Shark fighting & Dragon slaying on TV

Reality TV – it’s just another name for contests being broadcasted on screen. If there is one reality TV show that I would sign up for, it would be Amazing Race (not the Asian version which doesn’t seem to have the budget to go anywhere truly exciting). Given the amount of posts on this blog about travel, is that hardly surprising?

Another TV show that I’m entirely smitten with is Dragons’ Den which I first watched while in the UK. The US version, Shark Tank, is being broadcasted in Singapore on BBC Knowledge. Both versions feature entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to venture capitalists (known as Dragons/Sharks, as if the predatory imagery isn’t obvious enough) in the hope of securing investment. Bad business ideas get rejected pretty quickly. Sometimes, a very good business idea results in cutthroat competition between the potential investors. It’s absolutely fascinating and at times, funny. Plus, it keeps my mind busy on learning how to do pitches.

I wonder whether these investors do their due diligence of the contestants, even though the investment sum is just a drop in the ocean for these big tycoons. And how many deals actually gets followed through? Mark Cuban, a Forbes Billionaire, one of the Sharks on Shark Tank, recently posted some tidbits on what goes on during the show:

1.  Yes it is our own money that we invest in the deals.

2. We know absolutely nothing other than the name of the entrepreneur when they walk into the Shark Tank. Which is exactly why you see us all start taking notes the minute they start talking  and telling us what they are looking for.

3. We do not have access to computers. So we can not do a search or get any other information about the company or industry. Every thing we know or ask comes off the top of our heads.

4. We don’t get to see the tv packages that you see on the show until the show airs. I personally never watch any advance copies of the show. I see it for the first time when it airs on ABC. It makes the tweets more off the cuff.

5. The pitches that you see are just as we see them.  The entrepreneurs don’t get any do overs. If they screw up , they screw up and the show must go on. Some have freaked out, and we try to calm them and get them back on track.

6. The pitches and the Q&A can go on for anywhere from 20 minutes for a deal everyone hates to more than an hour for a deal everyone is competing for.  The producers then cut it down to what you see on air

7. The Sharks like each other away from Shark Tank, but when we are competing for deals, we are really competing. We get mad at each other. None of us like to lose deals to the others.

8. The pressure in the SharkTank is off the charts. The Sharks feel it. The entrepreneurs feel it and sometimes get caught up in it. That sometimes leads  the entrepreneurs to “embellish”  details of their business. This is why we do due diligence after the show.  It can sometimes be  very, very difficult for the entrepreneurs to not get caught up in trying to get a deal. Its our job to catch any mis statements when we do our drill downs after the show.

9.  Yes Kevin is always exactly the way he is on the show.

10. We all absolutely love doing the show

Don’t know who “Kevin” is? Watch the programme to find out. In real life, I’m sure we would have met a few “Kevins”.
Read more at Mark Cuban’s blog.

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