Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBCHello again, Entertainment Weekly readers – I am glad to have you back on my blog this week! I hope that you enjoyed last night’s episode of The Apprentice, and while I wasn’t on the show this week, I still have some pretty strong opinions as to what happened.
We All Scream for Ice Cream
With last week’s loss and my father’s disappointment fresh in their minds, both teams felt like they had something to prove. The task assigned was deceptively simple – sell ice cream in New York City and make the biggest profit possible. Sales are interesting – our contestants always think that the sales tasks are the easiest – because in truth, a sales plan must always be well thought out, strategic, and extremely organized.
Octane chose David as their Project Manager, and Fortitude chose Poppy as theirs. Luckily, it was a hot week in New York so both teams had the elements on their side!
Location, Location, Location
The teams were told that they could sell anywhere in New York. While the city has an abundance of locations to choose from, both teams wound up selecting Union Square. While Union Square is great location and a happening place, I thought they could have been more creative. As my brother Don noticed, one team decided to ‘set up shop’ twenty yards from a major subway stop, thereby missing a big opportunity for volume. The ensuing fight and scramble about which side of the square each team would be on was pure Apprentice tension and quite enjoyable to watch!
As the teams began their sales initiatives, I had some concerns how this task was going to go. I was a little baffled by the fact that Octane started selling at 9:30 a.m. – not the normal ice cream crush time, no matter how psyched up you are. Then came the change in strategy – James, who is from New York City, had been put in charge of finding the best location and decided that Union Square was too crowded with another high-energy ice cream vendor named Fortitude nearby. Octane moved to Father Demo Square, which is on 6th Avenue off of Bleecker and Carmine Streets (what New Yorkers call the West Village). Many families live in this area so it seemed like a strategic decision – and sales were good.
The next day however, both teams were back at Union Square. I’m not sure if they liked the location or just being near enough to each other to be a source of aggravation and/or inspiration. When George Ross visited the scene, he noticed there was a lot of activity and aggressive sales tactics going on. By Day 2, the teams seemed to have gotten into more of a groove which hopefully would result in sales.
A Lot of Flavors
If personalities are like flavors, we had a little of everything showing up in this task assignment, and it was interesting to see everyone playing to their strengths and on each other’s weaknesses. On Octane, David criticized Alex as the “puppy dog” of the team. James realized that he wasn’t a born salesman (as evidenced by his summary – “I suck at this”) but he made significant efforts such as choosing a more lucrative location and finding “uniforms” for his team. On Fortitude, Poppy was terrific at keeping her team at a high energy level and in good form. In the end however, Stephanie became a bit overly aggressive. As a result Poppy backed down and wasn’t able to hold her ground. It seemed that, as Liza said, Stephanie ended up truly managing the team.
Return of the Battle of the Sexes
Remember when I mentioned the Battle of the Sexes last week? Well, it’s still in the mix.
Fortitude had a sabotage scheme to give away free ice cream around the men’s ice cream cart. And it worked! I have to say I was excited to see the girls coming up strong.
Liza and the Puppy Dog
In the boardroom, my father asked various team members if they thought they’d won or lost. Everyone was certain they’d won, but he made a point that nothing is ever certain. When he asked Poppy who her weakest team member was, she predictably named Liza. I definitely think that we are starting to see the first real rivalry of the season. I was impressed that Liza stood up for herself and mentioned her contributions – we always love to see someone in the boardroom who is not afraid to speak her mind intelligently. When my father asked Brandy who she would fire if she was the Project Manager and she said “Liza,” things were getting interesting. My father, ever the prankster, turned to Liza and said “You’re fired!” but he was only joking! I think that put Liza over the edge for a moment, and she was definitely relieved when it wasn’t for real.
When asked about Octane, David mentioned that his weakest team members were Alex, the “puppy dog,” and James, because he was over-analytical and slow. I was hoping that both men would stand up for themselves, but both James and Alex didn’t. As expected, this was not seen favorably by my father, Don and George.
In the end, the men’s team was confident they had won the task assignment, and so were the women. Both teams were rock solid sure they had won. The numbers proved that the women, with $1800, had won over the men, who brought in $1500. Go Ladies!
Poppy’s reward for being Project Manager of the winning team is a special one—she will meet with Jack Welch, former Chairman and President of General Electric. It’s a great honor and I’m sure she’ll learn a lot. Truthfully, that is a meeting that I’d love to attend!!
The toughest part of the Apprentice is always the firing, but sometimes the contestants don’t seem to be truly excited to be a part of the competition. To make his decision, my father asked David who his weakest links were, and not surprisingly, they were Alex and James. In the end, Alex sold the least, and very importantly, my father observed that he just didn’t seem to have the passion that was required to be in the game. That’s a crucial element. So Alex was fired. It was the right decision, but we all wish Alex the best.
Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you in the Boardroom next week!
For More of Your Apprentice Fix
* If you want additional behind the scenes, info on the show, LIKE my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IvankaTrump#!/IvankaTrump?v=app_106863682708966