Friday, 7 January 2022

Lessons from the Apprentice. 2022 – Episode One

For me, it's gherkins.  I don't like them, but shoved under my nose (or a burger lid), I will eat them, mildly grimace, and continue eating them anyway.  

That's how I feel about The Apprentice in 2022. I have disliked it for about five series yet watched them all. I vowed to never watch it again, yet kind of missed it last year. And, within the first 'durhh, durhh, durhh's' and LorSugar's smirk of pride with his new pandemic-themed one-liners, I knew I would be handing my Thursday nights to BBC1. 

The UK is desperate for a new business programme.  In the early years you could learn something from The Apprentice and Dragon's Den, but they are now firmly in the 'light entertainment' genre.  

While it won't get 6M+ viewers, I believe an 'Apprentice-style' programme, following teams of aspirational entrepreneurs with some seed funding over a series of weeks would work.  Over the series you could watch them create ideas, breathe life into them, generate the brand, do market research, and then pitch for investment. 

Yes, I agree it's BBC2 stuff and not so much fun.  However, mentored by credible and critical expertise that help the contestants and perhaps other viewing budding entrepreneurs, it could genuinely help people 'go their own way'.  Just a thought.

I guess the BBC needed to hit hard to get the ratings for Episode One, but I think the fan favourite, ‘The marketing task', was wasted.  The result was a symphony of noise as the clash of egos shouted over each other, while scoring points on the camera to use in the boardroom. 

Both teams were poor, as they always are in the first five episodes.  There was zero influencing, negotiation, and collaboration…. I'm convinced they're edited to be this way. 

Just a sideline; if the contestants consider themselves to be the greatest emerging business brains in the country, why didn't they begin formalising ideas in the limo on the two-hour drive down to Portsmouth?  They'd already been briefed that it was 'the marketing task'. And, it was on a cruise ship. Surely, they could have nailed the concept, name and some brand ideas before reaching the Hampshire border?

So, what did we learn:

·      “No = next opportunity”.  Absolute camembert, but I rather liked it!

·         "I've got seeds, so let's grow a tree from it".  Is this the "run something up the flagpole" for the 2020’s?  If so, I'm out.

·         Don't make a logo without relevant colours or the company name

·         Don't wear a green dress to a green screen

·         One from LorSugar, and, mildly paraphrased: "The theory of advertising/marketing is presenting something to someone so that they buy from you"

My biggest takeaway was that formal business attire was back!  Wasn't it great to see the blokes in smart suits, shirts and ties and the ladies in a single-colour business attire? 

In the last twenty-one months, I can count on two hands the people I've met both in person and online that have dressed this way.  Hurrah, is it the end of the grey sweatshirts!  However, it's also worth noting that I'm outside of the 25 to 45 demographic and didn't know the meaning of 'bouji'!

And, then there were fifteen.  Adios.

Monday, 13 September 2021

How much money would our favourite fictional characters be worth in the real world?

How much money would our favourite fictional characters be worth in the real world?

We've used extracts from books and films, alongside inputting current conversion rates and historical inflation rates to work out the richest fictional characters.

Read More:

Fictional Entrepreneurs Rich List

Monday, 19 April 2021

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment Edinburgh Opens


Aaron Wallis is opening a new branch in Edinburgh to serve Scotland and the North East of England.  Opening on Tuesday 6th April, the brand will be staffed by our excellent Senior Consultant, Hannah Gateley, who is returning to her hometown.

The branch is based in the Clockwork Office in Leith.

Our Senior Recruitment Consultant, Hannah, says:

Joining Aaron Wallis just over two years ago was easily the best career decision I have ever made! I’ve learned so much about a wide variety of industries, built fantastic relationships with both clients and candidates and am part of the funniest, strangest and most supportive team. I’m now so excited to be opening our first Scottish branch in my hometown of Edinburgh so that we can dedicate more of our expertise to our clients in Scotland.

Since joining Aaron Wallis in January 2019, I’m proud to say I’ve placed over 90 candidates in sales roles that vary from entry-level telesales all the way up to sales director level. I’ve successfully partnered with companies in industries ranging from software firms, engineering, hospitality, FMCG and tech (to name a few!). Bringing our unique sales recruitment service to Scotland certainly feels like a logical next step, and in two short weeks, I’ll be opening the doors to our newest office.

Based at the bottom of Leith Walk and right next to the shore, Aaron Wallis Sales and Marketing Recruitment Edinburgh is situated in the stylish, laid back and modern Clockwise offices. This trendy spot is surrounded by fantastic coffee shops, great bars, and brilliant spots to grab some lunch. With Mimi’s Bakery just around the corner, I expect I will become quickly become a regular...thankfully, there is a gym nearby too!

While the coffee and cake are definitely a selling point, the best part of our Leith office is really the ability it gives me to meet with my clients. I take pride in understanding my client’s business, team, and long-term goals to find them their perfect candidate. We have access to large meeting rooms where I’ll be able host these initial meetings, and our location means we are central and easy to find. For clients based elsewhere in Scotland, I am always happy to arrange a meeting at their premises or via Teams or Zoom (we’re all getting quite good at virtual meetings these days!).

From this great location, I’ll also be able to support clients who need a little extra help with interviewing. Our meeting rooms can be booked for a whole day’s worth of interviews, and I’m always happy to sit in, offer advice and take the reigns wherever needed! I’ll also treat the first client to book on-premise interviews to a delicious lunch from one of the great spots nearby.

My goal is really to make Aaron Wallis the number one Scottish sales recruitment agency! I can’t wait to get started and bring our unique and outstanding service back home.

To find out more about me, click here -

To view my Linkedin Profile click here -

For any enquiries give me a call here - 0131 202 4698

Monday, 30 March 2020

Will Developed Nations Have an “Attitude Reset” Following Covid-19?

Criticism is easy…..

As a citizen of one of the richest countries on Earth, I consider myself extremely fortunate.
However, I am far from the first to consider that over the last decade or two, we have increasingly implemented our own, voluntary “social distancing”, through the myriad forms of social media we adopt.

There are many positive societal effects that these platforms deliver.  Crowd Funding and the recent minutes applause for the efforts of the NHS are unprecedented, positive outcomes that would have been impossible to choreograph in previous generations.

Currently, social platforms are playing a vital role in ensuring that everyone can maintain critical links with friends, colleagues and loved ones.  Speaking as someone who has seen no-one in person, including my kids, for ten days, I can attest to the value of that!

At the same time, it is hard to deny that they also create less desirable by-products….. The obvious, such as cyberbullying and trolling, online hate crimes and the proliferation of extremist ideologies of all types.  As well as less obvious, but equally pervasive issues, such as inculcating the necessity for instant gratification, or the requirement for constant attention, approval and feedback regarding the minutiae of daily life.  There is also the apparent increase in social anxiety and in some the sense of relative deprivation, due to the onslaught of information regarding everyone else’s apparently perfect existences…..

Online consumerism has irrevocably affected traditional retail and the human interaction it generates, as well as the economic and personal hardships that have accompanied the decline of that sector.

My social skills have certainly suffered as my default mode of interaction has become virtual….. undoubtedly I spend more time alone in willing and voluntary isolation than was never my intention, but it is the outcome nonetheless.

It has been alarming (and also liberating) to witness how quickly all the things we consider immutable and vital to our existence have dropped away in the space of a few short weeks…. Yet the Sun is still shining, the bees are buzzing and as artificial constructs are hibernating, the natural world is springing back to life.

In light of this and the devastation the current situation is wreaking upon so many, let’s hope that when this passes the entitled will feel a little less so and we can all reset our compasses in line with what really matters….. as opposed to what truly doesn’t.

Friday, 27 March 2020

How to keep your mind focused during self-isolation

If someone had told me they were self-isolating two months ago, I would have thought it was an excuse for an extended holiday!  However, today it's more common than hearing 'I'm making a cup of tea'.
It's only been a couple of weeks for my colleagues and me, but I already feel like I'm going stir crazy and miss the routine (and office banter) that we use to take for granted.
So, how can we cope better with this temporary new way of life and remain positive, with a healthy body and mind?

Structure and new routines
If you're like me, then structure and routine keep us fighting fit and mentally sharp.  So, I have continued to keep the structure in my day.  For example, I get up at the same time every day, start and finish work at the same time every day.  I shower, eat lunch, exercise, take breaks, check-in with colleagues, ring my mother and other family members at pretty much the same time every day.
I, like most, can be very distracted whilst working from home, so if I stick to a structure, I'm less likely to be eating chocolate whilst watching Netflix sprawled out on the sofa.  We can enjoy such activities of an evening and at weekends - roll on Saturday!
I've only been practising my new routine for a couple of weeks, but already it feels 'normal'.

Stay Active - keep moving - get some spring sunshine
Currently, we're being told we can spend an hour outside exercising.  For me, this is probably the most important hour of my day.  It really doesn't matter if that hour is spent walking, running, cycling but always try and make that activity outside.  Come rain, sun, hail or snow get out and get some fresh air.  For me, this is just as important for the mind as it is the body.  If for whatever reason you can't make it outside, then choose a workout at home/office.  I've reorganised the office using some light weights, chairs and desks to create a mini exercise circuit. 
There are also plenty of free exercise advice videos on YouTube.

Family, Family, Family and the dog
What a great time to spend more time together as a family.  The one benefiting the most from this period of self-isolation is the dog.  She's never had so much attention from everyone at the same time! In fact, the family has never spent so much time together!  Cooking together, eating together, games together, tv together, exercise together, family debates………………  If you're anything like me, then you'll need some time self-isolating from the family!!

Actually, we all need some space
As I'm writing this at the kitchen table, my wife's also in the kitchen on the phone to the bank, my son's asking "what's for breakfast?" whilst watching the tv too loud, and Flossie (our 17 week old puppy) is craving even more attention.  My daughter has the right idea and is locked away upstairs working at her laptop.
With everyone at home it's vitally important we find some space.  Too many people (over a prolonged period) in the same vicinity can often cause tension.  People have different needs for solitude and communication around this is the key to a happy home! 
Take breaks from each other, move to different areas around the house, be understanding, walk around the garden, pull up some weeds, do whatever's required to grab some precious time alone! 

Morning meditation
For many, finding time to meditate can be difficult.  Why not use this period of self-isolation to find time? Build it into the structure of your day - get up 10 minutes earlier, it's a great way to start your day.  I use Headspace and would recommend it to anyone new to meditation.

Turn the flaming news channel off!
When this all started, I found myself obsessed with every news article.  All people talked about was what they'd read or listened to.  Then everyone starts speculating, catastrophising and before you know it, it takes over your whole life.  Of course, it's essential to keep up to date with the latest news, but surely Boris @5 and the News at 10 is enough!!

Positive thoughts bring positive outcomes
Naturally, we're all experiencing difficult and worrying times. Still, we must remain positive.  Negative thinking WILL NOT help the predicament we're in.  As a family, we're using this time to reset, to understand what's really important and bring us all closer together.  If we work at remaining optimistic and positive, it will become 'the norm' in all that we do and keep the body and mind healthy. 
We're all self-wired - sometimes good, sometimes not so good - let's use this time to rewire those positive connections.  From my experience, we'll all start to notice the simple, positive things that used to pass us by.