Dragons’ Den Series 6 ends

Monday nights have taken a dive from tonight as the sixth series of Dragons’ Den came to an end on BBC2.

The series makes a fascinating insight into the reasons behind making a business investment, and I’m sure those that with genes that programme them to be “employees” rather than “employers” must watch in disbelief each week (if they watch) as so many deserving applicants are turned out of the Den to the words “I’m out”. One example was the inspired, but misguided, effort by one father and son pairing to gain investment in the form of sponsorship for the lad’s motor racing career. While they spoke a good deal, and the initiated not having to place their own cash at risk would probably have wanted to jump at the deal, which promised the investor a sizeable cut of the driver’s future earnings (and gave examples of drivers like Schumacher and Hamilton who have risen to make millions per year), the wily Dragons saw the fundamental flaw in the plan which would have sucked them into further, huge investments in subsequent years in order to make it to that final promised return, IF the lad has fulfilled his championship promise. A look at the BBC’s Dragons’ Den web site comment area showed that many of those offering negative comments on this deal just didn’t get the idea, and couldn’t (and probably never will) comprehend the fundamental basics of a real business investment.

While I’ve been watching Dragons’ Den since series 1, I’d still only claim a basic understanding of their thought processes. I’m getting better, and probably get 90% right when predicting the outcome, but that remaining 10% can still be something of a mystery. I do know where I go wrong in some cases, and that’s when I let myself be ruled by personal bias rather than business logic. For example, just like some of the Dragons’ who pop the phrase “I’m out” almost instantly of someone bring in a proposition that is alien to them, or they object to on ethical grounds, I do the same if something has anything to do with the curse of Celebrity, or Designer Labels. Involvement in either of these areas would make me lose sleep at night, as I consider both to be fundamentally evil, ripping money off people by selling them impossible dreams that only a literal handful of the millions it cons.

Attention will have to shift to Tuesday nights now, and the Abysmal American Inventor series we’re getting on Five now. This is so dreadful it makes compulsive viewing – and is probably a pretty good definition of “car crash TV”. You just keep watching it to see when the disaster will happen.

American Inventor airs over the period of an hour, but the programme could easily be halved in duration if they made it serious. I don’t want to home in any of the individual offerings or I’ll be typing all night, but the show could use the time saved to show us what happened at the exit from the studio – where the men in white coats should be waiting to collect some of the inventors, slip them into jackets with no holes at the ends of their sleeves, and deposit them in rooms with nice, soft, padded wall. They should also stop wasting time with folk who come along with daft ideas, and can provide no other justification for winning the $1 million than that they are broke, are ill, have ill relatives, are dying, or something similar. This reduces it to little more than embarrassing begging. While everyone should have a chance, and – believe it or not I would fight for everyone to have that chance – that right comes with the responsibility of coming along with an invention that is at least partially serious, and that means, for example, not a stick that you insist on calling a wand, and try and convince the judges that they can defend themselves from wild animals with.

It’s a shame there’s so much rubbish in American Inventor. Without it, it would make a pretty good show, instead of something to watch each week for no other reason to see how dire it can be.

The first series managed to end on a serious note, with a device for automatically extiguish Christmas tree fires – I’m not going to go hunting to find out how the current series will end, and can only hope that it manages to come up with something equally worthy, and not a stick, or a song, or…

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