Apprentice Week 14: The Eye of the Tiger

No real spoilers this week. Since we don’t know the winner until next week, I can get right into it.

And for some reason, no pictures this week. Due to some technical or user challenges, I have not been able to upload images. You'll have to quench your thirst for knowledge on my salty prose.

Okay, you can look disappointed; just don't groan audibly.

Table of Contents
  1. Lessons Learned
  2. Their Best Night Yet
  3. A New Day, New Teams
  4. Team Gold Rush
  5. Team Synergy
  6. Prediction

I don't know if this is new or not, but most candiates now have their own websites. Were these up all season and I just didn't know it? The cadidates names below will link to these new websites. I'm calling them new, because, well, it's better for my ego if they are brand spankin' new.

I came into this week expecting Lee to be Trump’s next Apprentice. Now I’m not so sure. He appears to be making strategic mistakes, rather than tactical one. And he seems scared. He looks overwhelmed and seems afraid to lose.

Sean is handling the pressure better. He is letting his affection for Tammy interfere with his work, however. Those interactions we’ve seen this week are why most companies have policies against supervisors dating their subordinates. Even if everyone has the best intentions, the emotions can muddy the water.

However, Sean still has the edge. Why? He’s hungry. He wants it more. He has the Eye of the Tiger. Lee does not. Sean is focused on winning. Lee is focused on not screwing up. Sean’s hunger will lead him to victory.

Lessons Learned

  • Think Big.
    Don’t limit your own success by limiting your imagination. Think about the best possible out come, bigger than what you are used to. Ask for it. Go for it. You might get it.

  • Listen to Tom LehrerBe Prepared.
    Before meeting with executives, be prepared for the meeting. You don’t have time not to be prepared. And neither do they.

  • You have to want it to win it.
    In a lot of tough competitions, victory depends on who wants it more. The person who is willing to put all their effort and emotional energy into winning has a definite edge. Then, combine competence, passion, and energy, you have a potent winning combination. Wanting not to lose isn’t enough. You have to truly want to win.

Their Best Night Yet

After firing what was left of Synergy last week, Trump called Lee and Sean back to the boardroom. Trump told them why he fired Allie and Roxanne. “Allie and Roxanne turned out to be very disloyal to one another. I didn’t like seeing what I saw.”

As Trump sent Lee and Sean back to the Suite, they profusely thanked Trump. Then Lee turned back to Trump, and said, “I’m up for the challenge Mr. Trump.” Trump responded, “Just get outta here. Frickin’ politician Lee.” But he said it with a smile on his face.

When they get back to the suite, all the fired candidates are waiting for them. Lee and Sean needed to choose three people for their final team. After a few drinks, toasts, and hugs, Sean gets right to it. Lee didn’t start until later in the evening, and that was only after Michael prompted him.

The difference between the candidates is striking in their interview. Sean describes how he plans to fight for the job. These next two days, “are going to be the most important days of my life.”

In Lee’s interview, he says of being in the final 2, “I’m excited, but not surprised.”

Sean immediately chose Tammy for his team. He then chose Andrea, which was a little unexpected. The three of them discussed that additional slot extensively, and finally settled on Tarek.

Before he settled on Tarek, though, several of the candidates stopped by to kiss his ring and try to get on his team. Allie even tried to manipulate him into choosing her. Allie sat across from Sean, gently, touched his wrist while saying, “Not that it matters, but I do want to be your lifelong friend. I do mean that.”

Sean had an appalled look in his eye and said, “Ok. Well I’m going to talk to a few other people in here tonight,” as he searched for an escape route. Did Allie really think she could flirt her way into Sean’s good graces? Especially after the vicious attack she and Roxanne launched against Tammy in week 12. Is she really that stupid?

So she next moves over to Lee and tries flirting with him, too. “Lee, that’s a nice tie,” she said as she caressed it. She didn’t have much luck with Lee either.

But she was flirting with the wrong person. It turns out she needed to flirt with Lenny. He actually picked Lee’s team for him.

Lee naturally picked Lenny for his team. They were tight allies throughout the competition. Lenny then suggested Pepi. Pepi?! He has an impressive background, but we haven’t seen him since week 2.

And now Lee is going to rely on this complete unknown to help him in the toughest and most important task yet? That’s just how much he trusted Lenny. He said of Lenny, “He might die to see me be the Apprentice.”

His third choice, again with Lenny’s strong endorsement, was Roxanne. What was he thinking? First, can Roxanne even function without her blond tumor? And why is Lee trusting her? There are much stronger people available, such as Bryce, Dan, Leslie, and Michael. He could even have chosen Brent who looked like a sad puppy begging for a scrap. But he chose Roxanne.

A New Day, New Teams

So now it’s Lee, Lenny, Pepi, and Roxanne against Sean, Tarek, Tammy, and Andrea. Who do you think has the stronger team?

When Sean found out who Lee chose he said, “I don’t know what the hell that’s about. I’m surprised Lee even knows Pepi’s name.”

“If all goes well, by the end of this task, I hope to have the job, the girl, and a brand new life ahead of me.”

The next day in the boardroom, Trump asked Lee why he chose the people he did. “They’re friends. They all feel very passionate about me being the Apprentice and that’s really important moving forward.”

Sean claimed he built his team around likely needs. “I think I’ve chosen the dream team. What I wanted to do was cover all the bases. Sales. Marketing. Operations. Planning. A little bit of everything. And I think all my colleagues here are multi-talented. Have many of those facets.”

Trump passed out the tasks, informed Sean his team is now Synergy, and waited until the candidates left the room to start laughing at them.

Actually, Trump didn’t laugh. Carolyn did. Hysterically. She couldn’t stop. She asked, “Who was that on the far left?”


Trump said, “What was that about?” Then Carolyn laughed some more.

George just kept saying, “Pepi? Pepi. Pepi. Pepi.” He really seemed to enjoy saying that.

Trump added, “Pepi, you’re fired. Did I actually say that?”

And then they laughed and tried to figure out who they hell Pepi was. “I sure hope Lee knows what he’s doing.” I kind of have my doubts.

Team Gold Rush

Lee’s task was to serve as Executive Director of the Pontiac Celebrity Hockey Game for America’s Bravest to benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation. The foundation was started by comedian Denis Leary to supply equipment to firefighters when they municipality can’t, and to help support the families of Firefighters killed on the job.

Lee’s job was to organize the logistics of the game, take care of the attendees, attend to the VIPs, take care of advance parties, and create a fund raiser, approved by the Leary Foundation. Details are available here. One he got into it, though, Lee quickly got overwhelmed.

As they started going through the tasks, Lee fell behind. After meeting with Lys, one of his charitable sponsors at the Leary Foundation, Lee was scared. He tried to spin the meeting positively, but the fear just leaked right out of his eye.

So how did Lee spin it?

“The meetings with the Foundation specifically did not run as smoothly as they possibly could. But they didn’t hire me to go into a meeting and be very, very prepared for the meeting. I don’t think they give a crap about the meeting. They care about the actual event and how it runs smoothly. You know what? If I don’t know every detail going into the meeting, I’m fine with that, as along as I learn. And right now, they know that I do not know every single detail. Let’s see if I can turn it around. That’s probably what they’re thinking.”
Yeah. Lee may be a politician, but those claims are as credible as the Bush administration’s WMD claims, or Clinton’s claims of monogamy.

And, by the way, Lee, the nervous eye darting doesn’t help.

Lee thought small. The charity was looking big ideas and major fundraising opportunities. Lee offered to auction a date with a firefighter.

Now that they were out of the confined environment of the regular tasks, Lee had no model to follow. He was in over his head. He didn’t have an existing model to follow. It looks like he’s never done anything on this scale before.

Lee had the opportunity to redeem himself later in the day when he met with Pontiac. He convinced them to donate two cars for an auction. That was a good start. But he didn’t ask for enough.

At the beginning of the meeting, he starting asking them about matching funds or similar programs, but he didn’t actually ask them to match contributions, which they might have been willing to do. Again, Lee didn’t think big enough.

In her interview after the meeting, the Pontiac lady said, “They missed a big opportunity. They started talking about matching but got away from it and settled for two cars.”

Lee is still trying to sell tourist brochures at Battery Park. The game has changed to a new level, and I don’t know that he can handle it. Maybe with a few more years experience…but not today.

Team Synergy

Sean’s task was to serve as the Executive Director of the Pontiac Bare Naked Ladies Concert to Benefit the World Wildlife Fund (that panda logo people). He had to take care of pre-concert parties, the band’s needs, a fund raising opportunity for Pontiac, various logistics, VIPS, etc. As usual, details are available at Yahoo!

Right away, Sean had a better handle on his event. He spent the first several hours with his team planning, working in schedules, and identifying tasks. Then he took all parties on a walkthrough and tour of the facilities.

Sean seemed more experienced with his project than Lee did. Sean appears to have managed large projects before and projected a lot of confidence. He had a plan and he worked the plan.

His extensive corporate experience is paying off.

Sean will face two problems with the rest of the project, though.

First, he blew off a meeting with the sponsors to watch Tammy chose appetizers with the hotel catering staff. He sat in on the food meeting with the catering department. He really did not need to be there. But he got to spend more time with Tammy, his crush.

To do that, he sent Andrea and Tarek to meet with the Pontiac executives. It may note be a major problem; they did a good job. Or at least as well as Lee did. They identified the key points Pontiac wanted to promote, and they also got Pontiac to donate two cars. But Sean absolutely should have been there. One of the key elements of his job is managing sponsor relationships. It’s a question respect.

And skipping the meeting just to hang with Tammy was wrong. Sean – you can wait another 48 hours for the date.

Fortunately, Sean has a good team that has a proven track record. Unlike Lee.

Pepi? Really? And Roxanne?

Sean’s second problem is a frustrating one. Andrea started coughing up blood. That’s never a good thing. So he sent her off to the doctor to get taken care of. He was sympathetic and didn’t try to lean on her. It looked like his main concern was her well being.

Sean handled it properly. But that’s still not going to help him get the job done.


Sean’s will be more successful with his event. While I doubt Lee’s event will flop, it won’t run nearly as smoothly. And Lee is unlikely to get the endorsement of the other parties at this event. Sean probably will.

Lee’s best shot at winning is to do something dramatic with the fund raising, significantly out raise Sean’s event, and have absolutely nothing go wrong.

Sean’s event is in good shape. If he can find some way to compensate for losing Andrea, he should be ok.

Going in to this week, the Apprenticeship was Lee’s to lose. No longer. Now it’s a dead heat. If Trump decides based on this task, Sean will win. If Trump makes his decision on overall performance, Lee still has an excellent chance.

We almost saw a double hiring last season. We might actually see it this year.

Bottom line is Sean wants this more. He’s hungry. And he is ready for the challenge.

It's the Eye of the Tiger
It's the Thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivorStalks his prey in the night
And he's watching us all in the Eye
of the Tiger

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