Dear The Apprentice, (Not on any more, finished for now)
So you were reading! That’s a relief, I’d started to think that I must look a little peculiar, but as you followed my instructions in the final – practically to the letter – there can be no doubt that you saw my advice as sage and onion, sorry, was just thinking about roast dinners. You clearly recognised sage advice when you saw it and acted accordingly. If only I’d been around when you invented the emailer.
Any way, looking back over the course of the series it’s actually been clear from the off that you were going to choose Tom, a cynic might even say that the entire series was a 7 minute Dragons Den segment extended to a quite remarkable 12 hours. Fortunately for you, I am not such a cynic, I’d never suggest that a quarter of a million quid is an incredibly cheap way to invest in someone who already has a successful invention and an ‘in’ at the worlds biggest retailer. I’d certainly never imply that, with the backing of Petty Officer Sugar’s henchmen and number crunchers, the money invested will almost certainly be recouped within the first six months of trading, and I’d certainly never insinuate that the business plans became an utter irrelevance the minute Sugar Daddy was informed that one of the applicants had created, patented, marketed and successfully sold an invention entirely of their own to the aforementioned worlds biggest retailer. No, only a cynic would suggest any of these things, and I am not a cynic – I am a crackpot – and the two are very very different.
So, let’s have a look at why none of the others stood any more chance of winning the contest than I do of winning the dressage gold medal at next years olympics – an award I won’t win for three reasons:
Dressage - why not just give Olympic medals for flower arranging or hairdressing?
Dressage isn’t a real thing. Horses wearing hairbands dancing sideways? It’s like awarding people gold medals for sculpting their hedges or getting their dog to fetch the paper – quite impressive, but not a sport. Topiary. That’s what the hedge thing is, topiary.
- I’m not a horse. Let’s be honest, if any bugger’s going to get a medal for this farce then it should be the one doing all the work, not Zara bloody Phillips whose job basically consists of putting on jodpurs, looking good and sitting there.
- I fear horses. Not because they’re particularly sinister or anything, but they weigh a ton and can run faster than me, jump over my head and kill a man with a single kick. Not only that but they get spooked and kick out over practically anything: thunder, dogs, cars, ghosts – there was even that one who leapt over a shadow thinking it was a fence. They’re huge and they’re muscular and they’re stupid – not a good combo. Also there was that one who could talk, though that might have just been on Rent-a-Ghost.
I digress, the basic point I was attempting to make is that – when you have a proper look at it – none of the others were ever going to win, thus making the 12 episodes – whilst incredibly entertaining – a bit superfluous. So, here’s why they were never going to win (in the order they were eliminated)
The group of people assembled to make going in to business with Tom more interesting
Edward “It’s all there” Hunter (Accountant) – Whilst Edward might not have ‘fit the mould’ for accountants, he was still an accountant. As much as I would have loved him to stay in just so I could hear every single non-sequitur he had in his armoury, the truth is that his fate was sealed the second he wrote ‘accountant’ on the form.
Reason – He’s a service provider. And he talks gibberish.
A Foxtons 'twat tank', they don't even have the decency to hide from the public.
Alex “I look suspiciously Californian” Cabral (Estate Agent) – Whilst estate agent’s might not be the purest form of evil on the planet they are pretty f**king close. I’m sure there was a time when estate agents did something to actually earn their money, but now it’s just become a systematic wallet raping machine. To para-phrase Sugar Pie – what estate agents know about anything other than greed and hair gel is f*ck all. If you need someone who can’t make anything and whose only role is to introduce someone who wants to sell something to someone who wants to buy it and somehow make them both feel utterly cheated in the process then call Alex or one of the identikit shitpots at Foxtons, just don’t expect to leave with your dignity intact.
Reason – He’s (technically at least) a service provider, the primary service being making you feel a little bit better about the choices you made in life.
Gavin “I’m the Scouser” Winstanley (Online Retailer) – Hands up who honestly thought that La Sucre was ever going to hire a Scouser? Seriously now. There’s always a Scouser and they never win – why? Well it could have something to do with the fact that every ticket tout in the world is a Scouser, so when you hear that accent you can’t help but picture the speaker outside the Hammersmith Apollo offering you an overpriced ticket for Kings of Leon, or offering you a fiver for the one you paid £30 for.
Reason – He’s a shop keeper and as such doesn’t make anything. And I think he actually told people to ‘calm down’. Unforgivable.
Felicity “Oooh, Arty” Jackson (Creative Arts sort) –
Do you really need me to write anything here? I mean she’s a creative arts entrepreneur! You’d have
If the phrase "You're fired!" was a movement it would look a little like this...
thought she’d have workshopped the possible scenarios in which she might win The Apprentice and, upon seeing that they all involved all the other contestants dying in a minibus crash/monkey attack/Die Hard scenario she would have realised that never in a million years is Executive Producer Sugar going to give so much as a shiny shit about the business of creative arts.
Reason – He’s an electronics magnate, she gets people to use creative movement to interpret what sadness might look like – you figure it out.
Ellie “The Northern Bird” Reed (Building Recruitment) – I’m Northern myself – and proud of it – so I say this with a sense of regret and with no malice. Ellie has accomplished a great deal and is, I’m sure, very intelligent – but by Geoffrey Boycott’s lady beating stick she doesn’t sound it. Unfortunately she’s from a band of the country (stretching from Hull to Blackpool) where even if you have a PhD in incredibly difficult sums you’re going to sound like you’d struggle with the complexities of working behind the counter at Gregg’s. It’s a curse.
Reason – She’s a service provider. Is it me or is a pattern developing here?
" I'm fired? What a dreadful bore!"
Vincent “Disney Store” Dinosaur (Telecom Sales Manager) – I loved Vincent. Not for any good reason of course, more in an ironic way. He looked and acted like a panto villain and he looked greasier than a cast member of the musical Grease eating at a greasy spoon on holiday in Greece – and it made him brilliantly entertaining. He was also, of course, comically inept, but that’s not necessarily a bar to success. The main problems for Vince lay in the fact that, whilst looking a bit like David Niven, he had the business acumen of reptile fan David Icke and the charisma of Michelangelo’s David.
Reason – He’s a salesman. he produces nothing. Getting a bit predictable? I think it might be.
Edna “The Three Degrees” Agharba (Business Psychologist) – In the world of service providers there is a hierarchy: Those who actually provide a service sit proudly at the top (IT technicians and the like), then it’s those who don’t really provide a service, but talk a lot to people who do (Consultants and that sort) and then, sitting at the bottom you’ve got those who don’t provide an actual service and talk a lot to other people who also don’t provide a service (Edna). It’s role creation taken to the nth degree – a job that is impossible to both understand or defend and unnecessary in every way imaginable (or yet to be imagined).
Reason – She masquerades as a service provider, which is even worse than actually being a service provider.
Glenn “I’ve reserved you a bed in the Emergency” Ward (Design Engineer) – Glenn was a funny one, a bit like Marlon Brando he coulda been a contender but it all went wrong. Why? Well it wasn’t the fact that he had the cold dead eyes of a killer, it wasn’t his performances – he showed creativity and ingenuity – no, it was his job description. By calling himself a design engineer rather than an inventor he shot himself in the face with a gun loaded with Sugar and prejudice. Big Al don’t think engineers can be creative.
Reason – Bad luck and poor research, Glenn actually did fit the brief on this one.
Leon “I’ve got a girlfriend” Doyle (Fast Food Entrepreneur) –
Leon’s another one with a made up job. Ronald McDonald and Wimpy are fast food entrepreneurs. Colonel Sanders took the time not only to achieve
Colonel Sanders - never heard of Leon. Also, not a real Colonel.
his lofty rank, but to perfect his secret recipe for delicious and fattening chicken, he too was a fast food entrepreneur. Leon, on the other hand, is a man who has a website. You can’t eat a website any more than you can properly digest a Big Mac. He is a fast food entrepreneur in the same way as I am the star of Channel 4’s mythical shitfest Camelot – i.e. not at all, but I have mentioned him on a website.
Reason – Not even a service provider. A non-service provider. It’s getting pretty obvious where this is going now.
Zoe “Monotone” Beresford (Project Manager, Drinks Industry) – Zoe is possibly the dullest enigma in the history of television. She always seemed to have something about her – from the moment she utterly dominated Susan to her appearance as a stewardess on ‘You’re Fired’ you were always waiting for that moment when she’d spring out of her shell and reveal herself to be something. Anything – brilliantly creative, convicted killer, sexual predator. But nothing ever materialised. She was just wall paper, background noise to the interesting stuff.
Reason – There was simply no reason to ever contemplate hiring her. I doubt her business plan of ‘Belittling Susan until she cries’ would have generated much income any way.
Melody “The Name Dropper” Hossaini (Bullshit Consultant) – Melody, half of the league of evil, talked more than all the other candidates put together, but despite this she never actually said anything. She talked herself up constantly, talked about her business, how Jesus himself taught her how to play tennis and how she’s spoken to every child in the Western world about what they want to do after school, and yet no-one knows what she does. Genuinely, hand on heart, do you know what she does? One things for certain – it has the word ‘consultant’ in it!
Reason – If she provides anything at all (other than a Melody Hossaini promotion service) then it’s a SERVICE! You’re really not getting this at all are you?
I think it's cute, you think it's cute. Natasha thinks it's breakfast.
Natasha “Puppy Killer” Scribbins (Recruitment Manager/Demon) – Completing the league of evil, Natasha took noise generation to a new level. With Melody you could be fairly sure that what she was saying was geared to promoting herself, whatever Natasha was saying was anybody’s guess. The only times she was ever direct and to the point involved her repeating something someone more intelligent and less sinister had just said or when she was blaming others for her own failings. A genuinely unpleasant human being (based on every nonsensical word she uttered).
Reason – Other than the evil? Well, guess what she does? She doesn’t make anything does she, so what is it? That’s right, she’s a service provider.
Jim “Puppet Master” Eastwood (Sales and Marketing Manager) – No-one could deny Jim’s rating as ‘most charming man in Britain’ and he could probably sell Hugh Grant an evening of chat and ginger sex with Rebekah Brooks such is his talent in that field, but get beyond people skills and what do you have? Seldom did Jim come up with any great ideas, and a business plan that revolves around a business that Sugar (they’re close, he can call him that) already has is an interesting approach. Like most charming men he was always going to lose out in the end – that’s why I’m never charming.
Reason – He’s a salesman. That’s the start of it, and the end of it. He could be the best salesman in the world – maybe he is – but he couldn’t sell himself (ooh, deep)
Susan “100% Organic” Ma (Skincare Entrepreneur) – Having already explained in some depth my irritation at Susan’s immaturity I will forego the pleasure of repeating myself and instead go on to the small matter of her business plan. the most obvious business plan in the brief history of ‘guessing the business plan’, a game that’s only just been invented with this series. Her plan consisted of doing what she’s already doing, but more. The only problem with that being it’s just about the most congested and competitive marketplace in the entire world. Otherwise excellent.
Reason – Naivety. A great thing if you’re trying to talk a 21-year-old in to bed, a bad thing if you’re investing a quarter mill in their business.
So let me get this straight, she's intelligent, beautiful and she works for Gregg's The Bakers? I'm in!
Helen “How sexy did I look on You’re Hired?” Milligan (Executive PA) – All the wins in the world couldn’t hide the simple fact that Helen is just an organiser. When I say ‘just’ I don’t mean it derogatively – if I wanted someone to run my business she’d be right up there – but ‘being organised’ isn’t a great business plan and that’s essentially all she brought to the table. She’s confident and capable and polished and good with people and assertive and organised and organised and boy is she organised – but she’s not creative. I doubt anything new will ever come from Helen, which is a shame.
Reason – She’s a service provider really, it’s just hers is a very personal service – and you can’t turn that into a mass market thing.
So there you go. A sea of service providers, pseudo-service providers and sales people – a lot of the sort of people who you employ, not the sort of people you go into business with. If you were asked at the start of this process what kind of person Lord Sugar would have been looking for you would have given the answer “an ideas person” or “a creator” and really, truthfully and honestly speaking there were only ever two people in the competition who stood a chance – Tom and Glenn (I discount Susan on the basis of £250k is a drop in that ocean) – and Tom was so far ahead of Glenn in every department that really the contest was over long before Glenn got the boot.
So yes, maybe I am a cynic, but I’d argue that the job was Tom’s from the moment he was cast, because looking back I can’t envisage it going to anyone else. Now that’s hindsight (a trait that Tom has never ever demonstrated, he showed quiet foresight).
Thanks for the fun,
PS – Next series maybe include a few viable candidates – it’ll be obvious if you do this again.
PPS – Also next series can you replace “You’re fired!” with “Thanks for your participation, but you’re no longer part of this process.” as, technically speaking, you have to employ someone to fire them, and even then you have to give them written warnings and all that. Except in cases of gross misconduct of course, but that doesn’t cover ‘being inept’.
PPPS – Also, “You’re hired!” bit of a patronising way to greet an equal partner isn’t it? Don’t be so condescending. How about “So, do you fancy going in to business with me?” it’s not as catchy, but it would make you seem like less of a presumptuous tit.