Another High Flier In The News

I wasn’t going to comment on the unfortunate mess that Mr. Serepisos seems to have found himself in as I have no vested interested.  However, seeing the way things have played out in the media I cannot help myself.

The similarity between the way Mr. Serepisos seems to operate and certain individuals that I have the misfortune of doing business with recently is striking. Why is that these individuals who live the high-life seem to think that their own lifestyle is more important than those to whom they owe money?

More to the point, why do they continue to ignore people trying to deal with them as long as the matter is kept private. These people will only sort out matters once brought into the public light it would appear. No doubt they rely on the fact that the majority of people would not go to the trouble, or have the knowledge of how to bring public attention to their plight.

Is it arrogance? A lack of conscience? Or have they just lost touch with reality?

It isn’t that I particularly like seeing a high fliers crash and burn, but I like it even less when I see the working man struggling because his money has not eventuated. And it always seems like it is those at the bottom of the food chain who suffer because they have no options.  The people they owe money to can not be ignored.

Meanwhile, the high fliers in their fancy cars and expensive clothes, when confronted with complaints from the working class cry “tall poppy.” Is it any wonder that the general population has a distrust and low image of the flashy high flier when all too often their suspicions end up proven correct?

Should we gloat? Or should we hang our head in shame with the state of the society that we live in?

Mistakes On The Apprentice

NZ Apprentices Make Mistakes

I have been watching the NZ version of The Apprentice and I am guessing the potential apprentices have all been through classical business training schools.

Two of the first three challenges have been selling challenges.  The first was hot-dogs and the third was ice-creams.  On each occasion the two teams were running around the streets trying to make the most sales.

Both times the teams showed some innovation about how they could up-sell the products, or add value to the products to entice a sale.  But I think they were making a basic mistake.

Have you seen comedy shows like “Whose Line Is It Anyway” where actors/comedians are put in a situation, or given a prop, and asked to improvise a scene?

In these situations it is never about the “prop” it is about the improvisation around the object.  The prop becomes almost immaterial as the comedian creates a new world around the object.  A toilet roll may become a telescope, a wheel, a hair roller – it doesn’t really matter.

I believe that Mr Terry Serepisos is looking for an apprentice who can create a business no matter what the “prop” is that they given.  Selling hot-dogs, or selling ice-creams is not creating a business.  It is being distracted by the prop.

So what would I do?

Instead of running around the street trying to sell the props, I would concentrate on what I really have that can generate money and make the props fit.

How would I do that?

In their situation what do they have that is most valuable?  Hint: it isn’t ice-creams.

They have a potential 5 minutes of prime time television time that they could sell.  This is the about the live time each team gets when selling their products.

So I would be ringing businesses and asking if they would like 5 minutes on air and a box of ice-cream for five times the expected return of selling ice-creams on the street.  I am sure it would be possible to work out a deal with plenty of “product placement” and talk about the product of the successful business.

This kind of outside of the box thinking would entirely transform the game and show some real entrepreneurship amongst the potential apprentices – sadly lacking to-date.

For more understanding about how to think beyond the props I highly recommend  What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20: A Crash Course on Making Your Place in the World by Tina Seelig