ABC's Shark Tank

Did anyone else watch this yesterday? Shark Tank is a new reality show from Mark Burnett based on a Japanese concept known as Dragon’s Den in the UK. Would-be entreprenuers pitch their business ideas to a team of investors, who debate whether or not they wish to invest their money into a share of the business.

The series reminds me a lot of American Inventor, only with businesses instead of inventions (though some of the businesses revolve around inventions). And, not surprisingly, some of the stuff is pretty bizarre: one man couldn’t even finish his prospect because the investors found it so ridiculous- something about Bluetooth and surgery or something. And a big debate on a spin-off of an already-successful moving business was amusing because of the names of the businesses, so we had a bunch of serious investors repeatedly asking for a share of the already-successful College Hunks Hauling Junk alongside the new College Foxes Packing Boxes. Silly stuff, but captivating, especially in the summer doldrums.

After the prospective business owners hawk thier proposal to the panel, if a deal is made (pieman, baby elephant medicine dropper lady) does the show follow the progress of the venture, or is it over and done once they walk out the door?

Dirty pool airing it during Shark Week if you ask me. As soon as I realized there were no sharks, I was out of there.


If it’s anything like the UK version (Dragons’ Den) there will be a recap episode at the end where they report on the progress of the deals.

I saw the first episode (the Bluetooth implant guy was nuts) and liked it a lot. It maintains the appeal of the UK version without succumbing to the American reality series tendency to fill it with Drama! and Overcoming Adversity!!!111.

Apparently, the British version has had a few “where are they now” specials, but it appears that the sharks just go on to their next possible investment on the show.

There was a wee bit of that with the little introductory films before each contestant, but for an American show it was quite understated.

I rather liked this first episode and, yes, the bluetooth guy was about as whappy as one could be without needing a serious amount of medication and/or therapy. “Are you fed up of buying cheap Bluetooth headsets that are a bit awkward to use and sometimes fall out your ear? Have I got the thing for you! For a mere $100,000 we’ll get a highly trained surgeon to implant one in your skull.”

While I agree Bluetooth Man was out there, I would bet that there are 1000’s of yuppie-techno-hipsters that would line up for the operation, and pay thru the nose for the surgery; that said, I still dont think it would be a money making venture, but I am convinced that there would be many who would wear it as a uber-geek badge of honor…

I thought it was pretty good! It definitely wasn’t as flashy or overblown as I had feared. The bluetooth guy was wacky. I also don’t see College Foxes Packing Boxes becoming anywhere near as successful as College Hunks Hauling Junk. (Just wanted to say those names again!) I certainly wouldn’t want non-muscular skinny college girls packing & carrying any of *my *heavy furniture or breakable electronics down a flight of stairs.

Oh, and did anyone else chuckle at the name of the first guy’s business, “Mr. Tod’s Pie Shop”? Hee. Didn’t really make me want to eat there… Just glad they were dessert pies & not meat pies!

I was more amused by the redundant and unoriginal name of Mr. Tod’s Pie Shop’s mascot, “Mr. Pie Man.”

I totally agreed with one investor’s take on it - you’ll have a bunch of skeevy guys in trenchcoats calling back to move once a month. And I’m guessing they don’t have much luck hiring actual “foxes” - women as cute as that can get other jobs based on their looks that don’t involve heavy lifting.

Just chiming in to add that Mr. Tod’s Pie Shop is within walking distance of where I live. His pies are FANTASTIC. I myself make darn great piecrust, and Mr. Tod’s is the closest I’ve found to genuine homemade. We once had a lengthly discussion of the finer points. He uses imported butter as the shortening.

But I missed the show. From a summary I read, I gather that they made him an offer, but it’s in return for 50% ownership? WTF???

Yep, pretty much. Why WTF???

Between the show title and the OP’s opening sentence about this being the newest reality show, I thought someone had finally put Dave Barry’s proposed show “Watch a Shark Eat a Celebrity” on the air. Reality can be so disappointing.

I’ve watched a few episodes of the Canadian version of Dragon’s Den. It’s really quite interesting to see how the investors operate, and all of the tell-tale cues they’re waiting on. Invariably, they’ll ask a question or two that will expose the inventor for a rank amateur who doesn’t understand anything about how business investment really works. Then they’re out. There was one kid who really knew his stuff, understood the technology he was developing, and better yet, understood that he’d need to give up a huge share to get the type of money he needed to keep going. He’d invented a sort of motorcycle segway thing: sit on it, lean forward, and it goes. Kind of a flashy motorcycle with just one wheel. I think they left him with just 20% or 30% of the company, but they coughed up serious change for him.

That was 1.2 million CDN for 20% of his company. He originally was willing to part with 15% and they offered 30%. He was able to talk them down to 20%. I think he got the best deal I have ever seen on the show. His product was the UNO.

Although I like the concept of it being available (Cyberpunk, here we come!), it would really suck if they came out with Bluetooth 2.0 and you had obsolete hardware implanted in your skull.

Well, I didn’t know the entire premise of it before I read the account, and didn’t realize it was a contest to get investors. It just seems to me that if you give up half or more of your own company to others, you’ve lost your control. In Mr. Tod’s case, the great thing about the product is the things he chooses to do. If he gives up control, I’d fear he’d be forced into making an inferior product.

OK, that’s a cool invention, and nice job for an 18-year-old who had yet to attend engineering school. But I have to say, the rider looked awfully silly.

As for the implanted Bluetooth headset, the problem I had with it was the idea of sticking something into it to recharge. I would have gone for some sort of induction charger, but that introduces other issues. And the whole thing would need so much testing to get FDA approval that it would take millions in investment.

That all depends on the investors, of course. With giving up majority control, he’s got bosses to report to. It remains to be seen if they’ll be an added value to the business rather than a detriment.

Did anyone else watch last night’s episode? I thought it was a drop from the first. The “crazy idea we’ll berate for a while” wasn’t nearly as entertaining as surgically implanted Bluetooth.

I can’t believe the seatbelt/car starter guy’s patent is worth anything at all to the major car companies. They’ve had the technology to detect whether the drivers seat is buckled or not for decades - immobilizing the car if it isn’t is just a software change. The patent has to be just for the aftermarket wireless aspect of it. He should have taken that 1 mil and run fast and far.