Another One Bites The Dust: OTB Meets The Apprentice’s Alex Britez Cabral

Estate agent manager Alex Britez Cabral was the second man fired from the The Apprentice this evening. Getting kicked off for being a fool is one thing, but getting fired for not really doing anything is something quite different. OTB spoke to Alex to get his view on why he left, why Slangatang didn’t catch on and to find out whether you really can be both popular and successful in business…

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Hi Alex, how are you doing?
Very well thanks, yourself?

Not bad, not bad. How do you feel after leaving the show?
Disappointed to have gone early, a bit frustrated but I really enjoyed the experience and very pleased I did it.

Do you feel like you were the right choice to be ‘fired’?
If I’m honest no, and I don’t mean that in a bitter way. I think that the impression has always been that the person who gets fired is the person who is to blame for the failure of the task and I think – in the case of this task – it wasn’t down to anything I directly did or didn’t do but more about poor project management and poor sales when it came to promoting the app.

What do you think was the problem with the app?
The app itself was quite a diverse choice, if you like, close to the wind in some quarters, it was meant in very good taste and good jest with no offence meant but I think when it came to promoting the app we maybe weren’t as ready to manage the objections with regard to how it was and that’s what cost us the key website, obviously.

The sales started off very well, but why do you think they went downhill so quickly?
I think most of the total downloads that we had were based on the UK market and that was partly made up of our performance at the expo, but because we didn’t give the right pitch, we didn’t get the global exposure and not enough people, if any, downloaded our app – and that was the problem.

So you think if you were to do it over you’d have to pick something that was more applicable to, say, other cultures?
I don’t think our app was placed in enough global view for it to be applicable or not. I think if we were to do it again we’d have to look at the app and whether or not it was safer to go down a more generic route. I think the girls would be the first to admit that their app was less-than-scintillating, but it got the downloads.

Do you feel that the two tasks you took part in were things that really played to your strengths?
I don’t think they were – I’m indifferent about them, to be honest. The first task was very manual and just required a lot of effort from everybody and the second task again was a constructive task, we had to build something and bring the product to market and we were very reliant on certain points being right. I don’t think they particularly played or not-played to my strengths, they were quite neutral tasks in that respect.

So do you think that the first few people that leave the show, they don’t get really get a chance to show who they are?
You have to say ‘yes’, because if you look at it the girls won the first task, and I think there’s people on the girls’ team we’ve not seen much of so you can’t know or judge them and I think likewise with the guys, two weeks in you’re only going to see so much of every character especially the more people there are in it. So it is hard to know, after two weeks, who you’re dealing with.

In the first few tasks it seemed like you were trying to be part of the team and that undid you because you didn’t get yourself exposure. Is that fair?
Yeah, in a way I was entirely guilty of doing what needed to be done. You know, I manage a team and when I give someone a job, I like them to do it because I’m the leader and I’ve given that task to them for a reason for them to get on with it. Likewise with me, I was given specific roles to do, I’m not gonna cause trouble and be deliberately difficult – you do it, and in the end maybe that has undone me slightly.

So for us that only watch on TV, can you explain what the feeling is like in the boardroom when the pressure is on?
If you lose you’re back in there explaining yourself to Lord Sugar and then there’s the crunch point where you get brought back in in the final three and, you know, it’s a moment I relished, if I’m honest. It’s your chance to shine, in some ways, you’ve got to fight your corner and obviously there’s a lot of tension in there, a lot of pressure and all eyes are on you and you’ve gotta perform at that moment.

So it doesn’t feel like being in front of the firing squad?
Not really no, they don’t try and construct arguments against you, and the fact that we’ve made it to this point in the process suggests that we’re capable – or should be capable – of holding our own and defending ourselves, which I think I did very well. But ultimately someone has to go, and it was me!

In terms of the rest of the series, who do you think could do well?
I think Gavin is a very strong candidate, he’s got a good business background, a good character and quite diverse and Jim, you know, after his stunning performance in the boardroom and pulling Liam’s heartstrings and getting him to change his mind – you’d have to say that he’s a serious challenger.

Do you think the guys are going to have a chance to make back some ground against the girls?
I think what the girls maybe managed to do is find a balance with a mixture of characters better, and apply themselves in a more, shall we say, productive way. The teams will inevitably get split up as the process develops and there will be mixed teams so until we see that we won’t really know, I think, how strong the girls are.

Your quote going into the series was “if you are successful, you are unpopular, so unpopularity is a good thingâ€? – is that something you really believe?
In think as far as the UK goes, yes, and anyone who doesn’t agree with that probably doesn’t work in business. In the UK there is a slight sort of ‘the better you are at something, the more people dislike you’ culture,  whether it’s jealously or envy, but in the US, obviously, it’s very good to be popular in business and that’s what gets you further. So it’s just a particular view I have of how we are in this country, I think.

Does that mean you think popularity and success in business is almost unachievable in the UK, then?
I’d like to think they were achievable, and I’m sure in some quarters they are and some people do [achieve it]. I know that I look on at people’s success in business for example Lord Sugar, I don’t hate him! You admire him. You think ‘wow, look what he achieved’ and that gives everyone hope. Yeah, I’d like to think they can be married together.

Finally, do you watch the show?
I do, yeah, and I will continue to watch!

Thanks for your time, Alex
Thanks, bye.

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