Unexpectedly Intriguing!
April 28, 2005

After last week's episode, we're down to the final four contestants for Season 3 of The Apprentice. If you missed the last episode, here's a teaser for Suzanne Condie Lambert's weekly recap, Office-clutter Task Sweeps Out Bren:

Previously on The Apprentice: Net Worth continues its brilliant strategy of getting valuable face time with Donald Trump by cleverly losing. Kendra runs for president of the I Hate Craig club. And Craig uses words, but can't seem to string them together in a way that produces actual "meaning."

There's more, of course, but let's get to the analysis of this week's task and how well the show's contestants did in making it to the show's final rounds.

Design for Success

The task for the week was to design and build a prototype of an office supply product for this week's product-placement derby winner Staples who, oddly enough, sells office supply products. To the company's credit however, and especially its marketing savvy, the task for this week's episode dovetails nicely with the company's annual Invention Quest contest, where it seeks ideas and designs for new products from the inventor community.

Team Magna, consisting this week of last week's project manager Kendra, this week's project manager Craig and the consumately evil Tana, overcame the obstacle that no one on the team works really well with one another to sweep to victory. The secret to their success? Well, given that this week's project manager was Craig, you know there has to be some sort of box involved. The team's winning design essentially consisted of four plastic stackable organizers arranged like a box and glued together on top of a lazy susan, making it a spinning box with lots of little boxes. The judges liked it so much, you can now get your own, more professional-looking version at your local Staples for $34.99 USD (supplies limited). It's name: The Desk Apprentice:

Staples: The Desk Apprentice Rotating Organizer

The product is, at once, simple and surprisingly versatile. Plus, it spins, an improvement over the team's previous box! In short, it's everything you could reasonably expect from a box you can put on your desk and more.

Design for Failure

Team Net Worth. What can you say about a team that consisted of two lawyers, Alex and Bren involved in a creative design task? If nothing else, this week's episode showed that people who become lawyers lack that creative design spark and should not be employed in either creative design or the marketing of creative products. Then again, maybe it's just these two guys.

Alex and Bren, despite that they get along very well together, came up with a product that would be the last thing any office would need - another large piece of furniture to go alongside your office's other furniture for holding papers and office supplies. Worse, the "Pack Rat," (I did mention the lack of marketing skill here, didn't I?) actually was designed to make it harder to get those papers and office supplies by placing them under a hinged glass lid that would have to be cleared of papers and office supplies just to get at the ones you really wanted. Bad design, bad marketing, bad lawyers (okay, that last one was gratuitous, but I enjoyed it!)

In the board room, it came down to which of Alex or Bren had more competitive spark, and sadly, the lawyer with the bow tie was fired.

Handicapping the Final Four Apprentici

The series will come down to a final choice of either Alex or Tana. I believe Craig lacks sufficient communication skills to make it further in Donald Trump's corporate environment and Kendra lacks sufficient people-reading skills to survive in Donald Trump's corner of the business jungle. How else can her lack of response to the previous week's backstabbing by Tana be explained? Kendra is far too focused on her ongoing communication meltdown with Craig to appreciate how deeply Tana is sinking the knife into her future. At least we now know from this episode that evil can enjoy a sandwich while conflict goes on around it....

Between Alex and Tana, Alex will be the likely winner. Of the two, Alex has been executing an end game - he's been building strong relationships with the members of his teams, which should pay real dividends in the show's final task. Tana, on the evil hand, will be on her own, as I doubt the other contestants would even consider going the extra mile on her behalf.

[Editor's note: To be fair, on the scale of evil it's doubtful that Tana ranks as highly as first season contestant Omarosa, but we'll see after the latter's upcoming appearance on Dr. Phil.]

Update: I knew I'd get into trouble predicting a winner! In last night's episode, evil overcame Alex in Donald Trump's board room. I think now that it's a toss up between Kendra and Tana as to who will ultimately win.


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