I just can’t understand the big fuss over The Apprentice. Admittedly, this comes from someone who sees an evening in front of the television as a method of torture rather than a haven of relaxation, but even still… Real Business magazine is all about the entrepreneurs making things happen and those with entrepreneurial spirit. Does watching a dramatised and comically elongated job interview really entertain the typical reader that much? Apparently so, if the activity on the website and message boards is anything to go by – and this surprises me a little. If the candidates are that entrepreneurial, why aren’t they out trying to build a business or make some money on their own? Surely, they would want to be calling the shots for themselves on their own projects? Not these contestants. That is because most of them don’t seem like real entrepreneurs at all. They are more the equivalent of Big Brother contestants, thinking an appearance on the show might open a few doors for them and kick-start something – and I suppose it might, but that has nothing to do with being an entrepreneur. If that is the case then fair play, but let’s call a spade and spade and stop pretending that the show is something it isn’t. Sir Alan Sugar is a business legend. Few of his generation can match what he has done, and anyone starting a career would surely be delighted if they could hope to achieve anywhere near his level of success in a lifetime. He is the smart one in the whole set up (along with his PR people of course). Recognising that the cult of the celebrity entrepreneur is growing, The Apprentice is obviously a massive vehicle for the Alan Sugar "brand" to become even better known and take advantage of the opening in the market for business personalities. What a move on his part! He could perhaps have joined something like Dragons’ Den, but surely a character as large as his would throw the whole show out of balance. And besides, he is a big enough name to carry a show on his own, which in my opinion he virtually does. Remember, the celebrity entrepreneur is a relatively new phenomenon, but The Apprentice has been running for a few seasons now. Sir Alan has not imitated, he has innovated within the UK market and done a great job of it. Yes, he was probably advised to do this by someone very clever within his organisation, but that is what good entrepreneurs do: surround themselves with the best skills and advice they can find. So while a lot of people are enjoying the Big Brother-style element to the show, let’s take time to appreciate the real smart player in the game. He has done it again.
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