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Friday, December 16, 2005

Thoughts on "The Apprentice" finale

The outcome of "The Apprentice" was fairly unsurprising to me, at least after watching the first few minutes of the final episode. They focused fairly heavily on Randal, and didn't pay nearly as much attention to Rebecca. Plus they had Donal Trump saying several times "I have to pick between two stars"

My mom-in-law made a good point about the end, though. It did look very much like The Donald wanted to hire both candidates, and asked Randal just to give him the chance to be magnanimous on national TV. If he had expected Randal to say "no," he might not have asked and just announced his decision. Having said it was up to him, though, he couldn't really say "Well, I don't care what you think, I'm going to do it anyway." Well, he could have, being Donald Trump, but it would have injured his relationship with someone he had just hired into a high-profile, high responsibility position. I'm fairly certain he will make the offer to Rebecca anyway; she just doesn't get the chance to accept on national TV with millions of people watching her.

I'm not sure what I think about Randal's decision, though. Sure, he missed the chance to be magnanimous on TV, and reinforce his image as the only genuinely nice person on the show. And that break with his nice guy image might be a drawback down the road, if people remember it. I don't know if people's attention spans are that long, though. A future boss might remember and wonder, but I'm guessing the next step after being Donald Trump's apprentice is being his own boss. And, as long as he's good at what he does, whether he's a genuine nice guy, or just playing the part as long as it helps him does not really make that much difference to potential business partners.

I don't think he was really thinking about long-term consequences, though. I think what he was thinking was "I won, and I don't want to share the glory with anyone else." Also, from a practical point of view, having two apprentices (not "apprenti") would probably not be the best experience for either of them, although it would still be to the benefit of Mr. Trump to not let either of these two very impressive candidates be picked up by someone else. Besides the national publicity, the biggest advantage of this position is the opportunity to work very closely with Donald Trump and learn from him. The apprentice would be stupid to not seek out every opportunity and spend as much time with the man as possible. Obviously, having two people in that position would make it a lot harder for either one of them to gain nearly as much from the experience as they would if only one of them were there. It is understandable that Randal wouldn't want to share this opportunity.

Ultimately, I think Randal made the right business decision, assuming he does outstanding work on the project assigned to him, and doesn't give anyone the opportunity to answer the "what if?" question in Rebecca's favor. And, honestly, apart from losing the chance to be hired live on NBC, Rebecca did not come far behind. It was obvious that the Donald did want to hire her, and if he doesn't, someone else will. I will be very surprised if she doesn't go far in the business world, even without the Trump name behind her.


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