Monthly Archives: September 2004

Apprentice, episode 4

I just finished watching this week’s show.  It looks like this year is shapping up to be a reverse of last year, where now several women get peeled off the team early on.  I am pretty sure they’ll be back in the boardroom next week too, because it doesn’t look like they have any real energy on their team.

One thing that was really disappointing this week is that so many of the people on the team kept bashing the leader.  I mean it’s great if you can spot weaknesses, but I didn’t see many of them doing something to step up themselves and fix the situation–they were content to just complain about it.  I don’t think they showed one clip of the Mosaic team having this kind of infighting.  They just focused on the task and got it done.

I will say I was pretty impressed both of the teams set up an entire restaurant in a single day.  It wasn’t really clear from the footage how they chose their dishes and figured out the preparation.  I am almost wondering if they had a preselected chef who figured that part out.

And I thought my job was cool

In the latest issue of Fortune magazine, there is a pretty mind blowing article on a guy named John “Winter” Smith who is attempting to visit each and ever Starbucks location.  I find myself joking frequently with friends that there must be a building code in Seattle decreeing you should not have to walk more than 50 feet to find a Starbucks–sometimes less.

This guy is pretty cool.  He’s set up his own site at  My favorite quote is a note about a store he visited in Bellevue, “By the time I visited this store, in late 2001, there were plenty of intersections throughout the continent boasting multiple Starbucks locations. But as near as I can remember, this is one of the few, excluding shopping malls, in which the two Starbucks locations are in the same outdoor strip mall.”

Apprentice, episode 1

So I just finished watching the first episode in the new Apprentice season.  I remember laughing at all the self-promotion jabs Trump got in in the first season, and just enjoying them as more humor than anything bording on serious.  I noticed in the new season they’ll do these weird scenes where it cuts in on him talking to someone apparently important, and then telling them he had to go.  Is it just me or was this overly corny!?

The other thing I thought was weird is how the participants actually went about solving the problem.  The project managers don’t seem like they could possibly be college graduates, much less MBAs.  Maybe they just cut out footage, but it looks like both teams jumped into brainstorming mode right away before thinking about what qualities success would entail.  They also had all nine people on their team brainstorming, even though some of them could have been doing market research or buttering up the designers that would later help them.  It didn’t seem like there was any real foresight or project management here.

What impresses me most are the people who can recognize what might be called the “high order bit”, which would be a point of leverage that will catupult you to a whole new level, far more than getting any one particular detail right on a task would.  There were a few people in the first season who really got this, and would recognize that they didn’t need to just go through the motions, but rather figure out where they needed to end up and what would be most impressive in the end.  A good example of this was the team that advertised on their rich-shaw (sp?) cabs.  Or when Bill cornered the market on the VIP customers in the Taj espisode.

Anyway, hopefully this season will be as entertaining as the first.