- The Washington Times - Monday, April 11, 2005

Americans routinely list public speaking as one of their great fears, higher on the list than spiders, snakes, and death by fire. Most of us are sympathic to phobias but not Professor Trump. He loathed how Apprentice Angie, fatally choked on her presentation of a new wearable technology line for American Eagle. The two-part task began with each team getting a $5,000 Visa card to buy the newest techno gadgets used by American Eagle’s young customers—iPods, cell phones, Game Boys, laptops, and design a clothing line that makes it easy to “wear” your electronics. The teams would be judged on the prototype samples and their presentation to the American Eagle executives. Tana led Team Magna, and she masterfully steered Bren, Kendra and Craig to a clear victory and a personal record of 2-0 as a team leader. NetWorth Alex, on the other hand, was saddled both with a one-person disadvantage and two lame teammates, cold-turkey reformed tobacco chewer Chris, and Angie, a lucky survivor of 6 consecutive losing teams.

Magna’s Tana easily navigated the task, starting with a strong theme. She labeled Magna’s line of clothing “Wearable Technology.” To make sure she kept her team in touch with the market, she actively surveyed target customers and created clothing around those identified gadgets. She calmly overcame obstacles, including shoddy workmanship on her screen printed garments. Then, to seal her victory, she and Bren masterfully presented the products with confidence.

NetWorth was the Gang Who Couldn’t Sew Straight. Even though Alex had led teams to victory, his skills were overmatched by his teammates towering incompetence. Chris, who was responsible for purchasing the electronics, lost the team’s credit card and spent nearly 3 precious hours recovering the misplaced plastic. Angie, who Alex tapped to design and present the products, drowned in a sea of tasks, forgot one of the team’s products at the factory, was late for her presentation, and experienced a painful-to-watch panic in front of the executives. In the Board Room, Angie got her “You’re Fired!” the old fashioned way — she earned it.

Episode 12 Turning Points

Magna entered with 3 big advantages. First, it had the confidence of a strong victory in last episode’s pizza competition—last week’s leader Bren was exempt from firing. Second, they had 4 members, all of whom were accustomed to winning, and third, team leader Tana is this season’s coolest character under pressure. She faced this episode’s short deadline with ice water in her veins, which gave her teammates the power to prevail.

For NetWorth, Alex displayed emotional un-intelligence when he wrote Angie a torturously long “to do” list and then casually watched as Angie drowned, along with the team’s chances. Alex’s bad luck continued when frequent-loser Chris rendered himself useless while recovering his team’s lost credit card from Best Buy. In the Board Room, The Donald even acknowledged that Alex had been strong until he got thrown in with losers like Angie and Chris.

Lessons Learned

LESSON ONE

In Trump’s world, presentation is everything. From Trump’s buildings to golf courses to casinos to clothing, the value is in the show. Despite manufacturing flaws, Magna’s victory was sealed by Tana’s poised presentation. Tana’s strong showing was built on a strong foundation of customer research. The research resulted in Bren’s confident answer to American Eagle’s questions about which techno toy is most important for today’s youth by letting them know without a doubt it was a cell phone which rang them in as the winners.

LESSON TWO

In business, being fashionably late doesn’t play. Trump’s New York City is a place obsessed with speed and punctuality. Magna team leader Tana was prompt and ready. By contrast, NetWorth was not only late for their presentation, but also forgot a key item—a jean jacket. In Donaldland, a half-hour late and an item short equals failure. And as any true Trump-ologist knows, Donald believes that failure is not an option.

LESSON THREE

Trumpville is no place for chokers. Trump’s lack of compassion for choking in the clutch is because thecomes partly from his obsession with golf, a game that regularly calls for playing under pressure. And he knows that choking has a cash cost as well.

Next week, watch for a re-alignment to get the teams back to even strength. Stay tuned.

Meet Nick Warnock from Apprentice One and Jay Whitehead at HRO World on Tuesday, April 12 at the New York City Hilton (www.hroworld.com) For more info on the show or questions and comments email: trumponomics@aol.com.

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