Apprentice 2011: Simon Duffy gives the entrepreneur take on episode two

Last night's episode was all about creating an app for a mobile phone. Not only did it provide a fantastic opportunity for the candidates to show how witty they were by coming up with countless app-related puns, but it also gave them a chance to showcase their technology savvy.

Apps have obviously become hugely popular over the past few years. Bulldog has created it's own app to support our David Mitchell Soapbox shows, and they are increasingly prevalent across all types of start up businesses. 

For me it was really interesting that Leon and Edna put themselves forward as team leaders. I found these two to be amongst the least impressive candidates in the first episode so I was intrigued to see how they would get on.

Leon's PM performance during the task itself was not all that bad. He developed a reasonable business plan, delegated roles to those with relevant skills and had an idea about marketing his product. A key problem for Leon and his team was the appeal of the product itself. Launching something that was only going to appeal to such a small portion of their potential market was certainly naive, and in some part the Brit-focused nature of his creation may have held him up.

The girls' team managed to grasp the concept of 'global appeal' more clearly. Yes it was a pretty crude app, and not one I would personally have on my iPhone, but you could also see how it could appeal more broadly.

I'm sure Edna's leadership style will come under further fire as the series progresses and her slightly bizarre approach to presenting certainly raised more laughs than it did downloads. She had better presenters in her group and delegating more effectively in this instance would have benefited her team.

Susan, who was my early tip for the final two, didn't cover herself in glory by sulking during the brainstorm, however I also thought her PM could have given her more encouragement rather than just cutting her down.

If there's one clear lesson from this task, it's to never underestimate the power of great PR. It seemed to me that the girls thought the boys had a better app, a much more engaging and effective presentation, a more united team spirit, and the early initiative in terms of downloads.

In spite of all this, the front page support of the key global technology blog swung the task massively back in favour of the girls. This was the decisive moment in the task. I suspect Edna will look back with an enormous sigh of relief when she watches for herself just how much the boys' app irked those particular experts.

I found the boardroom scene pretty remarkable and Leon had a shocker. Yes, I think we've all found Alex totally underwhelming, but for Leon to allow Jim to pull the strings so comprehensively verged on the ludicrous. I was surprised Alan even bothered to send them away and didn't just fire Leon on the spot.

Part of running your own business is making tough decisions and the reputation that Leon has now created for himself as indecisive and easily swayed will be tough for him to move on from during future tasks. I won't be sad to see the back of Alex however. Pulling your weight in a team, especially at a start up business, is so important and Alex had been looking for the easiest options since the beginning.

Did Alex deserve to be fired? App-solutely.

Read Simon's review of The Apprentice, episode one

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