Monday, November 22, 2004

Trump's Reality Bites. Branson better.

Seems like "the Donald" gets all the attention with regard to business reality shows these days, and The Apprentice is the first and certainly most popular. I find it interesting though that people find Donald Trump to be such an icon of business, when he's barely holding on to his empire, having recently gone through a bankrupcy deal that caused him to lose much of his stake in his own company. Everything I see and hear when I watch the Apprentice causes me to lose more and more respect for Donald's "manage through fear" approach, and I feel he's the last person entrepreneurs should be emulating when they are picking out their role models. Most of us don't inherit the fortune that Trump did, and most entrepreneurs I meet are much better and dealing with real life business problems...and certainly people...than he is.

On the other hand, I'm hopeful for the new Rebel Billionaire series, hosted by Richard Branson. I've never met a whole lot of great business people from the UK in general, but Branson is somebody I think truly worth respecting. I've enjoyed the show so far, though wish they would put more emphasis on business challenges rather than courage-daredevil challenges. I did love his first way of determining the "losers" of his competition. He dressed up like an old cabbie and drove the contestants to his mansion, and watched the way they treated him when they did not know he was important. Great test! I know a CEO who always interviewed people by taking them to lunch, and one of the important things he looked for was how nicely they treated the waiter or waitress. It's a great technique - one Richard Branson values because he values "kindness" as one of his core values - one Donald Trump just wouldn't get.

Overall, I think Richard Branson is the executive that today's entrepreneur's should look up to and emulate - he's built a fantastic brand from nothing, and has been a nice and fun guy during the process - something "The Donald" can only dream of doing. I'd highly recommend "Apprentice" fans to give Branson's show a look.


At 11:00 AM, Blogger Martin said...

Poppycock. You are right the The Donald inherited much of his bluster. He is also very specific to the real estate business and to New York in general. I don't see Trump as an entrepreneur in the "lets start something new and shake things up" model. Cuban and Branson are both that and more. If you are talking tech start-up I agree with you. But general, old school business. Trump still has some things to teach us all. I look forward to your comments on Branson. Did you catch this month's Maxim? Branson doesn't get his girls in their nickers on a bed....


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