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Category: Humour & Jokes

The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One – Series 9: Part 4 of 14

Lord Alan Sugar hand picked world UK best apprentices put on a magnificent display last week.  The Apprentice 2013 Series 9 and part 3 gave us a glimpse of what was truly in store for us and that these apprentices are truly exceptional people.  Two bright individuals quickly jump to my mind, or rather a couple of scenes flash in my memory.  The first scene – Lusia passionately painting Jordan’s toenails matt-black and probably the only task to date where both Lusia and Jordon have worked so passionately, second Alex the Welsh Dracula with his killer eye-brows taking on the know-it-all Natalie in a race to achieve the unbelievable milestone – to answer the telephone to receive next task instructions.  Why can’t my staff show such ‘extraordinary’ enthusiasm when the phone rings?

The task was simple (as always) innovative storage space solution flat-pack furniture.  You know, the stuff you supposed to find exhilarating in your home/apartment and forced to say  ‘wow can’t believe this wasn’t thought of before’, but since this is The Apprentice, we need to be a little less excited and more realistic, and aim to get some good solutions from our hopefuls.

In a nutshell – The Girls team lost led by Natalie, between the best brains in the world country they could only come up with (in theory) a multifunctional cube, which could do this and that, that and this all the while being just a cube.  When it came to putting the theory into practice they failed miserably and all they made was a nail-free-not-a-cube-looking-rectangle-box-on wheels and finished their masterpiece in the colour grey.  Lord Alan Sugar asked the teams to produce something which involved thinking outside of the box, the girls gave Lord Alan Sugar the box instead – on wheels.

On the other hand, the boys team powered by Alex but led by Jordan produced something a little more exciting.  A table which could be folded into a much needed table.  Not surprisingly the boys team won the task by selling more to their customers.

Natalie brings back the chief product designer Uzma and the not-so-enthusiastic Sophie back to the boardroom, where Sophie ends up falling victim to Lord Alan Sugar’s finger.

It’s clear, the girls are having a disaster of a time and I can’t imagine the impact it will have should they fail the task today – or Lord Alan Sugar may simply mix up the teams so save further embarrassments.

Today’s challenge involves some farmyard shop fun.


The Apprentice 2013 on BBC One Starts 9pm Tuesday 7 May

The Apprentice 2013

Are you ready…?  I know I am.  The Worlds UK’s best business minded people are ready to fight for Lord Alan Sugar’s £250,000 investment.  If you’re clever enough – the banks would probably give you more with a good-sound business plan and save you a life-time of embarrassment but then again Series 9 kicks off today BBC One (Tuesday 7 May at 9pm) and can be viewed later on BBC iPlayer.  There are no The Apprentice 2013 spoiler here but only a quick shout out to everyone “that you’re Wednesday evenings won’t be the same again – well not at least for the next few months”.

The Apprentice is one of my favourite TV show (if I can call it a show or should I use the words side-splitting entertainment) and I find it extremely…erm what’s the word(s) “I can’t believe I’m watching this stuff” while I grit my teeth and remain calm at the TV, especially when the UK’s best, sorry Worlds best candidates fight their hearts out in each task climbing to the top, get hired then decide to take Lord Sugar to court.

Let me introduce you to the candidates, starting with my favourite first:

Zeeshaan Shah, Age: 27, Career: CEO of Property Investment Company, Location: London

Francesca MacDuff-Varley, Age: 32, Career: Dance and Entertainment Entrepreneur Location: Leeds

Jaz Ampaw-Farr, Age: 41, Career: Literacy and Education Company Director, Location: Milton Keynes

Leah Totton, Age: 24, Career: Doctor, Location: London

Luisa Zissman, Age: 25, Career: Retail Entrepreneur, Location: St Albans

Natalie Panayi, Age: 30, Career: Recruitment Manager, Location: Rickmansworth

Rebecca Slater, Age: 35, Career: Medical Rep, Location: Wigan

Sophie Lau, Age: 22, Career: Restaurateur, Location: Bristol

Uzma Yakoob, Age: 32, Career: Entrepreneur and Make-Up Brand Owner, Location: London

Alex Mills, Age: 22, Career: Company Director, Location: Cardiff

Jason Leech, Age: 29, Career: Historian and Property Entrepreneur, Location: London

Jordan Poulton, Age: 26, Career: Business Analyst, Location: London

Kurt Wilson, Age: 26, Career: Health Drink Entrepreneur and Health & Safety Manager, Location: Liverpool

Myles Mordaunt, Age: 39, Career: Marketing Company Co-Founder, Location: Monaco

Neil Clough, Age: 32, Career: Regional Manager – Soccer Centres, Location: Altrincham

Tim Stillwell, Age: 23, Career: Mexican Food Entrepreneur, Location: Birmingham

Bring it on…

As straight as a gun barrel

I believe I’m an erudite person who knows and understands how to be a gentleman and behave like one.  I must extol the virtues of life of those men who lived before us and used to uniform, condition themselves and conduct like real gentlemen, where the younger generation loathed to following in the footsteps of such eloquent, articulate individuals – impersonating and mirroring their real men styles both physically, ability and behaviour wise.  Where women would shimmer and glisten at the mere confidence of being handled by a real gentleman and at their chivalry.

I’m the first to admit that I’m an inveterate of these gentlemen principles, and that my habits, life-style, way of conducting business and handling or interacting with women are conformed and obsequious to these exact quaint principles.

You mustn’t take umbrage at a fact that in one area I have obtusely overlooked and has now come to haunt me more than in one way.

Before I proceed, you must read the disclaimer below:

Disclaimer:  What I write below is no way meant to offend anyone, or their life-styles or their beliefs, if while reading the post you feel somewhat offended, then, this, I’m afraid is life so don’t let the door hit you on the way out and still I’m not a gay.  It is important for me to state here that I stitch together this post via my iPad from the Carnegie Pavilion at Headingley today, during the failed attempt (due to rain) to see day 4 of the second test against England and South Africa.  Considering where I am, and its my first time using an iPad to blog and write this, I may not have got the feel to this blog right, and it may not have gone the way I wanted it to go.

Last few months have really been an eye opener for me.  This is not a vociferous whining of a matter which I will talk about but a growing candour concern of how common it has (started to) become in my life, and the worst part is, I don’t know why?  This no longer is clandestine which I kept to myself and the cajole to talk about this is now more than important for me.

The zenith of this problem was reached on Monday 30th July after work, but before I continue, allow me to explain a little more about this predicament or problem if you wish in some simple words.  The quandary problem is this:  In the last 3 months, I have had three gay men hit on me to which I’m finding it hard to understand why, why and why?  I have no enmity against gay men – as long as they leave me alone.

Allow me to start with the most recent episode of what happened on Monday 30th July.  My routine is to escape from work at 4:45pm on those days that I am in Leeds office.  I have a set routine which I take, a five minute walk to the car park where my car (or motorbike) is usually parked.  On this day, I decided to walk Amy (accounts personnel, a 23 years of age single mother of one child, originally recruited by me) to the train station first, not because I was heading in that direction but merely because she was clearly overwhelmed by the amount of baggage she had with her.  As I offered to walk her, I opened my umbrella and shielded us both from the light drizzle.

We walked towards the train station with me now carrying most of her baggage – half way there; I decided to close my umbrella as the rain had pretty much stopped.  I paused to do this while Amy stood by my side watching me struggle to close the bleeding umbrella.  Just then a chap walking somewhat loosely, walks right up to me with a smirk and says “Hi”.  While still struggling to close my umbrella, I glanced at this chap and uttered the words “Can I help you”.  What follows is the conversation to the best of my knowledge:

Chap:  “I’ve seen you around the city few times, just wanted to know whether you are actually from Leeds or not?”

Me:  “Yes, Indeed I am”

Chap:  “Oh good, I’m from Oxford and working in Leeds for a short term assignment”

Pause conversation:  My eyes flickered between Amy and this chap, my perusal could see Amy’s face blush with a little excitement, and instantly I could see Amy’s face starting to show signs of her drooling at this chap.

Me: “Yes, Good and how can I help?”

This chap, grinned with a rather large smile exposing his extremely white teeth and with a jelly-like posture put his hands to his head, somewhat nervously and uttered:

Chap: “Well, I’ve seen you around a few times, and I find you extremely striking with a real gentleman feel and I was hoping to share this with you when I got the opportunity, and now I managed to catch you at the right time”.

My instant reaction was to turn my head towards Amy’s direction, my heart suddenly stopped pumping and the bloody rushed to my head in total fear or was it rage?  I could see Amy put her hands to her mouth in slow motion as if to say “Oh my GOD” and she continued to scan this chap head to toe which looked like an expression a porn star would make in a porn film.

My heart finally managed to pump some blood and the blood rush to my head somewhat eased, and I realised right that moment what the situation was.  This chap was a gay and he was hitting on me.  I simply and physically could not acknowledge this wanton and I returned with a rather short response:

Me:  “Excuse me, I don’t understand?”

Chap:  “I was wondering if we could meet up some time this week, even if it is just for a drink or something.  There is something about you that is really attractive”

This surely can’t be happening to me, again.  This is what you say to a woman not to a guy.  I’m a bloke and I couldn’t believe another bloke was saying this to me; I am not a sycophant I screamed inside my befuddled mind.

Despite the urge to simply headbutt this guy a few times, I freakishly continued to smile at him – pretending that I wasn’t taking him serious.  But deep in side I just wanted to get the hell out of his way and nadir situation but just then I managed to find the energy and buoyancy to say a few more words along the lines of:

Me:  “Mate, I’m sorry but I’m not who you think I am.  Sorry”.  I nodded at Amy to get her attention, but she was hypnotised by this chap and her facial expression said it all.  I quickly picked up my share of Amy’s baggage and took her by the arm and got both of us out of harms way.  Just as we shuffled past this chap, he made his final knock out blow and bluster:

Chap:  “Can I have your number or email address, it will be good to stay in touch”, still grinning and sort of waving with is left hand.

My response was “Sorry, but you’re mistaken”.

As both Amy and I got a few meters of distance between us and this chap, I rediscovered my intrepid attitude, Amy quickly turned around and shouted “He is single; I wouldn’t give up if I was you”.  Right at this moment while shrugging Amy by the arm, I turned and this chap blew a kiss in our direction in a lurid way.

What happened in the next few minutes is really a blur and all I can remember is Amy uttering the words “Oh my God, what was that all about”.  After seeing Amy off, I took the longest route possible to my car.  I was literally in total disbelief and in infamy of this crime or incident which just took place.  This really can’t be happening to me?

The next few days, Amy had pretty much told everyone of this incident at work.  I was being approached by everyone (almost), asking me what had happened, this, no longer was an arcane anymore.

In the interest of keeping this post short and limiting the details of embarrassing moments, I will briefly update you on the two other incidents.

The second episode and incident was when I was jogging at my local park.  I usually go for a quick jog in the evening as I get back from work.  On this day, the park was busy with the usual regulars, some jogging, some walking their pets, and some simply reading or listening to music.  As I jogged, I realised a guy jogging ahead of me, but slightly slower.  As I overtook him, just then, he seemed to have increased his speed to match mine.  He turned his head towards me and said “Hiya” to which I simply replied with a smile.

Thinking nothing of it, I continued.  Some moments later, while my jogging speed was constant, the same chap happened to catch up with me.  Again, I didn’t think anything of it and continued to jog.

The guy entered into a conversation with me, mainly about the weather, the park and his diet all the while we jogged.  As is common in Yorkshire, people generally start conversations randomly with other people and its not uncommon for such conversations to take place between two total strangers, and as such, (thinking nothing of it) I continued to chat and jog together.  I’m not entirely sure, how long we jogged for together or how we separated but I remember jogging back to my car and as I got semi changed near the boot of my car, the same guy reappeared.  At this point I got the sinking feeling that this guy was upto something.  He continued to express his interest in jogging at this park and as I continued to get changed he simply refused to take his eyes off me.

Just then, he launched the same knock out blow to me (as the chap in the first episode) and asked if he could have my number as it would be nice to jog together ‘regularly’.  I simply paused – I was shocked and somewhat nervous of this guy.  He seemed to have enough confidence in what he was saying or asking.  My natural reaction was to walk right up close to this guy, stare into his eyes, and I remember saying something along the lines of “My car is a four wheel drive, and it weights about 2.5 tons, how would you like the weight of my car on your head?”.

For a moment, this guy, nervously laughed at what I was saying, but he realised my expressions were still serious.  His face and his laughter turned into a gulp of air when he realised I was staring into his eyes and standing up-close to him.  He, somewhat stutteringly, replied “You, you j-j-joking r-r-right?”, and my reaction was to raise my one eye-brow as I usual do to assert the mere fact I mean what I say.

What happened next is a slight vague memory, but I do know, he sprinted off in total panic.

The third episode or incident was at my local gym in Leeds.  After a long cardio session and a shower, while getting dressed another gay chap had a pop at me.  During this incident, I was way too polite and I refused to give my number, he simply wouldn’t take no for an answer and in the end I simply told him that I was engaged to a woman, who happens to be waiting outside for me.  Indeed there was a female waiting for me outside but she wasn’t my fiancée but an acquaintance.

The very recent incident with Amy was a true eye opener.  It has promoted me to discuss this with few close friends and work colleagues, merely to seek some guidance in understanding what made these guys hit on me and not for any elated reason.

Some fed back that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, but considering all incidents mentioned above, I would hardly call it being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It must be something else.  A few have been a little more specific and pointed out that my slick hair-style with side parting is to blame.  Others say it’s my slim suit appearance and while some have made some crazy suggestions which I rather not repeat here, but in all honesty, I chide at all the suggestions made above as they are utterly nonsense.

Without being impertinent or impudent I believe the incisive resemblance of a gentleman is something of interest or attractive to gay men and this is why I have been hit on so may times in recent months.

Let me reiterate and reconfirm:  I am not gay.  I am as straight as a gun barrel.

The song below from Dostana 2008 movie, echo’s a little of how I feel and what’s been going through my head about the whole gay-hitting-on-me thing, enjoy:

The Apprentice 2012 – Seventh Episode Today – Week Seven

Today the seventh episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired, as usual on BBC One at 9pm.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch today’s episode, as I have other commitments – but thanks to Sky Plus I shall catch up with it later (when I have an hour to spare).

I intend to write my review about last week episode along with today’s some point during the week.

Today the teams are called to a warehouse in Essex; Lord Sugar tells the candidates that this is how he started out, buying wholesale goods and selling them on for a profit. Both teams are given 150 pounds to spend on products of their choice, with Essex as their selling ground. Products are purchased and hopes for big profits are pinned on a collection of mops, MP3 players, fake tan and false eyelashes.

The Apprentice 2012 – Fifth Episode Today – Week Five

It’s Wednesday today, and you know what that means:  The fifth episode of The Apprentice 2012.  Most of you by now will be well aware of what’s been happening, or at least been following my brief updates on this year’s apprentices.  The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  You can catch up on my previous episodes updates by links provided at the bottom of this post, so far we have seen the rise (well sort of) and fall of four apprentices so far.

A recap:

Week One said good bye to – Bilyana Apostolova

Week Two said good bye to – Maria O’Conner

Week Three said good bye to – Michael Copp

And, Week Four said good bye to Sylvester Stallone look alike – Jane McEvoy

Last week, prior to the show being aired, I wrote how the boy’s team Phoenix will win this task, after coming to know the task.  I was proved correct and the girls team ‘Sterling’ lost the challenge.

The task was simple, buy crap (household goods) for as cheap as possible, condition them and resell for a profit in a shop.  The girl’s team was lead by Laura (the attractive business women – as she claimed, but the truth couldn’t be far from it) and the boy’s team was led by Tom, the relaxed and contained chap.

To be fair, it was hard to tell which strategy was working well.  Tom was adamant to have a say in almost everything that was considered to be bought for team Phoenix, and where Laura simply had no clue and her team Sterling were simply buying anything and everything.

In comparison to their shops, I did think that team Sterling had more items to sell in their shop and their shop looked busy with recycled items.  On the other hand, at one point, Tom’s team Phoenix had purchased so little that their shop looked empty with only about five items – but over time they increased the amount to better numbers.

When the shops opened, Tom’s leadership and vision paid off instantly as the shop quickly attracted people who started to purchase almost immediately – despite the shop having more empty space than items.  At one point, Tom had to call for more recycled items to be bought and immediately sent to the shop, as they began to run low on stock.  Luckily the Blonde Assassin and her team were good at scavenging second-hand items and did so perfectly, and before long, they had refilled empty spaces in the shop.

Laura’s team didn’t do well at all as customers refused to come into their shop, those who actually did were quick to leave empty handed.  I found most of the girls doing their own things, as their egos were getting the better of them and they began to distant themselves from actually selling in the shop and focus more on getting people into the shop.  The lack of numbers coming into the shop prompted Laura to print and handout leaflets in the surrounding areas – which proved to work but it was too late in the day for some serious money to be made.

As I predicted before the show, the boy’s team Phoenix won the task, meaning as well as Tom’s first attempt as Project Manager turning into a win, the Blonde Assassin also enjoyed her first ever win in the show.

Laura asked Gaby and Jane to join her in the boardroom, which after a bitch fight had erupted it was Jane who got fired.  It was clear that Gaby was wrongly brought back to the boardroom since she was probably the only one who worked extremely hard throughout the task.

Today’s episode (week five) Lord Sugar turns the candidates’ attentions towards the highly profitable keep fit industry. The teams have two days to devise and brand a new fitness class that reflects recent popular trends like Zumba or Body Pump, which attract gym members to classes in big numbers. They must then pitch their routines to leading health and fitness chains, who will pay for the rights to run them if they like what they see.

Yet again, I am backing up team Phoenix to win this task, since the boy’s team have proved to be more committed in doing whatever it takes to get it right.

Any thoughts?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One

Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four

The Apprentice 2012 – Fourth Episode Today – Week Four

Today, the fourth episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  In the last week episodes, which you can read by clicking on the links at the bottom of this post, we have seen the fall of three apprentices so far.

A recap:

Week one said good bye to – Bilyana Apostolova

Week two said good bye to – Maria O’Conner

And, Week Three said good bye to – Michael Copp – they saucy guy.

Last week, prior to the show being aired, when I realised the task was related to food – I predicted that the girls team ‘Sterling’ would be victorious.  I was right.  Although Lord Alan sugar decided to switch few of the people around I couldn’t help thinking that the girls team needed some male muscle to help them – and again my thinking was correct.

Katie, the Blonde Assassin who was heavily criticised in previous two episodes, surprised me by her dominance of the male group.  As the Project Manager for the boys team, she not only was calm and organised, she seemed to have understood a tricky situation really well and come up with a plan B for selling their source, despite losing the first batch to the guys badly following a recipe.

Nonetheless, Katie led her team to failure and currently is the only person who has been on the losing side 3 times.

On the Girl’s team, It appeared that the only two boys seemed to have had a grip on the task.  Despite negative feelings from other girls they pulled it off with a win.

The remaining contestants have begun to show their true colours, and from them you can see who is a doer and who is just hot air.

Today’s episode (week four) Lord Sugar asks the teams to set up second-hand shops in London’s fashionable East End, home to a thriving market in retro and refurbished household goods. The teams must source second-hand stock from auctions, junk shops and car boot sales, and resell at a profit during a one-day-sale from their respective shops.

Today’s task is about having an eye for identifying items which will sell over stuff that simply is just crap – I feel (gut instinct) that the Boy’s team will win.  They have proved to be more daring that the girls and better at sales.

What do you think?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One

Read about previous episodes here, here, here and here.

The Apprentice 2012 – Third Episode Today – Week Three

Today, the third episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  In the last week episodes, which you can read about here, here and here, we saw the fall of two apprentices:

Week One said good bye to – Bilyana Apostolova – Bulgarian block of flats – Watch her audition here

Week Two said good bye to – Sleepy Maria O’Conner – Watch her audition here

The last episode (week two) was a good challenge.  The Boy’s team Phoenix and the Girl’s team Sterling went head to head to design a new house hold gadget.  Team Phoenix won the challenge by creating an echo bin for the kitchen or a compost bin.  Team Sterling, as usual, were pretty much all over the place.  Their invention was something called Splish Splosh for the bathroom when given kids a bath – it was simply a screen to protect the water from splashing everywhere.  It failed and so did the tem.  In the end, sleepy Maria lacked ambition and enthusiasm which made her lazy and sleepy (if you watched this episode you’ll know what I mean) and Lord Alan Sugar fired her.

Team Sterling were lucky to have one out of three fired, as it seemed at the time that Lord Alan Sugar was prepared to fire two people or even the three of them – that’s how poor their performance was.

Team Phoenix had their fair share of problems too.  Project Manager Azhar made a good decision to keep with their idea of echo kitchen bin, despite growing opposition from their sub group – who had other ideas.  In the end, the boys decided to praise Duane who came up with the idea as opposed to the Project Manager Azhar who managed the team and produced a win.  This was indeed an embarrassing moment for Azhar who was laughed at when he decided to correct the boys and make them aware that the win came about not just with the product but with this management.

Today’s episode will see, both team mix for the first time.  The task is for both teams to ‘create’ and ‘market’ a new condiment brand.  This will be time when both teams will need to put their creative culinary skills to the test in the kitchen.

Having the benefit of watching the last two episodes, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Considering this task is more natural to the girl’s team – as it includes cooking.  I strongly believe the girl’s team (or whichever team has majority girls) will come through this and win.

What do you think?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

The Apprentice 2012 – Second Episode Today – Week Two

Today, the second episode of The Apprentice 2012 will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  In the Last week episode, which you can read about here and here, we saw the rise of many apprentices and the fall of one Bilyana Apostolova.

Although looking back at her performance compared to her ‘Sterling’ team mates, she didn’t do that bad, but she made the fatal mistake of opening her mouth when Lord Alan Sugar told the three remaining contestants in the boardroom to ‘shat-it’.

When the man says “it’s my time to talk, shut it and I don’t want to hear anything from anyone” he means it and at that point ‘silence’ is the key.  For Bilyana silence was a weakness and she rose to challenge Lord Alan Sugar in speaking at him while he tried to utter some words.  In the end, Bilyana – the Bulgarian block of flats came tumbling down – and she was fired.

Today’s episode is a slightly tricky one, at least compared to last episode.   Lord Alan Sugar will address the candidates in Victoria and Albert Museum, where he will ask both teams, Phoenix and Sterling, to ‘invent’ a new household gadget.  Their invention will then need to be pitched in front of the country’s biggest retailers.

In today’s task, the key is to find a ‘gap’ in the market, as the task is to ‘invent’ a ‘new household gadget’.  Re-inventing the wheel (so to speak) will simply not do.

Going by my gut-instinct I think Sterling, the Girl’s team will do well in inventing a new gadget, since in the last episode they did have some creative people amongst them.  That said, the key to this task as well as inventing a new gadget is the sales pitch and Phoenix, the Boy’s team seemed to have strong candidates in sales such as ‘reflection of perfection’ and ‘Master puppeteer’.

What do you think?

Anyway, I’d like to leave you with a video below of some funny bits on the last episode.  See you all tonight at 9pm on BBC One.

The Apprentice 2012 – First Episode – Week One

Simplicity Over Complicated

As I get more and more older, I convince myself more and more, that all the problems we face in the world is a result of ‘failed / bad communication’.

Last Wednesday – my notion was given further strength when I witnessed two teams battle it out to win a ‘simple’ task.  In life, somewhere and somehow we all go through an experience where we ‘over complicate’ simple tasks.  We learn, as we get older that a simple approach to a simple task is the better way forward – less time consuming and less complicated but with the same outcome.

So What Happened:  For those of you who watched The Apprentice 2012 Episode One – I won’t bore you any further with the details of what went on.  For those who didn’t watch it or have yet to watch it – don’t worry there are no spoilers here and, if you are still wanting to watch it then I recommend BBC iPlayer (you have 7 days).

Over the years, I have seen Lord Alan Sugar explain his tasks to the apprentices.  I admire his approach in explaining the tasks in less than 20 words.  This first task was probably the simplest I’ve ever seen on The Apprentice.  If I owned a business where I had a sales team – I would force my sales team at gunpoint  to watch this episode for ‘how not to do business’.

The opening moments of this first episode showed the future of British commerce, I had to grit my teeth while I watched self-promotions of these individuals.  I wrote a little about this few days ago and it’s worth the effort to mention this again as some had described themselves amongst other descriptions – ‘A master puppeteer pulling the strings’,A shark and total reflection of perfection’, ‘Like an animal I will roar my way to the top’, and ‘A blonde assassin’ delivered with total focus without batting an eyelid

My first impressions of some of the apprentices when they first entered the boardroom, at the beginning of the tasks, was the group consisted of loatheables apprentices with the usual delusional declarations of egotistical self priced – despicable characters.  Some were full of attitude and some were already raising their left eyebrows with a smirk as Lord Alan Sugar spoke at them.

So after regaining my consciousness after week one episode, I have compiled below ‘lessons learnt’ and where applicable tried to explain – how things should have been done.

Understand the Task:  Often people fail at the first hurdle and one factor to this failure is not understanding the task.  Understanding the Task means knowing what to do.
The Apprentice was no exception.  The task was simple and required a simple thought out process.  There was nothing complicated about it and neither did it need any debate.  I think both teams understood the task but the Boy’s team now called Phenix had the upper hand, as they felt confident from the start – and I guess they knew how simple the task was.

Do your Research:  In any market, be it business or your own profession – doing research is vital.  Most people fail to recognise how important ‘research’ is.  It prepares you to understand the future and more importantly prepares you to make those smart moves to keep you ahead of the game.
None of the apprentices made any effort to find out the market trend, potential explosive idea or even which area was strong to sell at.

Identify Individual Skills Set:  Knowing what the strengths and weaknesses are can make all the difference in achieving the end result.  This is more important to figure out in a group especially since you will be relying on those people to win you the task.
Both teams failed abysmally in my view to identify who will be good at what.  If you are going to be working together in the future, it’s very important to understand the skill sets of individuals.  Knowing who is good at what can potentially be a winning strategy going forward in this series.

Have a Strategy:  Having the right strategy makes all the difference in seeing where you are and how you intend to get where you want to be.  Think of it as a roadmap from A to B.
The Boy’s team seemed to have a good hold in this space.  It was clear in their mind – how much to spend on stock, what end product to produce and once you have a product, depending on its uniqueness what price should it be sold at.
On the other side, the Girl’s team, now known as ‘Sterling’ were terrible in getting organised, let alone defining a strategy.  They may have chosen a Project Manager who was in this trade already – and in theory should have already known exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it – but the Project Manager lost her ability to get organised or set a long term strategy which should have made all the difference.

Identify a Unique Idea or Product:  The product to sell and to whom is one of the most fundamental aspects of business.  Although it’s not the only thing which can win you the task, and as the Girl’s team proved so successfully that despite having a good product, if you don’t manage everything else correctly – you can still loose.
With so many ‘so called’ bright people on both teams, identifying a unique idea and producing a unique product should have been a walk in the park.  The unique product or idea sells itself, and both team failed to recognise this.

In the interest of keeping this post short, I’d like to sum up the remain points – as due to the amount of failures in the this task, I can go on and on.

In addition to the above, it’s equally important to ‘get your product right’, without which you can’t do justice to the good idea.  The other aspect which I think the Boy’s team succeeded in doing was to ‘delegate effectively’, this in the end proved to make all the difference between both teams.  The final point is to have ‘confidence to make decisions’, and again the Girl’s team Project Manager Gabrielle Omar clearly lost her confidence in making decision, especially when up against strong personalities constantly having a stab at you and your plan.

In the end, the Bulgarian block of flats came tumbling down:  Bilyana Apostolova who works as a trainee Wealth Manager in the UK didn’t last long, and as I witnessed Bilyana beg for a second chance, despite my gut feeling that the blonde assassin was on the verge of being fired I think Lord Alan Sugar changed his mind in the last second to raise his finger at Bilyana.

The following video are a tribute to Bilyana Apostolova:

..and to see some funny highlights of this episode, check out an edited version below:

The Apprentice 2012 – First Episode Today

Today, the first episode of the much awaited ‘The Apprentice 2012’ will be aired on BBC One at 9pm.  I use the words ‘much awaited’ as this is a unscripted TV series which I have waited for since the last 2011 series.

I always make an effort to ‘check out’ the the apprentices before the programme is aired, just spend a few minutes reading their statements of how perfect they are.  Doing this, just gives you an idea of the type of person you will see on TV.  Some will be smart, some over the top, some totally clueless and some who simply rub you and everyone else up the wrong way.

So, to save you the hassle of digging up about the apprentices, I have done all the hard work and put together some information, so you too can get to know the bright future of UK business entrepreneurs.

As I said in my first post in this space, that I hope to share my views, opinions and comments following each episode that is aired, so find this as an introduction to the apprentices and how they sell themselves – with a talk of a ‘blond assassin’ to ‘..roar my way to the top’ to personalities stating ‘I’m quite good-looking’, it’s a mixture of all elements in the same grinder and definitely in for explosive moments:

The Girls:

Name: Bilyana Apostolova
Age: 25
Job: Risk analyst
Lives: London
Interests: Dancing, baking and travelling
About her: She started her career as an entrepreneur selling snails on her grandparents’ farm in Bulgaria.
She says: ‘I got myself from a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria to the top of a skyscraper in the heart of the City of London.’

Name: Gabrielle Omar
Age: 29
Job: Architect
Lives: London
Interests: Travelling – she once visited 13 different countries in a year.
About her: Her first job was working in her parents’ fish and chip shop when she was 14.
She says: ‘When it comes to business I can be like an animal and I will roar my way to the top.’

Name: Jade Nash
Age: 29
Job: Business development manager
Lives: Bedfordshire
Interests: Going to the gym and watching drag racing
About her: She is a former 18-30 rep and worked at her parents’ caravan park while she was growing up.
She says: ‘What I want is to be able to retire when I’m 45, but I’m such a workaholic that I’ll probably carry on until I’m 80.’

Name: Maria O’Connor
Age: 20
Job: Restaurateur
Lives: Kent
Interests: Shopping and socialising
About her: She opened her own Greek restaurant when she was 19.
She says: ‘If you chuck me in the deep end I’ll swim, I won’t sink.’

Name: Jenna Whittingham
Age: 25
Job: Beauty salon owner
Lives: Lancashire
Interests: Showjumping – she competed at the Wembley 1998 Horse of the Year Show.
About her: She has never been away from home for longer than a week and cannot cook or clean.
She says: ‘My personality and character is once seen, never forgotten.’

Name: Katie Wright
Age: 26
Job: Editorial and research director
Lives: London
Interests: She is a devoted fan of Fulham Football Club.
About her: Her first job was as a pot-washer in a French restaurant when she was 13.
She says: ‘I would call myself The Blonde Assassin. I let people under-estimate me just so I can blow them out of the water.’

Name: Laura Hogg
Age: 28
Job: Bridal shop owner
Lives: Glasgow
Interests: Winter sports.
About her: She once skated with Torvill and Dean.
She says: ‘I am going to be one of Scotland’s next big exports.’

Name: Jane McEvoy
Age: 28
Job: Co-founder of food manufacturing company
Lives: Kilkenny, Ireland
Interests: Animals
About her: She played hockey and camogie – an all-female version of hurling – for her province and county respectively.
She says: ‘Anything is achievable if you have drive, determination, and a seriously good work ethic.’

The Boys:

Name: Adam Corbally
Age: 32
Job: Market trader
Lives: Derbyshire
Interests: Swimming, football and cycling
About him: He started stacking shelves and now runs a wholesale fruit and veg business.
He says: ‘I get too excited, but that shows my passion, it shows my drive and it shows my ability.’

Name: Azhar Siddique
Age: 33
Job: Founder and managing director of catering and refrigeration company
Lives: Manchester
Interests: His two pet sharks
About him: He says he is inspired by Ikea and its founder, Invgar Kamprad.
He says: ‘It’s not who shouts the loudest, it’s who has the ability to control the conversation.’

Name: Duane Bryan
Age: 29
Job: Founder/director of drinks distribution company
Lives: Manchester
Interests: Going to bars and clubbing
About him: He is a have-a-go hero after he chased and caught a hit-and-run driver trying to flee the scene of a crash.
He says: ‘I am a winner and I am a fighter. In order to be the best you’ve got to beat the best.’

Name: Michael Copp
Age: 31
Job: Managing director of kitchen and bedroom furniture retailer
Lives: London
Interests: Fishing, walking and boxing
About him: He left school at 15 but now wishes he had stayed in education.
He says: ‘I’m better than unique; I’m naturally gifted in business.’

Name: Nick Holzherr
Age: 25
Job: Technology entrepreneur
Lives: Birmingham
Interests: Playing squash, snowboarding and cooking.
About him: He earned money as a nine-year-old by selling golf balls back to golfers.
He says: ‘I’ve got lots of ideas, I know how to whittle them down into ideas that will work and I’ve got what it takes to make them actually happen.’

Name: Ricky Martin
Age: 26
Job: Recruitment team leader
Lives: Hampshire
Interests: Bodybuilding and wrestling
About him: He moonlights as a professional wrestler at nights and at the weekend.
He says: ‘I truly am the reflection of perfection.’

Name: Stephen Brady
Age: 33
Job: National sales manager
Lives: Vienna, Austria
Interests: Learning languages
About him: He once played in the FA Cup as a semi-professional footballer.
He says: ‘Enthusiasm is a huge asset of mine and I believe it’s caught and not taught.’

Name: Tom Gearing
Age: 23
Job: Director of a fine wine investment company
Lives: London
Interests: Watching West Ham and going to gigs.
About him: He says he can be over-confident and does not like early mornings.
He says: ‘I’m confident, charismatic and some people say I’m quite good-looking, so that adds to the bill.’

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