Tonight was one of those Apprentice episodes where I was really left wondering if I was watching the same show. The general opinion on Youâ€™re Fired seemed to be that James should have gone, and that the failure was down to him, but Iâ€™m not so sure. Iâ€™m with Margaret, that on this task he seemed to manage well, and certainly kept his concerns about the product prototype in check in order to try and keep motivation in his team. To my mind the failure was squarely with Ben, who pretty much took over when it came to the product.
Look back at the product design meeting. As Howard and Kate discuss back at the apartment, there were other ideas, but they were bulldozed under the onslaught of Ben. When James and Kate having done market research and realised that competitor products are simple, and phone Ben to tell him to keep it simple, Ben ignores it totally and comes up with a multi-gym in a box. You can see it on Jamesâ€™ face in this clip of the products being revealed â€“ this is anything but simple, and yet after struggling to come up with a product, Debra and her team produce exactly what the other team have been advised to produce, a simple product.
Where James falls down, like so many candidates, is in his boardroom technique. Whilst he seems to be a good steady manager, at least according to Margaret, when it comes to the boardroom he lets the tension get to him so much that he is getting emotional, and just not thinking. The key bit of advice to keep it simple is just not mentioned, and yet this was a key reason to bring Ben back into the boardroom. This is forgotten, and Ben does a great job at justifying that he shouldnâ€™t have been brought back, and with James having been defended by Margaret we fall back on the old staple reason and Majid is fired for not having done much.
Before I finish though, my vote to go this week was very much for Debra, and certainly if her team had lost, she would have been prime candidate. In a similar way to Ben she can be pretty obnoxious at times, and again she bulldozes her way through people who disagree with her. There are good examples here and here â€“ in the first she misses the point of a suggestion and flies off the handle, in the second she delegates someone to do a task and then micro-manages. The best example of her just bulldozing through others opinions though can be found in this clip.
You have to feel for the other team members here â€“ it is pretty clear that Debra is going to get her own way whatever, and whilst there is only every going to be one winner of the show, you need to keep the other candidates on side, because you can easily find yourself being shown the exit if the other candidates gang up on you in the boardroomâ€¦