After every Shark Tank TV episode, I give Sharky Awards to the best entrepreneur presenters. Tonite was not the typical Shark Tank episode, and so I will not be following my normal practice. Why?
First, there was no entrepreneur worthy of a “Sharky Award” tonite. Btw, this is the first episode ever where no awards were given. A quick rundown……
Steve Gadlin from “I want to draw a cat for you” (yes, that’s the company name) was very creative but a typical techie. He draws stick figures of cats and puts them on his website. Somehow he convinced Mark Cuban to give him $25K for 33% of his company. This was the “gag gift” of all time.
Next was Dave Greco from Salespreneur LLC. This guy simply was not likeable. The sharks didn’t trust him. Cuban summed it up best, “You had a chance to close the deal. You have to learn to take a deal when you have it closed, and then shut up”. Clueless.
Then came Dave Smith who wanted to become a big-time magician in Las Vegas. He had the nerve to ask for $1.5 million to finance his dream. Barbara summarized the situation well…… “you asked for too much, too soon”. Dave’s dream magically disappeared before his very eyes.
Last was Donny McCall. He had developed a very cool add-on rack for pick-up trucks that allowed customers to haul more stuff. He had an interesting business but refused to even consider outsourcing to reduce his costs. Investors don’t like to invest in a CEO who is that inflexible. Donny wanted all the manufacturing jobs to be in his home town in NC. He looked at Shark Robert Herjavec and said, “I’m a factory workers son”.
Then came the most interesting part of the show. Robert Herjavec, the steadiest of all the sharks, broke down and cried as he remembered his father who passed away last year. It turns out that his Dad worked in a factory sweeping floors when he first came to North America. It was actually a beautiful moment, and it became part of a larger discussion about today’s global economy.
All businesses today are so competitive that you have to do whatever it takes to survive and compete. If that means outsourcing to another country, so be it. Your objective can’t be to simply employ X amount of people in a certain location. You have to think and act globally from the very beginning. As Mr. Wonderful correctly pointed out, Apple manufactures most of their products in low-cost areas around the world. In the end, this has created thousands of jobs in the US and Apple has become a global powerhouse.
I, just like Donny, would love to see more manufacturing jobs in the united States, but that train may have left the station in the 1970’s. Business today requires ruthless cost-cutting and a global outlook. It’s just a fact of life.