Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Apprentice may not represent the business world, but it's good television

Now that the third series of the Apprentice is over, millions will be wondering how to spend their Wednesday nights.

Thousands of entrepreneurs have been inspired by the programme, funny when you consider that it isn't very entrepreneurial choosing to work for someone else. It's also strange, when you consider that Alan's business empire is a shadow of what is was 20 years ago. Looking at Amstrad's website, all they seem to offer these days are an e-mail phone, a satellite TV receiver, and a couple of beauty products. The fact that Sir Alan is worth over £800 million has more to do with his property portfolio than his business.

There is an interesting article in the Times about the fact that Alan Sugar's business techniques bear bear little resemblance to the modern business world. But that none of that really matters, as he has succeeded in making the world of business sexy and exciting, banishing forever the "men in grey suits" stereotype. He has also succeeded in creating reality TV that is reasonably intelligent, and even educational. Yes, we may enjoy watching the candidates stab each other in the back, but we also learn valuable business lessons, like how to manage people, and why it's not a good idea to sell English cheese to the French (especially if it's from Macro). Other networks are jumping on the business bandwagon, keen to emulate the Apprentice's success, ITV starts screening Tycoon this week.