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Who wants to be a Tycoon?

The thoughts of Richard Osborne on many subjects over the years.

Who wants to be a Tycoon?

I’ve been taking part in a discussion on UKBF about the new Tycoon reality TV show by Peter Jones.
In basic terms the show is about a celebrity Entrepreneur who hand picks 6 wannabe business Tycoons who have a business idea. He then gives them all £10,000 each to get their idea started, and then mentors them and drip feeds them extra money if they can justify to him why they need it. On the face of it the show should be fantastic viewing and a brilliant opportunity for the participants. Especially as the winner takes all, and I mean not just a successful business but also all the profits made by any of the other participants.
Unfortunately I see a few flaws in the show so far. Perhaps I’m being a bit harsh considering I’ve only seen the first episode, so shouldn’t really judge, but I’m going to anyway…
Firstly, the participants are not even remotely Entrepreneurial. If these are the best of the applicants who applied to take part in the show then we have problems because I wouldn’t employ these people for basic office admin let alone invest money into them! If Peter Jones played a part in selecting these people then I have to question his people judgement skills.
Secondly, every single idea that each of these people have is appalling. Really bad, flawed and nothing unique or expandable. Are these the best ideas that all the applicants could come up with?
Thirdly, and I hope this is just selectively editing for TV, but Peter’s people management style leaves a lot to be desired. His mentoring is a far stretch from what I call mentoring … “Change this, do that, now get out of my office” doesn’t really teach people anything. There is no education and no guidance there at all. He then does something good and take people outside when you need to slate them, and then almost brings the “silly kid” to tears by slating him in front of the others. Now I know this has to make good TV, but I dont find watching a wannabe TV celeb almost bringing a kid to tears entertaining.
One thing that did stick out to me was the chair positions in his office. When I speak to my staff on a level, I sit next to them and we talk. When I’m interviewing or giving appraisals I sit at a desk with them in front of me with myself and the staff member “at” the desk. Peter sat right behind his desk and positions the participants chair a good few feet from his desk, so they were sat intimidatingly out in the open. This is the actions of a boss who wants to belittle and intimidate his staff, a bully. If you work for someone who does this I’d suggest finding yourself another job within a boss who cares about his staff.
Peter may have done this on the instruction of the producers to make good TV, and I hope that is the case because a friend of mine who has met Peter in persons says he’s actually quite a nice guy. He just isn’t endearing himself to me so far in his new show.

Let’s hope that the show improves, the editing improves to stop Peter looking like an abrassive bully, and they get some good candidates with some proper business ideas which may actually work!

One Comment

  1. Jun 22, 2007

    They really should have been able to find some better entrepreneurs. Hell he’s turned down better ideas on Dragon’s Den.