Tibs Manor

Friday, November 25, 2005

Numbers Fun With The Apprentice

Last night's episode of The Apprentice really got on my nerves. The skinny - a two person team, Excel, wins an advertising challenge by hiring 60 workers and not-exactly-stealing 9 megaphones (this was a great moment I must admit). Their efforts generated 978 calls. Capital Edge, a three person team, spends 60% of their budget on horse-drawn carriages, while hiring only 15 workers - their efforts generated 973 calls. In the boardroom, Adam is blamed for spending so much of the budget on the carriages when temps were clearly the way to go. Now before I start, let me say that the horse-drawn carriages really did look like they were put together by a dude with no eyes and maybe one arm.

However, let's look at this for a second. Let's figure that the quality of an average temp is, well, average. This seems generous, since the show emphasized that Excel's workers were more clean cut, well spoken, and representative of New Yorkers. Plus they had that awesome dude in the van. Plus their temps had megaphones! Still for the sake of argument, let's say temps are of average quality. Let's say the average apprentice contestant is worth 2 temps (and I don't think they are, but bear with me). That gives us:

Excel: 60 temps + 2 contestants = 978 calls
Excel: 64 temps = 978 calls
Excel: Each temp generates 15.28 calls

And now let's do the math for Capital Edge:

Capital Edge: 15 temps + 3 contestants + carriages = 973 calls
Capital Edge: 21 temps + carriages = 973 calls
Capital Edge: (21 temps) * (15.28 calls per temp) + carriages = 973 calls
Capital Edge: 320.88 calls + carriages = 973 calls
Capital Edge: Carriages generated 652 calls

In other words, 60% of the budget produced 67% of the results. If we extrapolate and remove all the workers and only buy carriages, Capital Edge produces 1087 calls, easily enough for the win. And if Capital Edge really did have the crummier employees without bullhorns, their rate should be far below 15.28 calls, making the horses even more valuable. Am I missing something? 15 calls per worker does seem a bit low, they were out there for 8 hours, I am sure I could get someone to call a number more than once every 30 minutes! Adam was getting boring and I am not sad to see him leave but I thought he got railroaded here.


  • Good analysis! If I see this post at the top of your page one more time, though, I may have to give up on visiting this Manor.

    By Anonymous Lauren, at 9:42 AM  

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