge and experience can be dangerous. This was a case in point.

Otherwise not a bad week: but we do seem to be reversing the basic idea of the programme – sacking the best people first.


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