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Do You Get Inspired Watching Dragons Den?

Discussion in 'Personal Development & Productivity' started by selfemployed, Jan 29, 2018.

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  1. selfemployed

    selfemployed Super Moderator

    I love watching Dragons Den as it often inspires me when I am getting a little tired and weary even if a lot of the content is "made for TV". Having done some background it was interesting to learn that the majority of those deals agreed on TV never actually happen as the TV "deal" is not binding to both parties. However, I have to say it is much better than the US equivalent which can be very much over the top, "Shark Tank", etc.

    So, does Dragons Den inspire you?
     
  2. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    It certainly entertains me... And yes, it's very-much more grounded than the American version; I don't know if it's just a cultural thing, but the latter rather grates with me. That said, I've not been 'inspired' enough to watch the current series running in a prime-time slot - particularly as it is now against 'Call the midwife'. the schedulers haven't done it any favours in other words. - Must take a look and see if the whole series in on iPlayer.
     
  3. selfemployed

    selfemployed Super Moderator

    Unfortunately BBC2 is not prime time TV for Dragons Den any more and while I like the old guard on there I think it might be time for a rethink and a spruce up. The format can look old and tired compared to similar US programs but the Yanks can get excited about anything!

    There are some interesting ideas in this series and some decent investments - personally I like those who think outside of the box.
     
  4. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    There are a few issues with it I think - and in all honesty I get the feeling the BBC would like to bury it.

    The format itself is Japanese (originated with NHK IIRC) and is now owned by Sony, who will exert a lot of control over it. It's made household names out of individuals you'd normally never have heard of. And at its core is publicity for the participants. - The clever ones aren't necessarily the people who walk away with 'offers', they're the ones that make the most of the airtime. - Think Levi Roots and Ling Valentine.

    Mid-late evening on a Sunday - well there's the rub. It's prime-time for the main entertainment channels as people finish off their weekend's relaxing and prepping for Monday morning. And traditionally, BBC2 has always provided an 'intellectual alternative' to the popularist offering on BBC1. In that respect (I suspect they argue), Dragon's Den is a niche programme and fits the slot. But to me, that's just killing it as it's neither a 'serious enough' business programme to hold a specialist audience, nor is it strong enough as light entertainment to compete against the BBC1 offering or indeed those to be found elsewhere.

    The publicity strategy isn't helping either - I had only the vaguest notion there was a new series, I'm not sure if or when it repeats, and only three episodes are available on Iplayer.

    In terms of a spruce-up, I suspect that's been recognised and many of the programe's woes will be brought about by the fact that they are running a formula owned by somebody else, so are restricted in what they can change. - This might be why they are scheduling it so badly (regular practice when they want to kill a programme).

    At it's heart the idea isn't particularly new or original; from the 80s - STV's "The Business Game" and Granada's "Flying Start" spring to mind as having a similar basis - i.e. entrepreneur faces panel of business experts etc. I'm sure there must be other examples... Programmes like that, being heavy on cogent analysis, and well grounded in reality, tend to take on the air of a televised job interview; which isn't entertaining enough. At the other extreme you have formats like "The Apprentice" - which is really just car-crash TV.

    If you head down the American route - well, they'll then struggle to find dragons... Barnum was wrong! Bad publicity exists and is damaging - and if you take for example Hilary Devey, the show did more to expose her (in certain areas delusional) frailties and vanities, that it did her undoubted prowess as a negotiator, and astute financial analysis. - Others aren't doing well in that respect either; Touker Suleyman comes across as a creepy old poseur, Bannatyne got tagged as a bit of a spiv...

    In terms of analysis, none of that is fair, cogent or correct of course. But spicing the show up means, essentially, making it even more than a clown parade than it is at times. - One of my own clients summed it up when the 'why don't you go on Dragon's Den' question arose; "I sell [XYZ] not clown shoes!" - Was the staunch reply.

    Yes, there are some interesting ideas. But there are - for my money - too many individuals presenting that you wouldn't hand a box of burgers, some buns and a portable gas stove to, for fear they blow up the whole town and/or poison them!
     
  5. Frugaldom

    Frugaldom Member

    'The Den' is definitely entertaining and I have to admit that I do tend to do a quick search for some of the various contenders. I think there is an element within the general viewing public that likes to see such programmes and watch what they believe to be real people in real situations trying to beat the grind and make a real living or name for themselves. (Most people love an underdog success story., don't they?)

    Levi Roots is about the biggest name I can think of having succeeded out of it, even if his humble beginnings were possibly massaged to suit the programme at the time. I enjoy hearing the edited highlights of what the Dragons think, but I miss Duncan Bannatyne's take on things. :D
     
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  6. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    I enjoy Dragons Den, I think Tej Lalvani is a great new Dragon, He seems to be a very sincere man. Jenny Campbell now she takes the Dragon part to heart, shes always breathing fire :-o

    The Apprentice - We are all critics, we shout at the TV prompting the Apprentices to do this and that, and scoffing at what they do and say. However, there is a bigger picture, and recording the show - they are filming for weeks and long hours of the day, the producers edit the filming to suit TV. I have enjoyed some chat with Claude Littner and Bianca Miller Cole through social media over the years, and they have both said, the filming is trimmed down to fit into a 1 hour show. Its entertaining anyway, and also if you watch it enough - you can pick up little bits of know how from Claude and Karren in their ongoing comments.

    My TV watching is just about made up of programmes you can learn something from.

    Hotel Inspector, Gordon Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue, all programmes showing where people are going wrong and how to turn things round if you step up.
     
  7. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    ...Of course it's edited Scott. As a rule of thumb, for any programme, you'll shoot a minimum of ten minutes footage for every one that makes the cut; often very much more! And it's absolutely the producer's job to cut the material into a pre-defined narrative. For me, the set-ups are just far too obvious though, as is the 'plot' itself. - I do think the individuals who take part must be (at best) incredibly naive, or such cynics and hungry for publicity that they don't mind playing the clown.
     
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  8. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    There is probably a mix there Matt, naive, cynical and clown, although, you have to give some of them their place, I have followed Bianca Miller since she was on The Apprentice, I think winning The apprentice would have actually held Bianca back. she is doing Brilliantly herself and with her husband. They brought out a book near the end of last year, I am reading it just now. its a great book. #SelfMade #TheDefinitiveGuideto BusinessSuccess.
     
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  9. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    It's about self-publicism certainly... And that takes some degree of Barnumite mentality.

    Bianca Millar... Hmmm... My problem with her is that she is, essentially, the product. In that respect she may be doing 'lots of business', but I'm struggling to see any substance; and that's true of many people in that field. - Take the time to look up what Ms Bianca Charli Francis Miller, the 29-year old who dares to be writing a "definitive" guide to business success has 'out there' in her two active companies... They're shells of course (nothing wrong with that) probably there to protect her IP - which is absolutely fine. - But what I see there is evidence of a young, self-employed lady working within the gig economy as, basically, a self-publicist.

    And yes, she's probably doing well-enough at it. No doubt paying the bills and vying for the next big gig... But definitive guide to business success? I may have to refer that to Ms Dunbar (Karen of that Ilk). - Her website, incidentally (Bianca's that is) is not only illegal (can you tell me what business entity it represents?) but took 15 seconds to load over a 40Mb connection... Both rookie errors.

    - I'd suggest that legal compliance should be something a business expert knows about. Similarly, anyone properly trained in multimedia construction (a subject I used to teach) would understand the importance of loading speeds; certainly anyone working in advertising and publicity would know how important it is... And you'd think she'd have the sense (being a style as well as business guru) to have her videos shot by someone who can actually light and edit... And maybe even have the sense to shut off the 'suggested videos' and the end of those she's embedded.

    I bear the girl no ill-will; and I'm not really having a pop at her... She's just another traveler on the bus - trading in magic beans I'm afraid - but she's more chancer than rogue, and everybody needs to eat. But what she lacks is authenticity; claiming to be this high flying, high ticket, top-of-the range young executive; but still making schoolkid errors. - The danger is that she, in her hubris, causes some one of her clients to make a mistake that costs them dear...

    That story you posted the other night... About the guy that didn't have a waste transfer licence; an error that cost him £5K, his vehicle, and cost his client £2K! Rhetorically, how would you react if someone like that had a book out claiming to be the definitive guide to landscape gardening?
     
  10. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    Editing of these programs is so predictable as are the different "characters" we see - the bossy one, the quiet clever one, the "snake oil" salesman (to coin your phrase @Matt Quinn lol) the sob story and the one who has come from a difficult background to give you some examples. We all like an under dog, we all instantly have our favourites and the development of the contestants characters is also very predictable - the loud one will have moments of sad reflection, the quiet one will show a steely nerve, etc etc.

    Winning these shows can be a drag on a persons career - not all will get along with Alan Sugar away from the show and having a domineering businessman like Alan Sugar looking down on you must be tough. These are people often prepared to listen to their mentor and then still do it their own way - to place them in a straight jacket actually diminishes the characteristics than shone brightly so they could win the show. The problem is that these types of programs are not "sexy" in their natural settings but these are dramas played out on TV for the masses - masses of makeup for all contestants and often wide awake suits :)
     
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  11. Needhelp

    Needhelp Member

    Sometimes I get bored by the same old games played by the Dragons - but every now and again I see a business idea and think, wow, that is good, and that inspires me. @Matt Quinn seems to have a point with the BBC appearing to be winding down the series by putting it on BBC2 and at 2 week intervals if I am not mistaken. Maybe Sky or another TV company will take it on?
     
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  12. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    Having never met Alan Sugar Mark, I don't know if he's domineering, and I don't even know how much of a direct hand he takes in his 'investments'. What I do see - especially on his rare after-show appearances - is a man squirming slightly at his own performance. So often, what you see on TV is people playing a part.

    Bear in mind that he invests time in the show, and in that sense profits both in PR terms and earnings - I suspect he comes out ahead on the deal. And you're quite right about the 'formula' used to develop the narrative through the series. Many of the 'performances' really grate on me.

    Let me go back, for a moment to the Bianca Miller example...

    I'm going to predict that in 5-10 years time, the by then nearly-40 year old Bianca will be on TV crying into her beer about the bad man she married and what a terrible time she had and how it isn't her fault she's a bankrupt and possibly left with a couple of carefully-styled doe-eyed waifs in tow...

    Read this...

    http://the-blc-group.co.uk/byrons-bio/

    Before commenting further, I'd like to remind the refined ladies and gentlemen of this esteemed establishment of a case, won in 1977 by one John Mortimer QC (author of 'Rumpole of the Bailey') and Virgin records, in which it was established that the word "bollocks" is not an obscenity...

    And I'm afraid Byron's Bio - and business background - is a great steaming pile of particularly rancid old bollocks; which set me digging just a little further.

    It emerges - with a little deskwork - that Byron Cole has set up multiple limited companies which then seek and obtain (relatively small amounts of) credit. These companies are then collapsed in on themselves. His companies owe just under £200K most of which has to be written off.

    "BLC Group"? - 10312789 Blc Group Limited seems to have nothing to do with either of them; based at a accommodation address in Hemel Hempstead, it's roughly £40K down at the moment. - A dissolved version of the name, 09476906, seems to be nothing to do with them either.

    There is a Blc Global Group Ltd - 10692504 - relatively newly incorporated, no information available other than it seems to belong to someone else again...

    So, again I'm going to call 'BS' on Byron's "The BLC Group" - I can find no evidence that it actually exists...

    "Quint Solutions" (08719104) is another that Byron claims an interest in... He's not a Director nor, it would appear, a shareholder. Although, I'm not sure I'd want to be either! It owes an awful lot of money!

    Bianca seems to be heading down a similar route... The company that carries her own name (which should really be dormant if its just protecting IP and nothing else) is an irrelevant £1300 down, whilst Be Styled Ltd is circa 18.5K down; which is about the point at which Byron usually folds his houses of cards and walks away. - No worries though; they have another couple of 'names' waiting in the wings...

    A - painfully familiar - pattern emerges here.

    And this, Scott, is the danger of paying too much attention to self-appointed 'business gurus' and self-aggrandising self-publicists... Often - far too often - a bit of light-grilling shows them up as specialist tailors to unwitting nudist emperors. All I've done this morning are the basic desk-checks I'd make if I was asked to consider someone as a contributor to a programme. And I'm really disappointed to find what I have by just scratching gently at the gilt coating here.

    Having been basically self-employed since 1986, I've seen an awful lot of this sort of thing go in and out with the tide. Don't get me wrong - I'm not averse to embracing credible, rational and logical business processes. But I'm very wary of 'magic bean' type 'by rote' solutions (and even the abuse of legitimate systems by the injelitant) - and particularly wary of the 'fake it 'till you make it' brigade'.
     
  13. MarkB

    MarkB Administrator Staff Member

    To me the whole concept of Dragon's Den revolves around inspiration - the idea that the "little person" can still make it big with a good idea, plenty of drive and funding.

    I was a little disappointed a few years ago when I read that the vast majority of deals agreed on the show fall apart during the due diligence process - with agreements non-binding for all parties. I used to think that part of the concept was the idea that the Dragons were taking a chance - but in reality this was never going to happen.
     
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  14. Tog Porter

    Tog Porter Ayrshire Web Design Staff Member

    Dragons Den is entertaining, but everything has to be taken with a pinch of salt. It is all so heavily stage managed and what happens on TV stays on TV (no binding agreements are made there). If an agreement is made on air, what follows is a massive amount of research and due diligence by the relevant dragons and their teams, and quite rightly so, since nobody could really expect them to part with money on the basis of a short "pitch" and minimal Q&A session.

    Having said that, I rarely miss the show, or indeed the Apprentice :)
     
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  15. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    It's fair enough. ...Basic business sense and sanity dictates that you don't enter into any contract without due diligence and/or clear and acceptable T&Cs. I suspect examples like the one above will be surprisingly common. And it might even be the case that the show's producers 'throw in a couple of spivs' to provide a degree of jeopardy/comic effect.
     
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  16. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for your feedback MattQ

    I understand what you are saying, its certainly food for thought mmm :-/

    On that note - If someone is constantly going into the red with Businesses, should they not be stopped from starting further businesses through Regulators? Surely money due to suppliers or whatever cant repeatedly be written off? In England they have bailiffs (Cant Pay we'll Take It Away).
     
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  17. Businessman

    Businessman Member

    Well, the thing is, they're (ab)using limited companies, which are legal entities in their own right... When a limited company goes bust the only thing the directors are liable for is the few quid they put into it, and any loans they personally have stood as guarantor for.

    Yes, ultimately and in theory there are regulators, and serious misconduct can see an individual banned from being a director. But that doesn't stop the dodgy ones. And the pattern I see in this case is of them folding owing relatively small amounts that, ultimately, won't get pursued because - well what is there to pursue?

    Take a wee look at this programme on iplayer

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m5wdd

    Now, one of them guys - Malcolm Scott - is a former neighbour of mine; used to own the local 'mansion', ran around in an Aston with his Savile Row jacket and his snakeskin shoes... He approached me to make programmes for him a few times, and I turned him down flat, because I could see the sort of company he kept, who he 'cultivated' to be in awe of him and who was hanging onto his coat tails...

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/...gled_tale_of_the_bankrupt_Tory_tycoon/?ref=ar

    Dig into that story Scott - there's quite a few articles out there... It's almost comical.

    Just for gits and shiggles, lookee here... https://www.duedil.com/company/gb/NI028421/bs-1002-limited/directors

    Appropriate name for a company run by Malcolm... BS I mean!

    He's one of the most spectacular examples... But the likes of Bianca are ten-a-penny, and I could recount half a dozen tales of where I've run into low level chancers over the years. ...In my experience, when somebody's giving it the 'big I am', playing it large they're often full of excréments d'un taureau! And that's especially true of those who try to set themselves up as 'business gurus' etc.

    I suspect both Alan Sugar and the dragons are only-too 'tuned in' to these types... As will be the shows' producers.
     
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  18. Needhelp

    Needhelp Member

    Hi @Scott Kinnear

    The main issue with controlling those who regularly set-up companies, build up debts and walk away is the fact that the company is a legal entity in its own right. So, unless a director has given a personal guarantee for the debts of a limited company they can simply walk away and start again. However, eventually the stigma of being involved with unsuccessful companies will catch up with these individuals - the internet is great for feedback (although all you read should not be taken as gospel) and a starting point for your due dilligence :)
     
  19. Needhelp

    Needhelp Member

    Any examples of big success stories from Dragons Den? Or even ideas they turned down which went on to be very successful?
     
  20. Scott Kinnear

    Scott Kinnear Super Moderator Staff Member

    Wooow how did I miss that BBC documentary... Jeez

    No wonder Britain is struggling, all these dodgers not paying their way.