The Apprentice 2010: Task 11 Performance Review

Each week as contestants compete for a $250,000 job contract, get the leadership lessons you can use to succeed

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Could Liza Wisner be fired despite finally tasting victory as PM?

The 2010 edition of The Apprentice, NBC’s business reality show starring and executive produced by real estate mogul Donald Trump, features entrepreneurs and professionals competing for a $250,000 job contract with the Trump organization. Each week the contestants must complete a business task. The winners are rewarded; the losers must report to the infamous boardroom, where at least one candidate will be fired by Trump. Of the three African Americans featured on this edition of The Apprentice, only Liza Mucheru-Wisner remains. With each task of The Apprentice 2010, I will post performance reviews of the candidates, their teams and their project managers.

Read and comment on other performance reviews of The Apprentice 2010 Tasks.

Leadership Lesson: Great leaders know that tricks and slick maneuvering are not substitutes for understanding the fundamentals of a business and executing accordingly.

TASK 11: Choose, set prices and sell products on the QVC home shopping channel. The team who generates the largest profit margin wins. At the end of this task, two candidates will be fired, leaving two finalists.

Steuart Martens and Clint Robertson are pitted against and Liza and Brandy Kuetnzel, who are reunited in order to even out the teams. Clint and Liza are the project managers.

The teams must select and negotiate for one of four Isaac Mizrahi products to sell: a hand bag, leather faux calfhair belt, a ladies mother-of-pearl watch with a faux croc wristband and a heritage print scarf. The teams must also negotiate for morning and afternoon sales slots.

Clint and Steuart immediately adopt a strategy based on outmaneuvering Liza and Brandy, based on pretending they want to sell the watch (they really want the handbag), and then using the watch as bargaining chip to get the later time slot. Liza and Brandy, agreeing that the handbag, wholesale priced at about $108,would be too difficult to mark up in price, end up choosing the watch, whole priced at $30.56. Negotiations go just as Clint planned. The men give up the watch in return for the later time slot, and then announce that they’re selling the handbag. Steuart feels that he and Clint totally played Liza; Brandy agrees.

Liza and Brandy agree on a price of $69.50 for the watch. Clint decides on a price of $194.97, despite Steuart pushing for an even higher mark-up, to $250. Liza assigns Brandy the task of going on air with their QVC host to sell their watch. They are clearly at a disadvantage due to lack of rehearsal time with the earlier time slot, but manage to get through their sales session, with Brandy ultimately deciding to ignore Liza direction from the control booth. By contrast, Steuart, in his stint as on-air pitchman for the hand bag (introduced by their host as Mizrahi’s “luxury brand ambassador,” is clearly at ease, thanks to the extra rehearsal time, although he is also less than impressed with Clint’s direction.

The Result: All of Clint’s slick maneuvering and negotiating is no match for the fact that Liza has a better feel for how women shop and how much they are likely to pay for a watch or handbag. In choosing the handbag, Clint and Steuart ended up with a product both difficult to sell in high volumes and hard to markup in price, selling only 25 items for a profit of $2,174.25. By contrast, Liza and Brandy moved 77 watches for a profit of $2,998.38. Liza earns her first win as project manager, dealing Clint his first PM defeat.

Who I Would Have Fired: Steuart, because he unquestioningly endorsed nearly every aspect of Clint’s strategy. The only exception was pushing the price of the purse even higher, which would only have resulted in lower sales volume. Brandy because, once again, she contributed next to nothing to a task, doing only as she was told, and nothing more.

Trump did fire Steuart, primarily because he is less educated and experienced as a business person than Clint. His decision to fire either Liza or Brandy has been postponed as a “cliffhanger” for the next episode, but it’s hard for me to imagine how Brandy, a minimal contributor during her entire time on The Apprentice, can be kept over Liza, who won handily on this task almost single-handedly–defeating the consensus front-runner Clint to boot.

Who Will Be The Next Apprentice?:  Clint (2-0 as project manager) wins if Liza (1-1) is fired. If Brandy (1-o) is fired, as I expect her to be, it’s a toss-up. (In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Brandy voluntarily resigned.)

I’m going out on a limb–and picking Liza to upset Clint and become the first black female to be The Apprentice.

Who do you choose for your Final Two? And who will be the next apprentice and why? Leave a comment and let’s talk about it!

Read and comment on other Apprentice performance reviews.

  • Calvin J. Adolph

    I’m starting to see season 4 all over again. Liza wins to become the first black female apprentice, but this time around she agrees to share her victory with Clint (if the shoe was on the other foot, do you think Clint would share with Liza? I believe we already know the answer to that). Do you really think Trump is going to let Clint get away? By doing this he appeals to both African Americans and women (he thinks) while getting the man he wanted all along. This has the potential to receive almost the same backlash that Dancing With The Stars got when Brandy was eliminated. I’ll be watching (on hulu).

    • LOL! I think you are right Calvin…if Liza were to win, (and that’s a BIG if) I could see Trump asking her to share. Unless of course, he happened to hear about the grumblings from African-American viewers after he made that request of Randall Pinkett. At any rate, I’m pretty sure Liza is fully aware of that entire situation and has been effectively coached to give a big fat NO, if it comes down to that. I was completely impressed at Randall for being so quick on his feet and declining the offer. I’m sure a lot of folks would have been caught off guard, accepted the offer and regretted the decision later. Anyway, that was a nice nap…now let’s wake up. I’m pretty sure Liza will be fired this week and Brandy & Clint will be the final two. Brandy is the one that Trump won’t let get away.

  • Robin Vaughn

    I can’t believe Liza and Brandy are the two remaining women, but I guess the strategy of flying under the radar works as this is what both of these women did on every task (not what being an apprentice is about). Nonetheless, I am so proud as an AA woman to see Liza still standing, although I am not sold on her ability to lead. She has never aggressively taken the leadership role nor able to put forth her ideals, in this task she should have been the salesperson instead of assigning Brandy (who got acknowledged for her delivery skills and ability to sell the product). Additionally, her (Liza’s) reasoning for assigning Brandy to salesperson was shocking and disappointing – sighting the QVC demographic of a largely white viewership/shopper and thinking that Brandy being a white woman would be more able to connect to the shopper than she would be able to as a black woman (WOW). Ironically and countering Liza’s perspective, Steuart pointed out that their host was an African American woman.

  • Alfred you are killing me! LOL! Liza as the next Apprentice??

    First of all, if Liza isn’t fired this week, I will have to question whether or not you have some inside connections! LOL! Secondly, if Liza is crowned the next Apprentice, I will offer you co-ownership of my company (uh, for entertainment purposes only…don’t hold me to that) because clearly you have superior business & psychic abilities that would be priceless in any organization!

    Now as to last weeks episode…Clint & Stueart were on point with their strategy, negotiation techniques etc. Execution and preparation were also impressive. However, they reminded me of the old saying, “All dressed up with no where to go”. Everything was ripe and ready but ultimately they missed the mark and had no one to sell to. Clint went on and on about his wife’s love of handbags and how much money she had spent during their days of prosperity. Had he done his research, he would know that not many women would break the bank on a handbag from a designer who has his line showcased primarily in Target. You know…right next to the paper towels. Now that’s not a knock on Isaac Mizrahi-even he knew that his handbag was overpriced. His target market is not the same as the likes of Coach, Gucci, Michael Kors, etc. Isaac Mizrahi understands that; women understand that and it was Clint’s job to find that out.

    I wasn’t impressed with Liza either. Yes she chose the right product and priced it somewhat correctly but she really failed with the negotiations. She had absolutely no strategy and went in with no intelligence on the competition to use to her benefit. It was so obvious that he was playing her like a puppet. In addition, I was annoyed that she didn’t call Brandy on her indifference. At some point while Brandy was reciting her catch phrase for the day, “I don’t know, you’re the Project Manager.”, Liza should have displayed some leadership by saying, “That’s right, I am the PM, but you are a member of this team and it’s in your best interest to contribute and not defer to me just because its convenient and safe.” Has she said something like that, in the event of a loss at least she’d have some ammunition. Just saying, “Brandy wouldn’t help” would not be enough.

    You’re right about Brandy, she really is not impressive right now but I really believe that she is purposely flying under the radar and is smart enough to know when to do it and with whom. I don’t agree with her plan of action, but it has kept her on the show. Granted, her strategy wouldnt be as effective in the real world. In real life she would have to do more to prove her overall competence; on the show she has to demonstrate why others are more incompetent that she is on any given task. Real life-more offense, The Apprentice-more defense.

    Stueart was the right person to let go. He tried to pull the “sophisticated, cosmopolitan New Yorker” card, but that was no match for Country Boy Clint. I have to say I was impressed with Clint in the boardroom. When asked about his credentials, Trump was adequately impressed and then Clint hit him with the, “Oh but wait Mr. Trump, I wasn’t done yet. There’s more.” I was even more impressed with how they put aside their friendship and comradery and went toe to toe in an upstanding manner. No one attacked characters and it wasn’t personal. More professionals should learn from that.

    I’m sticking with my final two-Clint and Brandy. Clint will be the next Apprentice.

  • Robin Vaughn

    I can’t believe Liza and Brandy are the two remaining women, but I guess the strategy of flying under the radar works as this is what both of these women did on every task (not what being an apprentice is about). Nonetheless, I am so proud as an AA woman to see Liza still standing, although I am not sold on her ability to lead. She has never aggressively taken the leadership role nor able to put forth or sell her ideals, in this task she should have been the salesperson instead of assigning Brandy (who got acknowledged for her delivery skills and ability to sell the product). Additionally, her (Liza’s) reasoning for assigning Brandy to salesperson was shocking and disappointing – sighting the QVC demographic of a largely white viewership/shopper and believing that Brandy being a white woman would be more able to connect to the shopper than she would be able to as a black woman (WOW no confidence). Ironically and countering Liza’s perspective, Steuart pointed out that their host was an African American woman. I believe the remaining 2 will be Brandy and Clint. Brandy will beat Liza because as Trump noted when all is even (there are no losers) it comes down to the education, Brandy’s curriculum vitae list top schools undergrad UCLA and grad University of Chicago Law School, good-bye Liza.

    • Robin, I totally agree with you! Good-bye Liza… To even THINK Brandy would make a better salesperson because the QVC demo is white is CRAZY! I know the 2.5 Black show hosts on QVC must be pissed! lol Liza’s management decisions could potentially land The Trump Organization in legal hot water and I’m sure it crosses Trump’s mind. If Liza had any chance of being the Apprentice she blew it with her logic as the Trump demo is along the lines of QVC’s. Actually her logic suggests Trump should not hire her! What the hell was she thinking?

  • Alfred Edmond Jr.

    You guys never cease to surprise and amaze!

    Calvin agrees with me (kind of) on Liza becoming the first black female to win The Apprentice. I think it is entirely plausible that Liza could be asked to share the job with Clint. In fact, I can see Trump not even giving her the option and just hiring both candidates outright, leaving one or the other the option of going along with the dual hiring, or rejecting the offer.

    On the other hand, both Nichole and Robin believe that Liza will be fired next week, leaving Clint to become the next apprentice.

    Nichole, nearly all along, you and I have agreed on nearly everything but the final outcome.I just don’t believe Liza is a unimpressive as she appears to be. And while I believe Clint has outperformed every other candidate until his loss on Task 11, he is not head and shoulders over Liza (in the way Randall Pinkett was clearly superior to fellow finalist Rebecca Jarvis in terms of both performance and credentials).

    So, I’m sticking to my guns: Clint wins if Liza is fired; Liza wins if Brandy is fired. Don’t worry, Nichole. I don’t expect more than 20 percent of the equity in your company when I’m right. And a seat on your board. And an executive parking spot. See? I’m reasonable. LOL


    • Alfred, I agree-Liza is probably very impressive overall; but this competition…not so much. I’ve said before, I am impressed (and surprised) that she lasted this long, but I really think Trump likes something about her and gave her a pass a few times. Then there were the times when she just wasn’t AS bad as another contestant, so she stayed on by default. That doesn’t speak much for her abilities. I mean let’s face it, she’s been in the boardroom more than the table & chairs. Granted, most of her team had it out for her in the beginning so they were bringing her in there regardless of her contribution. Trump may have peeped that too.

      While I would agree that Liza has her talents, I don’t know that I’d put her in the same league as Clint. Clint is a CPA, real estate attorney and a developer. I assume that Liza approved of the bio that NBC has for her and although she has her Master’s and started an technology educational company, she also list aerobics instructing & bellydancing in her credentials. Uh, I think I would have left that out…

      Yeah, the more I think of it I am certain that Liza will be getting fired. The whole real estate angle that Clint has going for him is attractive to The Donald. So you can hang up any thoughts you have about that “executive parking spot”. LOL!

  • Quietly

    I don’t agree with you at all Alfred.  i disagree that Liza would share the prize, she has always been very vocal and aggressive (not a negative, I am just pointing that out) and therefore is out for herself, just like the other contestants on the show.  Brandy, I believe, is equal to Liza in smarts etc.  Plus she did not single-handedly win this challenge, however when Brandy was the PM , Brandy showed more presence and confidence in her decisions.  This challenge the PM did things on a shaky ground, and they won because the pitch (Brandy) and price (finalized by Liza, with Brandy setting the point and asking Liza to balance it with her opinion) lead them to win.  True others have been attacking her, but she only  adds input in the boardroom, while Brandy has participated full well in the tasks.  Sorry, but I cannot see Liza winning…having a black female winner would have added spice to the apprentice winners mix, but not this season.  Best wishes to all.

  • Mara

    I sense bias in your article, without thorough logic to back up your pick.  My vote is for Clint, however Brandy has great skills- she just chose not to use them in the recent tasks.  

    • Alfred Edmond Jr.

      Bias? What do you mean? I wouldn’t be surprised if Clint won, and I still consider him the favorite. But I don’t believe Liza made it this far by accident and luck alone; I certainly believe that’s been the case for Brandy, with the exception of the one task where she successfully served as PM.

      If Clint wins, I won’t be at all surprised. But the favored candidate does not always win–that’s what upsets and underdogs are all about. A couple of years ago, the undefeated Patriots faced the New York Giants (my favorite team) in the Super Bowl–and lost, despite being perfect all season and favored to win. I’m not biased for or against anyone. But I think an upset is not only possible, but likely (unless Brandy is selected over Liza). Clint has been impressive, but far from unbeatable.

  • BaberDashery

    Ladies and Gents, I have returned.

    Alfred and Nichole, Steuart deserved to go! Really! I do not comprehend your reasoning for this decision. Please help me.

    Clint was responsible for making the decisions on this task: product selection, setting the price point, appealing to the target audience, and to assign the spokesperson.  Steuart played his role as a employee with delegated responsibilities and executed them. Steuart’s price advise wasn’t taking into consideration, thank goodness, but if it was then I would clearly say that he should have been fired based on the results. On the other hand, it was Clint who told Steuart he wanted to stay under $200 and set the price. He even made the connection of the price his wife pays for her handbags.  This reminds of me of Stephanie last week. It was the “Clint Show”! Based on the performance and outcome, Clint should have been fired. The Apprentice needs to set precedence. I was clearly disappointed by Trumps decision.

    Moreover, one of Trump’s trusted business advisors clearly pointed out how Steuart would be a great fit with the Trump Organization. Conversely, his other trusted business advisors thought Clint was a better choice.  They both started multiple businesses, while Clint may have a bit more experience, Steuart business is still operational while Clint’s business is not functioning. 

    Liza…not impressive at all. She was a wreck throughout the task but she did win as PM and I am astonished that she has remained in the contest this long. She could make the final two, since Brandy’s stock has been on the “stuttering” decline.

    At this point it is anyone’s game. However, I can see the logic behind Calvin’s point. Cater to a larger audience by selecting both Clint and Liza and increase your viewers from 4 million to whatever desired number NBC is looking to obtain.

    I selected Steuart to win, but I will select Clint at this point. His last performance wasn’t the best; additionally, in my opinion he should have been fired.  So its by default, because I just can not select any of his remaining competitors to take the winning position.

    • Welcome Back BaberDashery! Where ya been?

      I see your point but let me try to explain my logic (and perhaps Alfred’s) for choosing Stueart as the Apprentice that needed to be fired. If this were earlier in the season & just about task performance, then perhaps, the PM should take the wrap for the loss. But it was clear that this late in the game, Trump was looking at more than task performance to choose one of his final two. In addition, neither of them seemed to make any blatant errors, individually that would have caused the other to point a finger. Remember, they jointly agreed on single reason they lost the task-the purse.

      So all things being equal, it came down to the more impressive of the two, and Stuearts educational credentials and depth of experience were really no match for Clint’s. So in short, Trump made his decision this week based on the cumulative information that he has about the candidates and not this single performance.

      Oh by the way, do you really think choosing Liza for one of the final two would significantly impact viewership? I think that just having the male-female dynamic (Clint-Brandy) would be enough. I don’t know if we here on this blog are indicative of the demographic that’s watching the Apprentice weekly. Perhaps, Alfred could enlighten us on that…now I’m curious.

      • BaberDashery

        Nichole, thanks for your response and for clarifying your reasoning. BTW, I had final exams which required a lot of studying.

        I believe that Steuart’s record as PM was flawless and Clint was delivered his first defeat last week via Liza (PM) and Brandy. At the beginning of each episode Trump clearly informs the contestants what he will judge them on. I just don’t remember education and experience mentioned as a criterion during the task. In previous seasons the aforementioned was taking into consideration via the Interview Process.

        As far as viewers are concerned, I just read an article (can’t remember the source) that mentioned the show currently has approximately 4 million viewers which is a significant drop from the first season of nearly 28 million viewers.  I am not sure if selecting both Liza and Clint would have a dramatic impact on the viewers. I do know that there has yet to be an African-American woman as the Apprentice and that could be used to market the show to more African-Americans. I would love to hear what Alfred thinks.

        • Alfred Edmond Jr.

          Would Liza in the finals help viewership of The Apprentice among African Americans? Hmmm. Well, it couldn’t hurt. Certainly, a Clint v. Brandy final would have far less chance of doing so. But the answer really hinges on how much African Americans care about what happens to Liza.

          Simply put, Liza being black may not be enough to move the needle. To boost black viewership, Liza has to be either loved/admired (Kwame Jackson, Randal Pinkett) or controversial (Omarosa). Outside of those three, most people can’t even name more than one or two of the other black ex-candidates of The Apprentice.

          So again, Liza in the finals wouldn’t hurt black viewership, but I’m not sure how much it will help. The Apprentice will never see the ratings it enjoyed in Season 1, when the show, and reality shows in general, was an exciting new concept. However, with some adjustments, it could get back to the 8-10 million viewer range it had prior to the introduction of the celebrity editions of the show.

  • Wasn’t Born Yesterday

    Mara: “Brandy has great skills- she just chose not to use them in the recent tasks”

    This is not an infinite season of tasks. It is only 11 weeks long. Brandy has done nothing for the last 3 tasks and, frankly, didn’t do much before that. That means for the final 1/4-1/3 of the season she has played the hide-then-blame game. Fortunately for her, in each case her team manager has saved the team so she did not face firing.

    Stating that someone has skills but chose not to use them in such a short competition begs the question of how intelligent she really is.

  • Clint will be the Apprentice and Brandy will have a ‘cameo gig’ in The Trump Organization!

  • Liza is the underdog and I love rooting for underdogs however, she is not confident in herself. All along she disagreed with people and her beliefs would have made her team win but most of the time she did not tell her team what she thought all she did was sit in the backround and get by and then stick up for herself in the boardroom well. She is smart but not a leader. Brandy is a good sales rep however she is very quite and I feel would not be a great leader either. Her reputation however is better than Liza’s making me feel like she will be final two. Also, in the preview for next week it shows Liza golfing and brandy cheering her on. Liza is in a golfing suit as if she was working for Brandy. Clint with his honesty, hard work, and consistent brains and ideas of greatness will be the next Apprentice. 



    • Josephine, I made those very points in a tweet earlier. Brandy has an effective ‘quiet thunder’ I admire, while Clint will always dig deep for results!

  • Geena G

    @ Nichole: “she also list aerobics instructing & belly dancing in her credentials”. Actually these skills translate into being fit and having a social life outside of work. Employers value employees that are FIT, hence lower health care costs.

    • Geena I think that’s a stretch. When you are listing your credentials, typically education and corporate/professional experience is what you focus on. If on one’s resume or CV they choose to list hobbies or interests, perhaps belly dancing and aerobics instructing may be appropriate. I’m pretty sure that Donald Trump or any other employer on that level have no interest in those two items for the position that she is seeking.

  • Geena G

    I think D. Trump likes Lisa W. ’cause she’s a pretty good golf. Did you see her swing that club!

  • Patsy Rander

    I was schoked to see how Trump changed the rules just to make sure that Liza won’t win. It was blatant discrimination and Trump would have never did the same thing to a Jewish woman, for instance. It seems that Trump is determined to not make win any so-called visible female minorities on his show which is disgusting in my book. If Randal Pinkett didn’t win, I think that the African-American community should boycott the show by not participating in it. I am deceived to see that Liza accepted to be involved in the end to help win one of the girls who belitlled her during the competition and is still doing it. I would never be involved with people who disrespect me. Liza cried when she got fired. I would not cry in front of national TV either. I would not give them this honor. I wonder sometimes if some of our people are masochistic and have a lack of respect for themselves. I am glad to see that the African American male (who was on the Apprentice this year) didn’t get involved at the end of the show to make win one of the two finalists. He undertands the rules of the game and he’s not naive. He won’t act like a puppet. For too long, historically speaking the WASP take our ideas, make a lot of money out of it and don’t give us any credit (one of the best example that I can give is Philip Emeagwali, the father of the internet. They stole his idea and now Bill Gates is the wealthiest man in the world. They did this during slavery with the patents that the slaves could not get and they are still doing now with more modern ways). This has to stop!

    • Patsy, you are entitled to your opinion. Its always good to see wide-ranging views and I personally thank you for expressing yours, though I may not neccessiarily agree.

    • Patsy, I agree that there are many inequities that we can point as it pertains race, but we have to be careful not to make that our calling card. While it is true that there are many things over the centuries that people of color have had taken from us unfairly, Liza’s apprenticeship is not one of them. Liza remained on the show longer than most of the other contestants and had Trump been interested in discriminating against her or any other contestant, he wouldn’t have to wait for her to become one of the final four to do it.

      As an African-American I certainly believe in fighting for equality; but as a business owner I recognize that change is rarely made by stating things like “This has to stop!” . My fight is primarily economic and the best way for me to see change is create my options-not complain about who took them away from me. We have become masters of stating the obvious…but many of us do very little to change it. I would hope that this show does more than provide ammunition for people who insist on seeing us as the victim (not accusing you of that); I would hope that we look at a group -of ambitious individuals, especially the Black contestants, and derive some ideas & perhaps motivation from it.

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