The Apprentice – Lean Startup Builds Minimum Viable Product in Two Days?

The Apprentice is often critised for its inaccurate portrayal of business. And rightly so – a boardroom full of ‘business’ candidates with no real ‘business’ skills and too much ego.

The willing contestants manage to mess up the simplest of tasks. Every season seems to get worse and worse. Surely by now applicants to this public process know what to expect. Knowing how to operate a calculator must be made a minimum selection criteria.

On a recent episode of the UK Apprentice one candidate managed to fall asleep (unprofessional but acceptable given her colleagues inability to make a decision) and her entire team failed to perform a basic pricing exercise (knowing how much you are selling your product is important in a pitch).

This TV show, along with Dragons Den and others falls firmly into the reality entertainment bucket. With all the entrepreneurial buzz around sadly we deserve better than this?

However should we be appreciating the lean approach to product development? Participants brainstorm and bring a product to market within an episode. The winners land the most sales from the general public or major retailer. Pretty impressive for a two day startup?

An idea is pitched to a focus group for feedback. Of course teams totally ignore the wisdom of the customer and enevatible deliver a product only they think is brilliant.

Sure, plenty of things are handed to the teams – like a meeting with several of the largest retailers and access to top designers who can spit out a prototype overnight. How is this different to an incubator?

A Minimum Viable Product has just those features that allow the product to be deployed, and no more. The product is typically deployed to a subset of possible customers, such as early adopters that are thought to be more forgiving, more likely to give feedback, and able to grasp a product vision from an early prototype or marketing information. (Source: Wikipedia)

For more definitions and explanations check out our Startup Lingo Glossary.

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You might also enjoy:
+ The Startup Dictionary – Learning the Lingo #3
+ Learning From Other Startups – 6 Real Life Stories
+ Startup Myths – I shall not be fooled again by gurus
+ The Bootstrap Challenge – Walking the Talk

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