Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Donald Trump on Jews: "They love this show!"

Donald Trump and Jim Kerr discussed The Apprentice, Tuesday morning on New York's Q104.3.

Mr. Trump on Lee Bienstock:
"I was impressed with Lee. He showed great loyalty. I love loyalty. He showed great loyalty. Lee went to Cornell. He was a great student. He's a very smart guy."

Mr. Trump on Orthodox Apprentice mania:
"It's very interesting. The Jewish community is calling me. I have had more comments on Lee because he's so observant and everything else and they love this show. I have a lawyer who if it's a Jewish holiday, you can forget it. He's home. I think that's great. They love this show! Because we had two. We had Lee and we had somebody else. And they love this show. And I've heard so much about it and its terrific."

Speaking of that "somebody else", Daniel Brody has some public appearances lined up:

  • Last week Dan was the guest speaker at the second annual Sy Syms School of Business Stock Market Trivia Competition.
  • After the Passover holiday, Daniel will judge children's community service projects in a game called "MitzvApprentice", at the JCC-Y of Rockland's Mitzvah Day.

Orthodox Apprentice: Episode 8 - Lee vs Leslie

Tonight's second episode of The Apprentice opened with Gold Rush returning to the suite. Charmaine Hunt told Lee that, for the first time, he showed his age in the boardroom. She was upset over Lee's strong loyalty to his friend, Lenny, and most importantly that Lee singled her out as the candidate whom Trump should fire. "I like to stick up for principle," Lee answered. Lee Bienstock is the remaining Orthodox Apprentice candidate, since Dan Brody was fired in Episode 5.

Prior to the start of the 7-Eleven P'EatZZa Sandwich task, Trump asked for a volunteer from Synergy to switch teams. Michael Laungani volunteered since he wasn't getting along with his teammates. Lee immediately embraceed Michael and welcomed him to the team. It was a wise strategic move since Lee just lost his only close ally with the previous task.

Although Leslie Bourgeois was the project manager, it appeared that Lee took the lead. In the evening (October 19, Motzei Yom Tov Sukkot), Lee visited the 7-11 at 23rd Street and Park Avenue and asked the store manager to remove sandwiches from the center display case, making room for pizza sandwiches. Lee asked the night manager about sandwich pricing and brought the information back to the team, late at night. (It's possible that Lee was putting in extra long hours that night to make up for what he couldn't do earlier in the day, on Yom Tov.) The team disagreed with Lee's price recommendation and Leslie made the decision to price the product higher, against Lee's advice.

The next day - Thursday, October 20 (Chol HaMoed Sukkot) - the teams went to their stores to sell P'Eatzza Sandwiches. Lee heard a couple employees (something seemed different about that group... not your typical slurpee crew) say the price was too high. Lee told Leslie, but she declined to adjust the price. She got upset with Lee and told him to go outside. Lee found a customer who was interested in purchasing 1,000 sandwiches. Lee consulted with Leslie and then offered a price of $3 a sandwich. The customer held his ground at $2. Lee checked with Leslie again and then offered $2.50, but the buyer wouldn't budge. It was a noble effort but unfortunately nothing was gained.

Lee's strong initiative and creative thinking were very evident in this episode. Unfortunately, as expected, Gold Rush lost.

With Lee as the lone exception, the team was united with Leslie during this task so she had no choice but to bring Lee back into the boardroom with her. Lee started talking and talking and talking and wouldn't pause for even a moment. "You're out of control!" Leslie told him. We were worried that he'd talk himself into a firing. Fortunately, he was making some valid points and Trump heard him. It all came down to the pricing. Lee wanted a lower price but Leslie chose the higher price. Trump, George and Carolyn all agreed that Lee was right. And that's why, "Leslie, you're fired!"

Lee scored major points on this task. He showed initiative, intelligence and persistence. And he went for the BIG sale. Trump likes that. In the previous episode, Lee also scored points for his strong loyalty.

Gold Rush has lost four in a row, but Lee is looking better than ever.

Ironically, The Apprentice is off next week during the Passover holiday. The next episode airs on April 24.

Orthodox Apprentice: Episode 7 - LL Squad

Orthodox Apprentice candidate Lee Bienstock was front and center in both episodes of The Apprentice tonight. Although Gold Rush lost both tasks, not only did Lee survive but he thrived.

In Episode 7, Gold Rush chose a music theme for their Boys & Girls Club renovation. Project manager Lenny Veltman (otherwise known as Lenny Val) was thinking music or dance. (His teenage son is a championship ballroom dancer.) Unfortunately for Gold Rush, Lenny did not prepare for the meeting with the executives. He had no questions to ask them and no one else stepped up to the plate. Charmaine Hunt asked a question, but then she and the others went silent.

Throughout the task, it was clear that Lenny and Lee were working as one unit, with Tarek Saab, Leslie Bourgeois and Charmaine working as a separate group. Lenny and Lee went together to buy music equipment while their teammates installed a floor. On the return trip, Lee tried to direct the driver through Queens, not too far from his own neighborhood. When the executives entered the finished room, Lenny was the presenter, but Lee was filling in the blanks for him.

Synergy, led by (Arinash) Michael Laungani, spent an inordinate amount of time planning and strategizing but got a late start on their execution. In an awkward moment, Bill Rancic questioned the team about Michael's performance - during the task! As expected, Synergy won.

Prior to the boardroom, Lee drafted a "cheat sheet" and helped Lenny prepare his strategy and talking points. Lee advised Lenny what to say and what to avoid. "I'd do anything for Lenny... Lenny is my friend... I'd do anything for a friend," Lee said.

In the boardroom, Leslie, Tarek and Charmaine placed the blame on Lenny. Only Lee stuck up for Lenny and defended him to the bitter end. Lee even answered questions that were directed to Lenny, prompting Bill to ask, "Lee, are you his attorney?" Shortly thereafter, Carolyn asked Lee why he was defending Lenny. Lee answered, "I truly, honestly believe in Lenny."

It was a little strange when the resident of Lawrence, NY (median family income = $129,779) told Mr. Trump that he could relate to the Boys Club kids because he's from the inner city. But that was a minor point. [Lee grew up in Brooklyn, but Flatbush isn't quite the "inner city".]

Trump fired Lenny and told Lee that he admired his loyalty.

Lee showed us the value of true friendship. He and Lenny certainly came a long way from the Rosh HaShana incident. Clearly, Lee does not hold a grudge. Apparently, they remain good friends today - or at least business partners - as they designed these LL Squad t-shirts. We prefer these Orthodox Apprentice shirts.

From a business angle, Ace Hardware can't be too happy with the editing of this episode. They were relying on heavy exposure to their merchandise, but it didn't come through. There aren't many products they could now sell as "seen on The Apprentice," but that was the goal of their marketing plan.

Next up... Epsiode 8.