Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Am Legend

I thought this movie was really good. Had just the right recipe for me. I admit that I have a bias towards zombie movies. I've enjoyed the Night of the Living Dead series, 28 Days Later series, Dawn of the Dead Series, Shawn of the Dead, etc. There is something magnetic about a zombie that you can beat, shoot, and mame to a pulp, and they'll keep coming at you so they can have a little taste of your brain. I guess I enjoy the persistance of the zombies with the added escape-when-you-feel-like-it crawling pace that they come at you with. There's no wonder there is a list of zombie movies on wikipedia for people who just can't seem to get enough.

There are 2 problems I had with the movie I am Legend. Will Smith is supposed to be playing this character who is allegedly pretty smart and clever in many ways. But, when he finds a potential cure, he injects it immediately into the zombie, and 10 seconds later, he comes to the conclusion that the cure didn't work. Now, it doesn't really take a rocket scientist to know that you gotta give anything you inject into the body more than 10 seconds to react. Its not like he was shooting morphine. He was trying to kill a virus.

Another problem I had was when the zombies came to his house at the end. It looks like he had rigged up bombs to blow up the perimeter of his house, and his house itself ultimately if the zombies were ever to get to him. Wouldn't UV lights be more effective? This way he wouldn't have to blow up his house, and himself.... Hmmmmmmmmmm... Just a thought.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Flash Animation: 10 years later

It seems as though flash animation has really evolved into nothing. There seems to be less and less of it. 10 years ago, it seemed like it was really breaking new grounds.

Remember: (zombie college, mr wong, poker night, starship regulars, queer duck) (booty call, officer krupt...yes all 2 episodes of it was great, site dead) (napster bad, never liked it) (bruce flea, site dead) (dunno, i never wanted to pay at the time) (happy tree friends, and redistribution of icebox content) (anyone can post content they create) (still going strong)

It seems as though the best content on these sites are still the content that was produced 10 years ago. Which sucks because they had shows that I really enjoyed. I think that the problem was that at the time, it was before the dot com bust, and people were putting up quality content without thinking of how to get any money back. This effectively spoiled the viewers into thinking that the content that was created should be free, and should remain free. So when people tried to charge money for it, there weren't enough takers. And of course, without money, you can't produce content. And 10 years ago was about 9 years too early on trying to get a main stream advertiser to be wanting to advertise on your flash animation website.

Will we ever see a revival of quality flash animated shows? Hard to say. I don't like Flash Animation to TV series. Flash animation on TV doesn't look animated enough, and it loses the ability to be interactive. And I'm really not digging the flash to youtube because of the loss of the quality plus the loss of interactiveness. If we have leared anything, I don't think an animated series can be successful based on subscription, but if a site like were to come back, they can make some serious money on advertising. Bring it back. I'm in some need of some creative content. I'm bored of people playing NES tunes on their pianos, and watching faceplant videos on

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Simpsons...I'm over it.

I think its been 2-3 years now that I have not followed the Simpsons. Not sure what the change was but I find that I really don't get too much out of it, not even entertainment. Don't get me wrong, I've been a loyal fan. I probably have seen every episode until season 14, maybe more.

If I had to take a stab at it, the difference has been the lack of rawness of the episodes. The new episodes are based on situations, not about the characters. I like that homer is ape-like and handles things in a testosterone-driven fashion. I like the fragileness and innocense of Lisa, and Bart's fresh look on new experiences from a mind of a child. But the focus is no longer on that. Its about situations, and the characters have evolved...maybe even matured a little. They are a little wiser...which may be good when they are real people, but does no good for cartoons.

I don't think its because I've changed. I still enjoy the good South Park episodes (there are some, this week was definitely crap) and I more than look forward to the future releoase of new Futurama episodes/movies. I almost have it marked on my calendar.

Family Guy, I think I've actually grown out of that one. In a different way. I've just grown to dislike the characters. Took about 5 seasons. But still funnier than the new Simpsons episodes.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 12

Register gamblers that bring in the most money at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino.

Ask the casino what they have used in the past that has been very successful, and that's where the wheel came from.

Target VIP customers who are bigger spenders.

They tried to raffle a car rental for a day. If you are turned off at the suggestion, don't expect the customers to act any differently.

Keep people waiting in line and not gambling. Time is valuable. If you make the person stay in line long enough, they'll just take their free winnings and walk right out the door.

What I would have done as project leader:This is my best idea yet. And frankly, this tactic should be used at all casinos if they have not already done so.

Put the attractive wheel out. And when you register, you get a voucher for one spin. The catch is, the voucher will have a timestamp on it where you can redeem it 4 hours later. And the wheel has free buffet coupon, $25, $50, and $100 prizes, a raffle ticket to one grand prize of $5000 that will be held at the close of the event (end of the day). Worst case scenario, people will wait 4 hours and get a free dinner out of it. And if they win a raffle ticket, they will be encouraged to stick around till the night. The longer they stay at a casino without much to do, they'll end up gambling. And if they win money, they will spend that money and time spending it in the casino anyway.

I would also stress that every customer they register, they individually get told that they should use the card so they can get points for more free stuff.

When I announce the incentive to register, I would also emphasize, "Today only." When people think that they are not going to gamble today, so they might as well register another day, and spin the wheel, they are not going to register.

I would also tell the customer that signs up that they are doing this registration extravaganza only today, and if they know anyone that is thinking about stopping by the casino, that they should and stop by to register.

Have a clear strategy. Mistakes were made to create a extravaganza of some sort, but when people were gathered they did not have a strategy to get the people gambling and keep gambling. The strategy wasn't thought through all the way.

People get caught up with the little things, like putting on a good show, and forgetting that money has to be made. Have a clear strategy that leads you to your goal.

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 11

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 11 is a recap show.

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 10

Make money by riding around in rickshaws.

Thought outside the box.

Did not notice ineffectiveness. Kwame was driving a rickshaw around all day, and the pitch of his services stunk to high-heavens. Instead of thinking to change his tactics, he grinded it out, and brought in no money.

Refunded more advertising money than it was needed or even wanted, for a good reputation. Nick refunded advertising money to someone because they lost the signage during the day. It seemed like the customer was surprised at the generous refund, and it seemed unnecessary, especially since the customer got advertising for half the day. Nick thought his reputation was more important, didn't make sense. I understand wanting to be fair and offering a refund of half the amount, but full amount would have only been benefiscial if I were to do repeat business with the customer. And there was zero chance at a repeat business with the particular customer. It was just not thought out by Nick. And if they had lost by $150, and if I were Donald Trump, I would have fired Nick because there was a big flag raised that told me Nick doesn't have it in him to think about the big picture.

What I would have done as project manager:
Its easy to say that you should think out of the box. That suggestion is not strong enough to get to start in the right direction. What you can do is set a dollar amount as a goal, and see how you're going to get there. For example, if I wanted to make:
$1000: My brain would never leave the realm of working hard on driving people around for a ride, and just putting all I can physically into it.
$3000: I would realize we would never make $3000 driving people around. And definitely advertising on the rickshaws could be thought of.
$10000: I would realize that I should not spend any time driving people around. And that no one would pay that much for advertising on a rickshaw for a day. So I would come up with a grand marketting event/stunt and find one advertiser that would fund it.

Without a target, it doesn't stop your brain from thinking of random strategies to make even less amounts, and you waste the time doing it. When you have a specific target, your brain knows how to eliminate thoughts before they start to develop if its not going to get you to your target.

You cannot think outside the box if you don't know your boundaries. Make your box a lot bigger and set a goal, and the ideas will flow, guarenteed.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 9

Sell art from one artist.

Stressed "Studio price". Price includes hanging and lighting. Great point to stress to add value.

Teams chose artists based on price and what they thought people might like, without actually liking the art. I think it was a terrible mistake. Ever receive a gift from a person who didn't understand or like what they were giving you but thought you might like it? Whether you liked the gift or not, there is always that hollow meaning. It is no different in this case. There is a lack of soul in your pitch, and a lack of soul in the product. Here is a lesson for anyone having a hard time giving gifts. Always follow your heart when giving gifts. That way, when you present the gift, you can tell them why you got it, and that's a gesture that lasts longer than the life of the product. The recipient of the gift can always go buy something for him or herself, but a gesture from the heart is something they can never buy on their own.

What I would have done as project manager:
I would have strictly picked the artist based on what I would spend my money on. Then targetted a similar demographic.

Coming back to what I said on adding value, I would have gone further and said, "If you buy tonight, it'll include hanging, and people will come and light it for you." It'll add urgency and value. And its not a lie, just a spin on the truth.

Making excuses and standing by your decision or action is just a frame of mind. If someone asks you, "why did you choose to do that?" An excuse is when you say, "I wasn't thinking clearly at the time because there was too many things going on." Standing by your decision is when you say, "That's what we decided on because it made the most sense." They both are explanations to the identical event that has already occured and cannot be changed. The difference is that an excuse never does any good for anyone. Never make any excuses. Always stand by your decisions. When you are giving giving an excuse, you might as well hand them a paddle and bend over.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 8


Sell Trump Ice.

On a side note, as much as I respect Donald Trump, I thought the branding on the water was a bit pretentious, especially since the label has a big picture of Donald Trump on the bottle. If the water is that pure, I think if someone asked me why I was drinking Trump Ice, and I tried to tell them that it was really pure water, it would have nothing to do with the label, branding, or the name of the product. Whoever thought of the "Trump Ice" branding should be fired. They had a great opportunity to promote a new line of water on the show, but they messed it up with the branding.


Focus on selling to distributors.


  • Nick was too in your face with the sales, without trying to learn about the customer's first. This isn't like pitching to an audience on the home shopping network. You are pitching to a particular customer, and they all have different reasons to buy. There are salesmen, and there are consultants. nick is a salesman.

  • Never look frazzled in front of your troops. When you're the leader, you out of everyone in your team need to hold your composure. The leader needs to be one to control the composure of any teammates that get frazzled, and never the other way around.

  • Omarosa was overpitching the water abouthow good the water tasted. For something that has no taste, it doesn't take long to figure out that you're just full of it.

What I would have done as project manager:

I would have focused a lot more time and energy researching how I can sell the most to distributors. Try to find out how wide their distribution is and how much water they sell. And who they sell to. So that I can make the distributors visualize who they can distribute their water to, and have some numbers to quote them on what they'll be making from this deal. Don't just say we'll sell you this much water, you figure out what to do with it. Distributors don't care about how pure the water is. They just care about how cheap they can get it, and how fast they can distribute it.

Restaurants on the other hand had a hard time with the storage of their water. They said they didn't have a place to store a whole palate of water. Here are 2 great comebacks to that objection.

1. The great thing about water is that they come in individually wrapped cases, and you can store the water just about anywhere. Its not going to spoil. You can always find the room for a case of water here and there. Maybe even put it in a space you never got to use, but now you'll have a use for that space (added-value).

2. I would reframe his objection to assume he had said "I would buy if I only had the space", then I would tell him what I can do is sell him the equivalent of the palate to a water, but delivered in seperate shipments during the month. Then I would have said, but the minimum of to do seperate shipments is 2 palates, which is shipment of water for the next 2-4 months. And remind him its not a matter of the water that is not going to be sold. The restaurant will always need water, and its just a matter of time before the restaurant goes through them. What is important is that he is getting a better quality of water for cheaper than his current suppliers, which is a win/win situation for the restaurant and his customers.


Know when someone is busting your balls. And if they've dished it out to you where you are in a lose/lose situation, you need to call them out on it.

If you are called out for "protecting" your friends from the boardroom, I would call out Mr. Trump and say "you are putting me in a lose/lose situation here Mr. Trump. If I bring her in, you are going to say I brought her in because you told me so. If I don't bring her in, you're going to say I didn't bring her in because we're friends. Then say I'm not bringing her for this reason, (have a solid reason that I have prepared). Now if you don't mind Mr Trump, let's put a nail in that coffin and move on."

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 7

Renovate an apartment in a day, and get it rented out the next. The team that gets a higher percentage gain from the original appraised rent wins.


Everyone except Omarosa got down and dirty when they needed to. You might be making a 6 figure salary or driving an Aston Martin, but if you really want to win, you gotta put all that aside and just do the things that needs to get done like cleaning a toilet.

Wrongs:Always back your team 100%. Even if you don't agree, when your team is put on the spot to defend a decision, don't be the lone ranger and go against what your team. For example, say that there are 6 of you, and you were the losing team. If 5 of your teammates are arguing with Donald Trump that they did not lose the task because they were only a few dollars shorter than the other team, and the overall accomplishments of both teams were spectacular, don't be the 6th team member to blurt out, "well, we still lost" in front of Donald. It might be what you believe, it might be what you are thinking, and you might be the person that speaks his/her mind, but before all that, you need to back your team up first. Its fine if Donald points out a loss is a loss, then that's fine, but the team has to stick together. Without the backing from an entire team, instead of looking like a team that worked together, you just look like a team that probably argued through the whole task. That's why Tammy got fired for blurting out something obnoxious like "I think we got duped" after the whole team said they did not got duped.

What I would have done as the project manager:Get the cheaper apartment at all costs.

Then whatever apartment we got, I would have tried to brainstorm some innovative marketting to lure most people as possible like take some nice pics and say things like "offer available for today only", "starting bid at $999/month", "auction starts at 4PM", and then reserved some money to buy appliances that catored to the winning bidder's needs so we can upsell the montly dollar amount (for example if they need a refridgerator, washer/dryer, granite, premium carpet, etc.) If you pay $25 extra a month it comes with a refridgerator, if you pay another $35 a month, you get a washer and dryer etc.


Always stay focused on the big picture. People tend to get lost in the minor things. Both teams made this mistake. Instead of realizing that a higher priced apartment is going to be harder to get the best value in the one day to rent out, teams wanted to choose the apartment that had the most potential for renovation. That doesn't sound like a mistake unless you factor in that you only have one day to renovate, and one day to rent.

Some of the team members made this same mistake again by concentrating on the finer details on how things were going to get done, rather than focusing on finishing on time.

Katrina said, "The work we done in the apartment is unbelievable. The only way Troy could have won is pure luck." Katrina lost, not due to luck, but by getting caught up with the minor details. The task wasn't to "get it appraised at a higher dollar amount."

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 6

Raise money for charity by negotiating with celebrities on what they want to give away for auction.

Troy taking off his belt, pretending to not know how to dress in front of Fab 5 was pure genius. It was the ice breaker of all ice breakers.

Know how to pronouce the celebrity name. By not knowing how to produce their name says about how little you know about the celebrity. Without knowing who the celebrity is, you cannot effectively negotiate the value of something you don't know the value of.

Know what you are walking into. For example Russell Simmons is known to be a hardass. His demeanor was obvious when the group walked in to negotiate with him. He had an expression of "who are these clowns and what are they doing here to waste my time?" So buttering him up and getting friendly wouldn't work in the traditional sense. I would start by being brief with the complements and the thanks for wanting to help with the charity (not spend more than a minute or less on that) and lead to, "I know you hear that all the time, but I know you're a really busy man, so I know you're wanting to get down to business. What we are here about is the charity." When you are saying that, you start talking in his wavelength. Then I would resell him on the good he'll be doing for the charity and how raising the most money without inconviniencing the celebrity is to everyone's interest. That would prime his mind on getting him to turn his wheels on what he can do to raise the most money instead of just agreeing to a suggestion.

Donald Trump spinned something Omarosa said, then came back at Heidi with it. He was just busting balls. But Heidi got caught up in trying to defend herself on something that wasn't even said. She should have recomposed herself and reiterated what was actually said right before he cut Omarosa off.

What I would have done as project manager:
I would research the celebrities. Made sure everyone at least knew how to pronounce their names. If a particular teammember was a big fan of one of the celebrities, I would task them to break the ice with the celebrity. I would research the charity. Find out what its about, what they want to do, what they have done in the past, and how the donation is going to make a difference. Then I would have a gameplan. Who's gonna say what to break the ice, and the angle of approach (business or friendly), who's going to be the expert on the charity and its cause, then who is going to close. Maybe throw some good cop bad cop in there, like one person would propose something outrageous, then someone else would say "well, that sounds a bit too much to ask for, and mr. (name) probably wouldn't be interested" and gage his reaction. There is a chance the celebrity might say, "well, actually that doesn't sound like a bad idea." because some people, in this case celebrities, have a tendency to automatically argue against the last thing that was said.

Research the person you are going to ask favors from. In this case, research the celebrity. You need to first get on their wavelength. Tell the celebrity that you know of him, like his work, understand him, and understand his cause. Communicate that his goal is your goal.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 5

With a budget of $1000, buy merchandise and sell it at a flea market.

Heidi was voicing her opinion how much she hates the flea market, how much it sucks, and that no one is buying. She is effectively discouraging her team without offering any solutions. You should ask, "right now, no one is buying for some reason. What can we do differently so that something stands out, catches the customer's eye, so that people do buy?"

Vist the flea market to see what things are being already sold, and what type of customers frequent that flea market. The regular sellers wouldn't be there wasting their time if they did not know what they were doing.

What I would have done as PM:
I would have picked the flea market area where they let you sell food outside, and I would perfer to go with bbq'd meats. I would push hard for the sale of sodas. A $1 for a can of soda or water always seems like a pretty descent deal, but when you buy in bulk you can get it on the average 25 cents a can or bottle. You can also throw in the drink to add value to your $5 plate of food that cost you half the amount to prepare. I would rely on Coca-Cola's brilliant product to win the project for me.


  • Tammy said she expects to lose from the start. When you have goals, all the decisions you make including subconsicous decisions will lead you to that goal. When your goal is to fail, you are leading yourself to failure without even knowing it.

  • Whenever you are planning an event outside, check the weather, and adjust your plans if necessary.

  • When you lose the project as the PM, and everyone did well, admit defeat of the task and move away completely from it. The worst thing is feel guilty that its your fault as the PM of this task did. Then make a strong case why you are the stronger player.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 4

Run Planet Hollywood for a day.

Things People Did Right:

  • Omarosa finally softened up to her group.

  • Encouraged liquor sales.
Things People Did Wrong & What Could Have Been Done Instead:

  • Men: Nick appointed Kwame as the project manager. I would not appoint someone the project manager when you have not been the PM. Instead of giving direction, you look like you're passing off the leadership to someone else.

  • Women: Too Gung-Ho without stragegy. Women relied totally on enthusiasm and not much else.
What I would Have Done As Project Manager:

  • I would designate that day as the kick off to the 1st annual Planet Hollywood Red Carpet Event. The name suggests that some stars might be there. And I would to the best of my ability to try to get in touch with one of the celebrity owner to make a brief experience. Even if they cannot make it, you can always say that the red carpet is for the VIP guests that day, which is the customers for that day.

  • I would emphasize that drinks and appetizers are half off for the entire day. Normally, restaurants use happy hour to make the restaurants a happening place around dinner time, since no one likes to eat at a empty restaurant. But Planet Hollywood needs a lot of help. Their happy hour probably could last till 9PM on a daily basis. I would advertise that the happy hour is untill close, but the happy hour menu could be taken off the table when the restaurant becomes full, and the happy hour menu is available on request if the restaurant becomes full. I would also rely that majority of people would be ordering dinner around dinner time any way, so no need to have a designated end time.

  • I would set up an atmosphere where there is a lot of activity in the front. A live band, or make shift bar where you get drinks at 1/2 off prices. If the customers are not 100% sold on coming in, and they see live atmosphere, it will be an additional reason to come in. Everyone wants to join in on the fun. From my experience, for some reason, Planet Hollywood likes to fill up people from the back to front. Which makes the restaurant seem empty from the outside. People get in their heads that if no one is eating there, there's a good reason why. Bad food, expensive, rat droppings, or all of the above.

  • I would print up shirts for the store for that event. I would coach the waiters to first lead with the questions "So have you guys been at Planet Hollywood before?" If yes, tell them that the shirts they are wearing for the Planet Hollywood Red Carpet Event are only available for today. And any shirts they sell, they will get double commission for that shirt. On top of that, the waiter that sells the most shirts will get an additional $100.

  • As for marketting the event, I would put up a some signage, maybe a large banner, that something special is happening that day. And have a Red Carpet with posts coming out of that door.

  • Pay for radio ads during the rush hour traffic in the morning and on the way home. Get the name of the event across. Sell that there will be a party/celebration going on. Drinks & Appetizers are half off for the entire night, but only that night only.

  • Make sure that all the customers during the day are encouraged to come back for the party and the half off drinks and appetizers later that evening.
Take-away lessons:
Don't get desperate and go against your morals. Like pretending to be a celebrity and sign basketballs (Kwame). You might win the task, but the reputation (of deception or getting desperate under pressure) might carry with you and it might cost you the ultimate prize.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Apprentice Season 1 Episode 3

Buy 10 specific items on the street for the lowest price.

Things People Did Right:
The women used their charm. I don't know about you, but a bunch of beautiful women giving me the pouty faces, cheering me on, and begging would have some kind of psychological affect on me.

Things People Did Wrong & What Chould Have Been Done Instead:
  • Sam says he won't come in the house until he is greeted at the door. No one comes to greet him. He's demanding some respect, but he's not in a position to demand it. He is in the position to earn it, and he should be spending time on how he's going to earn the respect of his teammates.
  • There shouldn't be 3 people in the suite delegating the task. One person should be in charge of research, getting the address, phone numbers, verifying that they have it in stock, and mapping out how to maximize their driving time. Probably the perfect job for the project manager.
What I Would Have Done As Project Manager:

The game plan:
  1. As the project manager, I would research on the best price on the web. Check ebay. Check Froogle. Check wholesale prices. When you know how much they get it for, you know how much to offer without insulting them by suggesting something ridiculous. You can tell them, at least you are making some profit, and at the end of the day, some profit is better than no profit. And they can always restock. You also know that even though it seems like you were able to knock off 20% of the price, they could have had a 50% markup, and it would have been better to start negotiating at the store where the markup is a lot less.
  2. Separate the group into 2 teams of 3.
  3. Connect with the buyer. Is the seller married? Have kids? Wearing the same color shirt? Do you know the brand of his tie? Is he the same nationality as you? Does he have an accent you recognize? Are you from the same town, or at least neighboring towns? Find some common ground first. Move away from the seller/purchaser relationship. And make it seem like you are in a spot where you can mutually benefit. Its not a cash transaction about him selling you something for the lowest price. There is something he's getting it out of it, whether it be profit, exposure, repeat business, or just knowing that he's doing something good that'll make him feel like a good person.
  4. Don't waste time negotiating with the salesperson that doesn't even have the ability to knock down the price. The store manager will see the benefits of TV exposure and return business. The salesperson is more focused on the sale of the item, not repeat business.
  5. Never negotiate something for nothing. For example if the owner says "I could only do that price if you were paying cash today." Your answer shouldn't be "yes we are going to pay cash." Suggest a slightly lower price because your cash on hand is limited. Knowing that credit card takes on the average of 1-4% of the transaction, you should abe to deduct that amount.
Negotiation Tactics (use to knock down the price during negotiation):
  1. Show benefit of cash and on the spot puchase
  2. The benefit on being on camera, which means free advertising, and being the hero. But only when you buy.
  3. The percentage game (explained below).
  4. The benefit of leaving the store and getting out of his hair to add to the final leverage of the close.
The Close:
Here's how I would close. The close would be the last knockdown in price. And for him to agree to this last reduction in price, I would reiterate the bulletpoints on the benefits of closing this transaction.
  • If you have negotiated the price from $100 to $86.50, tell him, "Here's the thing (name). We are on a task where we specifically need to make all purchases at 15% off. Its just the rules of this game.
  • And if you buy from us, you get the benefit of some free TV exposure. You can make a determination how valuable that is going to be for your business. I believe that that no matter what happens, it'll be at the very least some positive benefit.
  • We're ready to buy right now, with cash, leave the store as happy customers and get out of your hair because I know your time is valuable."
  • Let him calculate the 15% off price. And say "So that's only a $1.50 less than the price we talked about. For $85, do we have a deal (and offer a hand shake close)?" The psychological need to shake someone when they offer their hand is the last microgram of leverage you're dishing out during the close.
Take-away Lessons:
Sam says "I'm not sure if I even care about the price of the gold anymore." That quote says it all. It was about him doing well as a project manager, gaining the respect of his teammates, and not about winning the task. The focus was wrong, and that's why they lost.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Apprentice: Final Tasks

For the final task, you pick your old teammates to be your aids in your final task.

Here is a mistake that is made by the best of them.

People make the mistake of picking people solely based on people that have performed well during previous tasks. Or they'll pick them because they worked well with them as a team in the past.

Now, you might be thinking...isn't that a good thing?

No. What people fail to understand is that the people you'll be picking have already lost. What fuels them, the charge under their ass, has run out of gas. They have nothing to gain. Even top performers don't really have much incentive to pull an all nighter, and focus like they used to. Even the best and brightest that you have to choose from will get easily distracted and will need a lot of motivation.

If you really have good leadership skills, by the end of the task you should have made some close friends who believe it in their hearts that you should be the apprentice. The people who have the mentality, "I'm going to give it my best so I can see my friend win" should be the first choice. They'll have real drive and will stay motivated. If it is possible, your goal from the first day should be to make 7 close friends. That way, if you get 3 aids at the finale, you'll have a team with one common goal.

If you couldn't make 7 close friends, your second choice should be perfectionists. Everything they do, they do because everything they do is done to their standards. If they have a job to do, they get it done, and they get it done right. Because it is a part of their character. These people will do tasks better than people who have the ability to do it better but only perform at their best when they are motivated to do so.

Your last selection should be the people you've worked well in teams with and people who did well on previous tasks.

The motivational/pep talk. Here's how I would motivate my team. First, I would say that I picked them because you consider them close friends and you respect their capabilities as professionals. I would state that you understand that they don't have anything to gain and that they'll be challenged for the next few days to stay focused. Then as passionately as possible, I would tell them why I want to win, why I deserve it. Really sell them that on the idea that they are doing the right thing to help me win. Then, I would challenge them by telling them that I need more than help but also need their dedication to be able to win. And that's what I'm asking for. And if they don't want to do it, they should let you know right now. Otherwise, I would address them ask them one by one by name, if they are with me. And if they don't say "absolutely", then:

A) You need better leadership skills
B) You need to work on how to sell your vision

Costco Sucks

Things you should never buy at CostCo:

Scotch Brite. Buy the big bag of 12 at CostCo, and buy the 3-Pak at the market. You'll see what I'm talking about. See how long they last. They are pulling a fast one on us.

Big box of Oreos. The best oreos and the freshest come in a package of 6. The package of 45 at the markets come close to being as good. But the big box at costco is terrible. The cookies are dense. Its good for transportation, so they don't break. But they suck for eating.

Last but not least, Campbell's Clam Chowder. Ever boil a pot of milk, and you get that protein scum on top? The real soup in the middle of the pot are canned and sent to the markets. The scum on top is what they can and send to CostCo. At least the CostCo in the poorer neighborhoods. It should be a felony.