Maria O’Connor became the second candidate to be fired by Lord Sugar in this series of The Apprentice, after falling asleep during the task.
Lord Sugar set the candidates the task of coming up with ideas for a new household gadget and to design and pitch the gadget to two big retailers.
As with last week’s task, it was boys ( Team Phoenix) against girls (Team Sterling). In the hot seat as project managers for the task was Jane for the girls and Azhar for the boys.
After a day of frustrations on both teams, it was back to the boardroom to face the boss.
Lord Sugar gets straight to business and addresses Sterling. After they all back Jane as a good Project Manager, they explain the thinking behind their product and Lord Sugar observes that it seems more like a toy than a gadget. He also questions the quantities that were offered in the Amazon pitch:
“I don’t think there’s a product in history where a million pieces have been ordered initially by one single retailer.”
Over on team Phoenix, the boys are less supportive of their team leader, with Azhar being forced to defend himself: “unfortunately if I didn’t agree with individuals in the team they felt as though I wasn’t supporting them.”
Adam sticks the boot in saying, “I think there was a communication failure made by Azhar which created two groups rather than one group.”
After Lord Sugar examines their product asking if it was so small because it was meant for “vegetarian dwarfs,” Adam explains that he didn’t like the product and informs Lord Sugar of his rubber gloves idea. Tom tells Lord Sugar that the sub-team felt neglected after the first day and that from then on the group was split and Lord Sugar declares that this is a bad trait for a Project Manager.
Soon after the early exchanges it was down to the figures. Team Sterling received an order of 7,500 from the online retailer and 0 from the high street retailer so total orders of 7,500 for their Splish Splash bath screen.
Team Phoenix received an order of 3,000 from the online retailer and 10,000 from the high street retailer so total orders of 13,000 for their Eco Press bin.
After Lord Sugar highlighted the fact that the girls have lost for the second time, they headed to the Loser’s Cafe to try and dissect what went wrong.
Back in the boardroom, Lord Sugar reminded the girls that he told them at the start of the task that the strength of the product would determine who won before telling them, “the product is not very good. You’ve totally misread what I asked you to do.”
In the end project manager Jane selected Maria and Jenna to return to the boardroom.
|Jane explained that she brought Jenna back due to the fact that Lord Sugar had made it clear he felt the figures were a key reason they lost the task, and that she’d therefore had no choice. Jane also revealed that she brought Maria back due to her lack of contribution to the task and defends her own role declaring, “not one person in here could say that I did a bad job.”||
Maria informed Lord Sugar that Jane should be fired despite being a good Project Manager because she had made the final decision to change the product, to which Jane snapped back, “no it wasn’t, it was a thought out discussion and you were asleep!”
Lord Sugar reprimanded Jane for the fact that despite her business experience, on this occasion, “basic business principles went right down the drain,” before outlining his disappointment in all three girls, “all three of you have got your own businesses and all three of you have made fatal errors here and I’m sitting here thinking which one of you has got the ability to run a business in which I’m going to invest in. You should have all known better.”
Lord Sugar then delivered his final verdict, telling the trio of girls: “I am disappointed with all of you to be honest.
“Jane – you say that you are a good businesswoman and started a business on your own, I put you in a little business and you let it go and you screwed it up.
“Maria – I’m not clear what in fact you did in this task, Maria – You’re Fired.”
As she is driven away in a black cab, Maria reflected: “I was there to achieve a business investment, I didn’t get it, I’ll get it someone else or I’ll make my own money and do it myself.”