Archive for December, 2014


Posted: December 31, 2014 in Uncategorized

Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic is 1 of only 4 tracks from Isaac Hayes’ stand out Hot Buttered Soul album released in 1969 – a turning point in music with Woodstock and more.

It’s a rather interesting word to title up a blog and a deliberate attempt to avoid any click-bait accusations or overly obvious attempts to cash in on a popular agenda.  You may see why as you read on as this post is about the BBC light entertainment programme The Apprentice.

Not wishing to go over old ground or much-recorded like/loathe from others, there is though a LOT of hype surrounding this TV programme.  So I have avoided writing a post about it during the programme’s final weekend and subsequent analysis of the winner how they succeeded etc.

Instead I want to lament a little on what was once a really interesting and relevant programme.  A programme which in an entertainment frame, made business/work pretty interesting.

It appears to have now lost its way in both regards – as has most reality TV,  you might rightly say.

The exaggerations of behaviour, attitude or task become greater in an attempt to keep viewing figures up – after all, we viewers are fickle and will turn off something as quickly as we were turned on to it – especially if we get bored by the same old formula/format.  Yet it is often the very “enhancements” that take a TV programme a long way from its original appeal and purpose and lose the very people who made it successful in the first place.  Some still watch out of habit or fear of missing out; others like the more sensationalised versions.  Many original fans simply switch off.

I’m that now regarding the Apprentice.  I watched about 2 hours this year and that was about half last year from what was compulsive viewing in my household.

Why has my interested dissipated? One major reason, is that it’s not an Apprentice opportunity any more, more a Business Partnership/investment opportunity.  So why not relabel it “the Entrepreneur” or “The Startup”.

The outcomes also fail to excite me.  Curved Nail Files; a Recruitment business; Cosmetic Skin Clinics and now a Search Engine Optimiser.  It’s hardly the stuff of paradigm-shifting new ventures.

Where’s the robotic engineering breakthrough?  The education enhancing technology? The health and lifestyle improvement products?  OK these may be on Dragon’s Den or not entertaining enough but they’re the things that actually make a difference.

So I would offer it’s neither Apprentice; nor Dragon’s Den; nor Big Brother – though I would suggest it’s nearer the latter than the other 2.

I feel disappointed that this programme doesn’t represent the entrepreneurial talent the UK has to offer (in my experience of it anyway) and nor does it show future “captains of industry” in a good enough light.

As for the process and the behaviours and methods of people involved as both contestants and interviewers is either outrageous editing by the production company or a real concern on the way people behave in business.  Role modelling it certainly isn’t and to impressionable youngster looking to get into business and the world of work, a real misrepresentation.

What are we creating in the minds and expectations of the next intake of business people into the world of work?

So what’s good about it?  Well the challenges are largely OK (though I confess the last 3 years I’ve tuned out of most episodes on what was once pretty compelling viewing).  There are aspects where the teamwork is great and winning comes as a result of pulling together – an important lesson.  There’s also seeing sabotage; standing up for yourself; tactics and strategies as things that matter.  The real world of work isn’t always a nice place and people will be out to get themselves ahead at all costs.  It’s perhaps important that people see how mentally tough the working world can be and how some self-preservation is necessary.

Yet I know, some of the most enduring success stories from work aren’t down to the Apprentice way of being – quite the opposite.  Humility; supportive/coaching leadership; involvement; empowerment; clarity; iterative developments; experimentation; going with hunches; gathering evidence; squaring paradoxical circles; narrowing dilemmas; bringing simplicity to complexity.

And still we seem to be served up people attacking each other; lots of targeted back-covering, huge amounts of cringeworthy crawling and tons of deliberate self-promotion to the point of vulgarity.

There’s a book  Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths go to Work.  It talks about executives who are “social predators without conscience”.  And this was written in 2006 before the economic meltdown and so was just a little too late to stop that particular rot.

Where the Apprentice appears to be going is down the road of playing a big, exaggerated game of Snakes in Suits and calling it entertainment in business-like style.  I see less about business relevance and more about the Snakes though which is why I’m turned off it for the last 3 seasons.

I would like to see real business issues coming to the fore of this programme and that these psychopathic/sociopathic applicants aren’t consciously sifted into the process as appears to be the case now.

Youth unemployment; skills shortages; technology enhancements; aging population; poverty issues; failing educational standards – there’s a ton of REAL WORLD issues people could come to with this.  Instead we get botoxed lips and a higher Google ranking.  Thanks a lot for this.

I love wearing a suit but if being labelled a Snake and mistaken for an Apprentice candidate is the result of that, I think I’d rather lose the suit.  And for on this see #losethesuits campaign including former contestant Tre.

So it is with diminishing interest that I have to say, Apprentice people – you’re all fired.


This post came about when a contact of mine alerted me to something stirring about the TV programme The Apprentice and I offered to support them.  No money changed hands nor animals harmed during the writing of this post.

There is a campaign and the links are and the folks over at are endorsing it.

losethesuits campaign to reinvent The Apprentice