So after the Apprentice began last night, we have been bombarded again with another dose of Sugar and his candidates. In the second episode of series 7 of the British Apprentice, Lord Sugar sets his fifteen remaining candidates the task of creating a mobile phone application to sell to the world for 24 hours.
Lord Sugar provided the teams with experts to help design their concepts, set up three meetings with advertisers and provided a pitch at Earls Court to help sell their applications.
For starters, I think this was a brilliant task set by Sugar. It brings the Apprentice into the current market. With Apps selling massively worldwide (I think the figure was 10 billion every year??), this task brings the candidates into the current market, challenging them to do business as it is at the moment.
The boys, managed by Leon, decided to create an app that played a variety of stereotypical phrases in regional accents. Slang-a-tang looked to be proving popular with most people who the boys pitched to. The girls, managed by Edna, created Ampi-App, an application that played a variety of noises, from animal noises to noises to annoy your friends.
However, despite the seemingly weaker product, the girls triumphed with 10,000 application downloads to the boys near 4,000. It was evident that Slang-a-tang was too narrow a product for the worldwide market, compared to the universal Ampi-App.
Lord Sugar had a few words to say in the boardroom. He crushed the narrow-minded idea for not targeting a worldwide audience. He was unimpressed with Jim’s description (despite it being loved by the entire team) and he was not happy with Alex’s lack of contribution for the second consecutive task.
Project manager Leon initially decided to bring back Jim and Alex into the boardroom, but after a very cheeky, very convincing pitch from Jim, Leon was swayed to bring back Glenn and Alex. In a few tense moments, Leon teetered on the brink of firing before Sugar eventually decided to give him a final opportunity and fire the almost invisible Alex.
As the candidates returned to the house, Jim’s cheekiness continued. When Leon told the story of Jim convincing him to change his mind, Jim gave a little wink to his fellow candidates as if to signal his intentions for the competition.
This episode has given me an opportunity to firm up some opinions of the candidates. I believe that Jim is an extremely strong contender. He cleverly worded his boardroom arguments and was the stand out achiever in the boy’s team. The supposedly ‘suave’ Vincent is useless. He cocked up an important pitch, is extremely arrogant and will not make it far in the process.
As for the girls, I think that there are too many of them who sit in the shadows. There are three who I can’t even picture their faces as they have contributed that little to the projects. Edna seemed like a weak leader and not the strongest of pitchers. Melody once again impressed. She seemed calm and controlled, despite not having the strongest of products to work with.
Time will tell as to who steps up in the coming weeks.
I believe Lord Sugar was correct in his decision to fire Alex. Too many candidates hide in the background for the early stages and he got caught out for it. Leon was lucky to avoid Lord Sugar’s line of fire, but he has shown more promise and has been more actively involved in the first two tasks than Alex.