"Technology has been my best friend for over 50 years... but maybe it's time to make new friends..."
These words spoken by Alan Sugar himself summed up The Apprentice this season quite well. After the billionaire finally picked his new business partner following a gruelling 12 week interview process, the final moments showed that Lord Sugar had finally had enough of technology in a season that certainly showed a lack of it.
Last Sunday it came down to two candidates, Joseph Valente and Vana Koutsomitis who both became favourites halfway through the season as they showed great leadership, business prowess and teamwork. Yet despite their qualities, Alan Sugar was only interested in one thing and that's their business plan.
So do any of these tasks actually mean anything if at the end of it the business idea is what wins them the investment? It certainly shows their capabilities and skills in business with tasks involving selling, marketing and distribution which are key areas to know when running a successful company. Yet if someone can be on the winning team each season, show an outstanding business prowess and mind and be a great leader then it won't mean a thing if Lord Sugar doesn't like the business plan.
Each candidate has a business plan and the problem with this is that someone with a great idea for a business could be fired in the first round. Shouldn't we find out in the first round?
The two candidates that made it to the final both had business ideas that had a lot of potential. Joseph, who was looking a lot sharper and professional without his pencil thin moustache was looking to find investment with his plumbing brand company, Prime Time Plumbers. Vana, on the other hand was looking to create a dating app combining two very popular mediums of mobile in dating and gaming - which was the first time in the entire series we saw anything remotely tech related.
Before The Apprentice started we posted an article about the lack of technology with recent seasons only featuring a small portion of tech inspired tasks. This season, there really wasn't much at all and less so than recent seasons. Whereas last year we had tasks involving online video channels and wearable technology, the tasks this year were more like scenarios we would see at school with emphasis mainly on traditional selling and marketing. It didn't seem like an evolution of last year's season and was more of a step back with teammates rushing around London trying to sell consumables on the street instead of using digital marketing or online platforms like they did last year.
It was only until we got to the Interviews stage later in the season where we learnt of Vana's business idea which was a dating/gaming app called Date Play (previously Play Date) that combined matchmaking mini games to pair singles together and challenge the mobile dating market. Although fellow contestant, Gary Poulton's business idea involved the use of your phone to create an online ad-hoc party it was immediately dismissed as a gimmicky Skype and failed to gather any interest.
The two remaining candidates, Joseph and Vana went head to head in the final episode and we got to see some more technology with Vana speaking with mobile developers and app designers and Joseph deciding to implement a 'smart' technology that could help bring his plumbing business into the 21st century.
However, it all came down to one thing and that was return on investment and Vana's dating app just seemed too much of a gamble for Alan Sugar and decided to give Joseph Valente the investment and that he would be his business partner. Alan passed on the opportunity to spearhead a business idea based on current trends and technology and decided to take on the services industry instead. Providing services was a prominent task of this year's series and one of the tasks was centered on providing 'handy men' services so was could it have been that Lord Sugar was intending to enter the services industry due to the nature of these tasks?
One thing is for sure, Alan Sugar may not be a stranger to technology but he is certainly drifting away from it.