In July of this year, I was invited by the BBC to help advise Lord Sugar in selecting a winner for 'The Apprentice 2104'.
The invitation came out of the blue ( I always wonder how these things come about) and so off I trundled, unusually suited and booted on a balmy July evening to the Bloomsbury Ballroom.
I have to admit I had to 'brush-up' on the format of the show by watching old episodes on YouTube as I'm not a big TV watcher and I never tend to be able to watch a series as I'm usually doing something else (usually work related!).
The evening was well attended, lots of people had been invited to be in the audience and I took my seat at the table with Lord Sugar and other notable people like Dan Cobley.
L-R: Julian Carter, Lady in Red and Alan Sugar.
Watching the show back, I was amazed there was only 8 minutes used from the whole evening of filming, so it was heavily edited. I asked several questions on camera but they didn't make the cut (as many others didn't), maybe my questions were not entertaining enough or perhaps I was too questioning rather than encouraging.
I found all the other judges to be cautious of being too hard on the contestants. I was rather critical of the winner Mark Wright, his pitch was an online marketing agency, something I did 14 years ago and yet he had not advanced the proposition even though there are many areas of specialisations that have been created since then rather than just Google rankings.
L-R: Lady in Red (again), Julian Carter (centre) and to the right Dan Cobley, ex MD of Google UK, now CEO Brightbridge Ventures.
A services business typcially takes years to grow, does not scale well and has limited exit opportunities but would be able to generate cashflow, Mark is a proficient sales person and I think Lord Sugar would be mindful of that fact investing £250k of his own money.
Anyway, without getting too serious I have to remember it is light entertainment and that has to be the end goal, so I'd better lighten up, it was a fun evening and an honour to be asked to contribute.