The Apprentice 8 – Final Summary

So, the most obvious question is…did this year’s business plans suck as hard as last year’s? Happily, they did not. And they were as follows :

Jade : The world’s largest call-centre, the size of Taiwan, forcing all the people of the UK into a 24/7 of cold-call hell until they cut off all contact with the outside world just to avoid it. Potentially driving them into the arms of her DRUNKEN JELLIES SEX CULT
Nick : An online website where you enter whatever recipes you want to have for the week, and it purchases all of the ingredients for you.
Ricky Martin : A scientific recruitment agency
Tom : A wine-related hedge-fund

Notice that it’s quite hard to make jokes about most of those? Yeah, I’m looking forward to writing this recap. The credibility and sustainability of hedge-funds isn’t really my area of expertise. Can’t get many gay jokes out of it anyway. (Not I don’t proimise to try). Jade’s is the worst of the bunch, and this, combined with the fact that she falls apart in interview like a wet sandcastle on the beach, means that she finishes fourth – a fact which is obvious from about a third of the way through the episode, if not sooner. Her sporadic CV, her abandoned A Level in Business Studies, her personal morals, her figures…everything else is pulled to pieces. At one point it becomes clear that Ant has actually gone out in his actual real life to try to sabotage her business plan, which has to be a low, even by the standards of that shouty red-faced stubbly bollock they used to get to do this bit until he went bankrupt (HA HA HA). Or at least it would be, if it wasn’t immediately apparent that it was never going to be a reality. Jade’s response to all this? “God, I need a drink” (<3)

This leaves a Final 3, which has to be made into a Final 2 for the purposes of the format of this show. Getting the bin is, sadly, Nick, because nobody really understands how his business plan is supposed to work. This may be because some of the interviews are quite thick (Dec in particular doesn't appear to have heard of the concept of a "Weekly Shop"), but to be honest, it is hard to see a profit at the base of it, and Nick proclaiming that it's going to be the new Google doesn't help. In the end, Lordalan can't see where the money lies (at one point saying that he wouldn't have bothered with the Moon Landings, because it didn't turn a profit, OH LORDALAN) so Nick is a goner, and has only the warm loving arms and unstable mind of Gabrielle to compensate.

So, for the second series in a row, the Final 2 consists of the team that won the final task. Ricky Martin vs Tom. Both have interesting paths through the Interviews Round. Tom's path is the more conventional by some distance. His character is poked at a little (he's called a daddy's boy, it's implied repeatedly that he's never had to work for anything in his life, his risk-taking tendencies are frowned upon, he's deemed to be too young for the show, his use of the phrase "Big Noise On Campus" is derided), but the interviews call his business plan one of the best and most sophisticated they've seen, and everyone agrees that he's got his head screwed on tightly. In the end, he's the "risky prospect", a fact that prompts Lordalan to call him the devil, and Nirrck to represent choosing him to Lordalan as a mid-life crisis on par with getting a tattoo, a motorcycle, and an 18 year old Latvian girlfriend all in one day. Naturally Nirrck presents this as a good thing because…well…it's Nirrck.

Ricky Martin on the other hand…breaks the show, in a way even more glorious than Yasmina did, which makes me happy that he ultimately wins the whole shebang. Everyone sits him down and tells him that the stupid crap he wrote on his application form (which is amazing incidentally. He calls himself Thor and calls Lordalan an old dog) is nauseating and repulsive. Well aware that he only said that garbage to get on a stupid fakey game-show, Ricky Martin then one-ups them all and pretends that he really meant it but has been on a journey since then, and has grown and learnt as a businessman by blowing up a chutney factory and inventing a fitness routine. In this sense, he turns the show’s own weapons against itself, and this, combined with the fact that his business plan is clear and well-constructed, and safer than Tom’s (apparently. Like I said, “hedge funds”, I dunno) is enough to force the win out of Lordalan’s hands. It’s not enough to propel this whole series up into the higher echelons of Apprentice runs, but it’s a very satisfying ending courtesy of a man who most of us wrote off in the beginning as this year’s Stuart Baggs.

It’s a win for the Best Saleswoman in Europe. A win for the killer whale of the sea. A win for the blonde assassin who manipulated men with her hypnoboobs. A win for whoever tastes success in their spit and whose first word was money. A win for anybody who can’t say the word “loser”, is personal friends with Dalai Lama, and has their footprints on the moon. If everything you touch turns to sold, if all your apples are in fact oranges, if you prefer making money to having sex, and if you’re a rough tough cream puff from New York, congratulations. Your time has come. Your champion has arisen. It’s Ricky Martin – wrestling biochemist with elite maths skills and a talent for the bagpipes.

The joke candidates have finally won. May it never end.

(Except this one was quite good and that)

(And judging from last year, I’m sure Tom will have his hedge-fun money from Lordalan within about 9 months)

30 thoughts on “The Apprentice 8 – Final Summary

  1. Tim

    Can’t complain about the final two, although I agree that Nick was a little hard done by in the edit to make it clear why he wasn’t in the final two. Jade? Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

    I don’t claim to understand the hedge fund thing, but I understand from friends in the City that wine investment is very much a hot thing at the moment. So either Tom will make a fortune from it, or it will lead to the collapse of the global financial system. It’s a toss-up which.

    Six weeks ago, who’d have thought that Sugar would end up going with Ricky as the ‘safe’ option? Or indeed any option other than the ‘comedy’ one? But, even though I was on Team Tom throughout, I have to say he’s a worthy winner and I suspect Sugar has made a decent investment there.

    I still can’t believe I’ve just typed that …

    1. monkseal Post author

      I guess in the end it only benefited Nick, but I guess most people just sat watching and telling the interviewers were full of it. I’m sure Nick’s plan had holes but “nobody does a weekly shop” isn’t one of them.

  2. Ferny

    Awww well I liked Ricky best for most of the series so I’m happy. Although, like you, I was genuinely sad that Ricky decided to give up wrestling 😦 No more Ricky Hype

    And I’m one of those people who would actually use Nick’s business idea, so I think it would be a good idea. And get this, I actually e-mailed Tesco asking for a similar system in store (I’m not even joking!) not very long ago

    Anyway, a good ending to it all.

    1. monkseal Post author

      I hope Ricky Martin can be persuaded to don the tights once more. So sad to see a man torn away from the thing he loves most.

  3. Ferny

    Oh, and I hated Jade’s business plan more than all of last year’s put together. I can’t stand cold calling and the souless business tactics of selling people’s information for lots of money, not caring that they are going to be pestered for evermore. Grrr. I really went off Jade then.

  4. Paw

    I love that we got one last Tocky shipping shout out in the boardroom – “You as a person I think you’re fantastic”.

    But yeah, I think Ricky’s plan was the only viable one to go with. Jade, nuff said. Nick’s one, I don’t see the business prospects in it, especially £145m in 5 years time. Even the googles and facebooks started off as not-for-profit online services which gradually became monetised over many years. And Tom’s was too risky. With the other 3 businesses, if they go bust, then that’s that, bad luck, etc, but if Tom’s goes bust, you have the FSA on your back and possibly a stint in prison a la Bernie Madoff.

    1. Tim

      Wasn’t it great to see Tricky together one last time? Tom posted a photo via his Twitter feed last night (it’s in my blog post if you want to see it – link above) which would suggest there are no hard feelings.

      No doubt Tom’s plan was riskier, and it was entirely Sugar’s preorgative to opt for the ‘safer’ choice in Ricky, but there’s a world of difference between an unsuccessful hedge fund and a Madoff – one is a failure (it happens) while the other is illegal. The only risk was the greater likelihood that Sugar would lose his investment – but the potential returns (and wine investment is a hot topic in the City right now) are also much greater. Ultimately Sugar played it safe – I would have gone with Tom, but then that’s easy for me to say because it’s not my money …

  5. Kerry McCormack (@KerryMc1978)

    I was baffled that Lord Sugar and the interviewers didn’t get how Nicks business plan worked. It seemed like a fantastic idea to me. Was also amused by Lord sugar going on about people having to laboriously feed in all the ingredients… he’s not aware of copy+paste then. It seemed obvious that Ricky would win once he won around Claude though, but I thought that Nick should have been a worthy second place, especially given the kind of risks that would come with Tom’s plan.

    I hated Jades plan. I’m also not sure of her claim on ‘You’re Hired’ that she’d gone off it by the time the interviews came, but think that she was maybe trying to save face once she realised how much everyone hated it. Maybe i’m too cynical though.

    1. Min

      Nick’s idea is already there on some individual supermarket online sites. I guess the plan would be to incorporate all of them into one central point.

      I would use it – I suppose that’s the thing when you are Mr Big Cheese. You don’t have to work out the food for the week and do the big shop.

      1. Shrinking Man

        Nick’s plan, as I understood it, was that websites which feature recipes would have a “” button on them (like how everything’s got a Facebook, Google+, Twitter, StumbleUpon, PointlessFlash, WeHarvestYourData, SatanIsMyMaster, etc. button on them. So you’d think “I fancy a Lancashire hotpot”, type “langersheer hott poot resepee” into google, click on whatever link came up and then click on the button next to the recipe.

        It seems like a great idea to me, if you could get it working. How the money could be made is by the supermarkets (or whatever shops) giving you a small commission for every sale made. It is, after all, simply pay-per-click advertising but integrated into the web in the same way that Facebook has now become so ubiquitous that you can’t even load half the pages on the internet if you have scripts from Facebook blocked. I reckon supermarkets would be likely to want to get in on that.

        I absolutely think Nick is right that this could be the next big thing. Probably not from Nick now because he doesn’t have the capitol to invest. But I bet some other company watched tonight’s episode and thought “oh, that’s a good, unpatented idea”, The reason, it seems, that Nick was basically laughed at for it, is that everybody he talked to was less knowledgeable about the subject than he is and couldn’t understand what potential it actually has.

        And what was all the “it’s going to be a lot of work” nonsense all about? He’d already implemented the idea, and it’d been working. How was continuing to do what he’s already doing but on a larger scale more effort than setting up a recruitment firm or hedge fund?

    2. monkseal Post author

      I have to say, if it was just a backpedle, she at least managed it more smoothly than Stephen managed two weeks ago, or Adam neglected to even bother to try last week.

  6. TheBockingfordKid

    Ricky’s (ethical? eh?) recruitment agency was probably a safe bet, if super-dull and a little confusing. Count me as another who thought Nick’s idea (and he’s someone who I’d thought had got away with going under the radar most of the series) was innovative and had real potential, including making a profit, but the dumb interviewers and Sugar just didn’t ‘get.’ it. He also dealt with the shit thrown at him in the interviews very well I thought. Jade’s cold-calling idea was obviously never going to be backed by Sugar, and Tom’s plan to go into a hedge fund based business without any training in hedge funds was laughable.

    1. Tim

      I think ultimately Ricky represented a sound investment, and very well done to him.

      Funnily enough, Tom’s plan made a lot of sense to me. He doesn’t need training in hedge funds at all. He could easily get help from someone to set it all up properly – as his stand-in blogger, I’ve been contacted by one such expert offering to do so already – and he already has his investment strategy sorted as it’s basically the same as his core business. It’s a difficult business plan to understand because most of us know as much about hedge fund management as we do about, say, being a professional footballer, but just because it’s difficult to understand doesn’t make it a bad investment.

    2. monkseal Post author

      I was impressed that Nick managed to keep his head when Claude and Dec were going full-bore for him. If nothing else he’s implaccable. Although what else you can do in the face of Claude just going “am I bovvered?” I don’t know.

      1. Lesley

        I think you said a few weeks ago that Nick was the worst pitcher left and this inability to speak coherently about his business really came home to roost this week. He may have been implacable in his belief, but I found it frustrating that he could not put over his ideas in a convincing way. He was full of grandiose statements about Google and Facebook, yet he did not draw the connection that, initially, these were also products without real markets and that technology often changes our habits and ways of doing things. Thus, his idea would change the way we shop for food.

        In fact, I’ve found them all an ineloquent bunch this year. Several have been labelled good talkers, but none have impressed. Ricky was probably the best on this front, but he was hardly Cicero, and his grammar is dreadful.

      2. monkseal Post author

        Can I just say that I identified Nick as the worst pitcher left before we all saw Adam read a list of bank holidays off his sweaty palm and called it a product launch?

  7. TheBockingfordKid

    Also runner-up Tom’s plan needed £25 million borrowed under Lord Sugar’s name, right? Yet Sugar moaned that Nick’s idea would require him getting too involved, which a. I don’t see why, and b. is that a problem, having some involvement in the business you are intending to profit from?

    1. Tim

      I thought Sugar was just going to stump up the £250k, and Tom was going to use his name to leverage investment from other investors?

      1. TheBockingfordKid

        That’s what I meant – use Sugar’s name to borrow millions. Contrast that risky involvement with whatever he was talking about when he criticized Nick’s business for apparently needing too much of his help. I didn’t see how Nick’s plan needed much hands-on help from Sugar at all.

      2. Tim

        Apologies for the confusion – over on the forums there seem to be a lot of confused people thinking Tom was really trying to get £25m out of Sugar himself. There was certainly some reputational risk involved, but in reality I don’t think Tom was trying to do any more than to use Sugar as an ‘in’ – like getting Usain Bolt to endorse Virgin whatsit. I think that whole aspect ofthe risk was overplayed – it’s just a high-risk investment, full stop. Sugar didn’t want to take that risk – fair enough.

        I agree with you that I’m not sure either that Nick’s business really did need a lot of hands-on involvement from Sugar – it sounded more like a convenient excuse to explain why he was firing him to me.

  8. David

    I do like Nick’s plan and think it has potential, but I think he is overestimating the number of people who like to cook from recipes. 52% probably means 10% do it regularly, 20% do it 3 or 4 times a year and 22% have thought about doing it but then decided to just buy a bucket of chicken nuggets instead. Hey, perhaps I’m too cynical. I found myself wanting Jade to win in advance of the final, as she has strangely grown on me over the weeks, but then I heard her business plan ….

    Hugely enjoyable reviews this series as always, for which many thanks.

  9. FuTeffla

    I was torn between delight that it ended up being Tom vs. Ricky and sadness that they couldn’t both win, although I think I was backing Ricky slightly more by the end of it. How can you not back someone whose application form includes delusions of godhood? I like how they all pretended that this kind of boasting was shameful, as opposed to the only thing that gets you considered for The Apprentice in the first place.

  10. Jo

    Where I think Ricky was clever was to make his journey somehow business related- instead of Adam’s overdone “I am from the Norf and therefore hate all wimmin but coming on the Apprentice made me learn all about culture and stuff and be nice(ish) about wimmin”. Ricky’s story made it seem like the contrived, entertainment based tasks somehow taught him what it meant to be a serious, focused business partner. I love him not just for winning it this way but for the fact that we will now have loads of sensible people with great business plans attempting the same thing next year. Can only be good.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Especially as everyone’s decided this year cast were boring. It’s going to be cartoon arsehole o’clock.

  11. Rebecca L. Needes (@RhetoricAlley)

    I thought Nick’s mistake was to present his idea as solely a ‘buy my recipe ingredients’ thing, rather than a ‘recession blah blah, meal planning blah blah, money saving blah’ idea aimed at helping consumers find the best deal for their weekly shop. ‘In these troubled times…’


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