APPRENTICE 2011: Entrepreneur Simon Duffy reviews episode seven

It's the half way stage of The Apprentice and I thought this was a great task to mark this landmark. Creating a free magazine and pitching advertising space to media buyers offered a great opportunity for the teams to showcase their entrepreneurial talents.

The free magazine market has really come alive over the past few years. Titles like ShortList and Stylist have shown that something free can also deliver excellent quality. I suspect we're only just beginning to see the impact of the 'Freemium' revolution in male and female magazines.

I was disappointed with the dated concepts that both teams came up with. Across the board there was insufficient thought and consideration into what each target market was looking for.

The 'Lads Mags' industry has seen significant recent changes. Men's Health is now the number one selling magazine for men in this country, and publications like FHM have been changing their editorial direction to tone down the 'laddish' elements. Over the task, Natasha's idea morphed into something of a funny hybrid, but in execution it really harped back to the 90's. I thought Covered was a fantastic name by Leon, who also added value with his story idea. I think he's starting to impress more in these later tasks.

Jim's team hoped to target the over 60's. Their critical error was to fly in the face of the key insights generated through the focus group. Their editorial tone came across as incredibly patronising and would have offended many. Furthermore it was a shocking name. I can't believe anybody would advertise in Hip Replacement and I thought the media buyers were actually pretty generous.

I thought Jim had to go. He was really poor in this task and his Jedi skills are deserting him. The way he spoke to Susan in the boardroom was particularly rude and disrespectful. It was a big surprise when Glen got the boot instead.

Lord Sugar's given reason for sacking Glen was puzzling. It is just plain wrong that engineers don't make good business people. I imagine James Dyson (worth easily over one billion and one of the UK's finest and most innovative entrepreneurs) was shaking his head at this comment.

Personally I'd like to see science and innovation become a larger part of our education system and I believe we should be encouraging more engineers into business. If you look at the manufacturing industry in the UK, it's in real trouble. There are still some brilliant manufacturers and engineers in this country however many businesses now default to overseas solutions for perceived better value.

Lord Sugar's comments send out completely the wrong message, and I'd like to see him trying to get to Paris next week without relying on the innovative engineering of the Eurostar.

Like this? Read these:

APPRENTICE 2011, Episode six: Simon Duffy reviews the 'Rubbish' task

Apprentice 2011: Simon Duffy on beauty, Susan's big mistake and that "boardroom farce"

Apprentice 2011: Simon Duffy gives the entrepreneur's take on episode three

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

Apprentice 2011: Bulldog's Simon Duffy reviews episode one

 

 

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