Why Shark Tank Australia is The Profit lite

Why does the Shark Tank Australia suck us in? Is it because we all like to imagine ourselves as Sharks, able to predict success of an idea by asking a couple of questions? So brilliant as to be able diagnose the flaws in a business model with a couple of scribbled notes on a pad? Free to sit back in leather chairs with our millionaire pals and scoff at young wannabes begging for money? Oh to be a Shark…

We have to accept, as the central tenet of the show, that the Sharks are such brilliant operators, their mere involvement in a project somehow guarantees success. We never actually see them ‘work the phones’ or set up important meetings. Who do they call? Do they attend the meetings? How do they pitch to big companies? How do they structure the business? Who gets the chop? Who gets hired?  Sadly, we never really find out.

I prefer a CNBC show you’ve probably never heard of called The Profit (I discovered it on holidays at my Air Bnb house in LA last year which had Netflix). The Profit stars American investor, entrepeneur and CEO of Camping World Marcus Lemonis. The premise for the show is similar to Shark Tank.; Lemonis diagnoses the relative health of a business and provides a blueprint for it’s future success. There is one major difference though, on The Profit, Lemonis doesn’t sit on a leather couch, he works on the factory floor shoulder to shoulder with his new business partners to see his vision through.

Unlike The Sharks, Lemonis isn’t afraid to offer his support to companies that are in desperate trouble, working to turn them around. He puts, not only his money but his reputation on the line in almost every episode. His ‘deals’ always involve a one week period where he is ‘100% in charge’ of the business and free to make the necessary changes he sees fit to make the company successful. He spends time getting to know the ins and outs. He gets his hands dirty. He reconciles warehouses, learns to make humbugs, directs fashion designers; whatever it takes. He doesn’t save each business he tries to assist but that only makes the show more compelling and inspiring to watch. He’s tireless and he’s brilliant.

The ‘Sharks’ pledge a similar sort of support and guidance but whether that ever materialises… well we never get to find out do we? I love the idea of Aussie entrepeneurs benefitting from the expertise and contacts of industry heavyweights… as long as it doesn’t become a show about a bunch of rich dicks being presented with fresh, new, creative ideas that can make them more rich, quickly.

For these reasons, I prefer The Profit to Shark Tank Australia. One of my favourite episode ends with Lemonis calling out ‘go f@#k yourself’ then driving off in his expensive sports car. You don’t get that in the Shark Tank.

What do you think of Shark Tank? Have you watched The Profit yet? Leave a comment below…

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