Gender binary stalks the Apprentice

Well: its pop culture and so, as Jon Snow might once have suggested, here’s some pop cul.tural thoughts. “Just a little exercise”. No more.

We have four candidates left, two of, three of, seem to fit the gender binary closely and one of whom crosses proudly.

The three fitters are Jim (male sales guy), Tom (male geek/inventor) and Helen (female organiser).

Then there’s Susan, who seems to defy absolute definition.

Jim and Tom both fit established typologies: the former is prepared to say anything, do anything in order to win a sale. He is bottom of my list, because i know so many Jim’s. Sure, they’re charming…but at the end, they add no more, no less to business than other alpha sales types.

Tom is a possible third choice. He is quirky, inventive and likely either to come up with a wholly new perspective – or turn out to be a complete waste of space. My question is not so much whether Lord Sugar needs him, as to whether he can gain much/at all from working with Lord Sugar. I can see the experience as likely to be both terrifying and draining for Tom – and therefore not satisfying for either.

In second place, despite what i said earlier on twitter, i would put Helen. She is the archetypal PA with capability to step upwards into the MD role. She is organised, formidable, capable and yet…she is another type i have seen many of.

That takes nothing away from her: simply suggests that she is a corporate person of a sort that many women seem very suited to become.

But is that a “business partner”? Er, no.

Put Jim into place and he will go off and sell furiously anything Lord S proposes, but bring nothing much to the pot. Put Tom in there and Lord S might or might not have just bought a great new idea. Tom is all or nothing. Helen…one day heading up a major FTSE 500 coompany…is very believable. But is that entrepreneurship?

Actually, no.

Whereas Susan has a vision that she has already started to emboss upon the world. She may be right. She may be wrong. But she hass energy, determination, charisma and more beside.

Is she a good choice for Lord S? Not sure yet…but she feels like someone who will either crash or burn, either turn into mega-bankruptcy or a new stock market listed enterprise.

My predictions, at this early hour, then?

The one most likely to blag his way in, Jim.

One most likely to impress for clear-headed fortitude, Helen – for which i think she is a likely favourite.

But if it really, really is about picking an entrepreneur who crosses all the boundaries: Susan.



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