Opinion

Apprentice bosses tear Baggs apart

"What on earth are you talking about. You're a twenty one year old kid. You're not a brand," raved Viglen chairman Claude Littner as The Apprentice reached its always-gripping final interview stage.

"I think when you look at what a brand is..." said an already humbled Stuart Baggs.

"No, don't tell me what a brand means, okay? You are not a brand. You're not a brand."

"I think I might be..."

Littner then (perhaps) unwittingly cut to the heart of Sugar's once-mighty empire, asking him why someone as "successful, innovative and as big a dreamer" as Baggs would want a job with Sugar.

Fair point. These days Sugar is mostly famous for The Apprentice, and runs a property business with a digital signage firm bolted on and sidelines in aeroplane hire and book promotion. And Viglen, of course.

Speaking of Viglen, it was heartening to see one man in the organisation had clearly bothered to do some research.

Since so-called industry veteran Alan Sugar is obviously rather easily swayed by a BBC producer with an eye for compelling telly, it fell to Viglen boss Bordan Tkachuk to bang the final nail into Bagg's coffin, revealing a tissue of lies about the nature of his Isle of Man-based comms firm, Bluewave, which Baggs had claimed was a fixed and mobile comms provider.

As Tkachuk pointed out, Bluewave is a licensed wireless broadband provider, and it was clear that Baggs had been padding his CV with a few whoppers.

When it came to the boardroom, the producers left egg on Sugar's face, as the man who used to brag about being able to spot a bulls***er from a mile off was forced to admit that he had not seen Baggs coming, and regretted having fired solid performer Liz last week.

But despite all of this, I think we still have to give Baggs some credit. He may not be a brand, or a fish, and his field of ponies will never get the chance to run towards Lord Sugar, either.

But he had the guts to go for it, and in fairness, whatever Bluewave actually does, Baggs established an ISP at the age of 18. I think that's quite an achievement, even if he is a nitwit.

And if there's one lesson that Lord Sugar's bully boy business tactics and the terrible interview technique shown by his henchmen can teach us all; you have to be slightly unhinged to want to work with them.

Whatever Stuart does next, he's better off not being The Apprentice.

This was first published in December 2010

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