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Chloe's The Apprentice Blog - Podtastic (S16 E7)

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Chloes The Apprentice Blog - Podtastic (S16 E7)

This week the teams were asked to design driverless vehicle pods, create a brand and try to sell their product to corporate customers.

The Teams

Team Diverse set about deciding who should be PM. Does anyone have experience with driverless vehicles? A little bit niche isn’t it, but let’s examine their specialisms. Akshay loves cars, but Sophie has a flair for interior design, having designed a bar from scratch. The democratic vote goes to Sophie (in other words, the boys were outnumbered).

Meanwhile on team Infinity, Akeem easily lands the PM role given his tech specialism, but immediately falls into old habits of being swayed by his team in every decision he tries to make. 

The pods

Sophie told her team that she wanted a party pod: “ultra instagrammable”, bright colours (but not tacky), a “lifestyle”, an “experience”. They all seem unconvinced but, at this stage, no one wants to put their head above the parapet – much better to let Sophie hang herself. Which, spoiler alert, she did.

Sophie tells the NEC that her “slight idea” was for an experience pod – an “everlasting memory”. They’ve told her not to be too niche. Naturally she has to backtrack, call her sub team and tell them to forget the party idea and tone it down. But, they’ve already designed ‘Starpod’ – or, as Karren Brady described it – an exploding toaster.

Over at team Infinity, Akeem makes a lacklustre attempt to sell his taxi idea to the Wembley client. He doesn’t make much of an impression on them, mainly due to repeatedly talking about the arena(there’s just one). 

Akeem doesn’t give his sub team much to go on, and they basically do whatever they want. The result is Beepure – a brand name and design geared at promoting the pod’s eco-friendly features. Personally, I like the design – although it isn’t the simplicity Akeem was after, it stands out and the rationale makes sense. And, after all, Akeem’s team can’t be blamed for doing their own thing, he changes his mind more often than Lord Sugar cracks a truly awful joke (which is a lot).

The selling

Neither team manage to sell very many pods to the NEC and Wembley. Each corporate partner had £1m to spend but the teams didn’t even make it to triple figures. 

Luckily for them they got a second chance at selling, to a whole room full of potential clients. Queue more excruciating TV watching courtesy of dorky Nick, and one of the worst possible examples of presenting by Akeem, who delivered his whole pitch directly to the pod with his back to the audience.

Despite the bad performance from both teams, amazingly they managed to make further sales. 

The Boardroom

In what was a very lucky escape for Akeem given his poor leadership skills, team Infinity thrashed Diverse with £1.2m worth of sales versus £535,200.

Sophie seemed to have caught the indecisiveness bug from Akeem. Although she said she was bringing Kathryn back into the boardroom, a few raised eyebrows around the table led her to change her mind and swap Kathryn out for Nick.

Akshay resumed his usual place, in the losing team, and the final three. But, like a cat with nine lives, Akshay survives yet again and it’s Sophie who gets the boot – we saw it coming from the start. 

Next week the teams are designing a corporate track away day.

This week’s issue

Harpreet sold 12 pods at £5,000 each per month, for 6 months. She totalled it up as £320,000, which the customer agreed with.

Once Harpreet walked away, she realised her error and returned to the customer to confirm the total figure should have been £360,000. The customer knew she’d made a mistake, but they didn’t correct her, and weren’t keen on agreeing the new total, so she agreed to split the difference to keep hold of the sale.

This was a commercial situation, but errors like this aren’t uncommon in the employment field. From something like a mistake made in the offer letter or employment contract about the level of salary or bonus, to an overpayment of salary when an employee was paid for a full month despite leaving the company half way through. There are all sorts of mistakes that can happen throughout the employment journey that can leave the employer out of pocket.

Whether an employer can correct mistakes like these, and recover any losses, will depend on the circumstances. In most cases, it requires an analysis of any written terms that are in place, along with considering rules around unlawful deduction from wages and breach of contract. Ultimately, having strong and well-drafted offer letters and employment contracts will go a long way to protecting the employer in most scenarios.

Image Source: Wales Online