Dragons’ Den – Season 1 Episode 1

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What a great show. I still love it even I have seen the preview version of the show probably three times already. I just can’t believe how excited I was when I watched the show again tonight. I think watching DD on a big TV (as oppose to a tiny real video window on my computer) makes a difference.

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First of all, I would like to thank the seven entrepreneurs (Eric, Marilyn, Stephen, the Warwaruk brothers, JP, and Jennifer) who pitched their six ideas on Season 01 Episode 01 (s01e01) of CBC’s Dragons’ Den tonight. In fact, allow me to extend my gratitude to the over 1,700 entrepreneurs across Canada who auditioned to be on the Dragons’ Den. Without all the enthusiastic support from these entrepreneurs, there will be no Dragons’ Den in Canada.

Of course, thanks also go to the 40+ Dragons that auditioned for the roles and the final 5 (alphabetically — Jennifer, Jim, Kevin, Laurence, and Robert), that agreed to become our Dragons. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

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Entrepreneur #1, exercise machine – The Fast Recliner by Eric
I agree with the Dragons the market is simply too crowded for another exercise machine. The $1.3 million for “we learn something” is a dead-on comment by Robert. A little bit of tough-love but fair comment.
As an aside, it is good to have patent protection on a product but a patent doesn’t mean much if it is not for a good product.
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Entrepreneur #2, Time Out Naps by Marilyn
I agree with the Dragons’ general assessment of the business prospect and it is basically not a workable business. Now, I feel sorry for the abuse Marilyn took from Kevin. So I hope Kevin can take a joke. I think he is simply too harsh when he said he will “set the teddy bear on fire”. OK, it is catchy and made his point. But for that, I am giving Kevin a nick-name, how does, “Kevin-the-teddy-bear-burner” sounds like? May be Kevin can buy this company and rename its product from “Brewster The Teddy Bear Burner” to “Kevin The Teddy Bear Burner”, http://www.dingley-dell.com/products/brewster/ (big smile)
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Entrepreneur #3, Green Tidal Energy by Stephen
First of all, I think Stephen’s biggest problem, if I may be totally direct and honest, is that he is too arrogant and Stephen talks down to the Dragons. The Dragons are smart people and they can understand something if it is well explained.

I think Stephen should take this to heart (Stephen, sorry for writing this as I am a bit annoyed by the way you pitched): The Nobel physicist Richard Feynman, someone I admire deeply, said if he can’t explain something to a reasonably intelligent first year university student, then he doesn’t understand the subject matter well enough. It is the pitcher’s job to explain something well. And when the explanation didn’t work, blaming the audiences is just purely bad form.

In terms of the project alone, the idea is interesting but as a commercial project, it is way too risky and there are so many variables to be a solid enough investment to take risk.
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Entrepreneurs #4, It’s My Card by the Warwaruk brothers
I seriously hope that they will change their mind and won’t bet their farm on the card. And at the same time, their strong desire to make their millions while they are young may luring them into taking irrational risk. Plus the 5-10% skim off each transaction is really worst than highway robbery. It looks good on paper but who in the right mind will agree to paying that extra 10%?
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Entrepreneurs #5, The Magic Banana by JP
I actually have done some research on JP’s business and commented on it earlier. I think the Dragons did the proper and very expected Dragons’ thing by not investing. None of the dragons will want to be associated with The Magic Banana unless they are prepared to have their names associated with the product in their circle of friends and family forever. The monetary return is just not worth the trouble.

Now, for me, this is one product that I can see if I apply my full range of skills and knowledge, I might be able to help push it to the next level. So, for this one, I am interested enough to ask more questions about the financial data, the sales in Chicago (Sex shops? Drug stores?), the strength of the patent, and, most important of all, if JP is an entrepreneur that I can work with??? After all, it is not like I can try the product myself. And here lies another problem, if JP is going to trump that “I am woman and you are not. What do you know?” card at me like she did with some of the dragons, then I am out. I love to work with really smart people but I will not tolerate people who think they know best and have the “What do you know?” attitude.
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Entrepreneurs #6, Cenebal Organics (organic omega 3 salad dressing) by Jennifer MacDonald
Hearing Jennifer pitch the product and what she has achieved (some distribution, a propriety process from her chemical engineering background) is simply music to my ears. Jennifer just exudes confidence and her determination to tackle problems in her own so naturally.
May be it is simply a great product that is right for its time, plus the necessary groundwork being done by Jennifer but I think Jennifer simply exudes confidence and her determination to be a successful makes her an ideal entrepreneur to partner with.

Assuming the Dragons Jim and Jennifer W. have been helping out since the taping of the show, I expect Jennifer’s Cenebal Organics to be on the shelf in some Calgary stores. And I am going to look for a bottle and buy it to give to a friend to try. You see, I will buy the product to try even don’t eat much salad!

My final word tonight to Jennifer M. (the entrepreneur), good luck on your business with Jim and Jennifer. And learn baby learn. With your innovative mind, Cenebal Organics may well be the first in a series of products.

Now, my really final final words here. If I were you and I really wanted control, I might have just tried to ask the Dragons nicely if they are willing, as part of the agreement, to let me have a buy back provision. For example, in three years time, I am allowed buy back their original $100,000 investment for $300,000 each. Which amounts to a 44% return compound annually for three years. This way, I would have control back. But if I were to truly think long term, I will forget about the idea of the buyback provision and look to other innovative product ideas and re-negotiate on those products as they are developed.

Congratulations Jennifer and I look forward to hearing more of you and good news about you and your business.

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Overall, the dragons did a great job as they were honest, very direct and true to themselves. Nothing that I can’t take. Even “Kevin The Teddy Burner” was nice at place. (smile) I think every Dragons have their nice moment and their no-nonsense business moment. And both were great to watch.

No surprise here, I am definitely watching Dragons’ Den again.

There are a few areas that can hopefully be improved and I will talk about them after I get some rest.

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The following is my follow-up post now focusing on the technical stuff.

How can we improve it? The following are just my 2 cents and they are mostly technical stuff.

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Redoing the whole blogging area. It doesn’t look appealing at all.
http://www.cbc.ca/dragonsden/e01/index.html#epnav
I like the format Sean used at
http://www.insidethedragonsden.com
So lets not reinvent the wheel here.
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There were at least two places where the Dragons were speaking and the screen was showing the product (the exercise machine??), it looks very distracting to me.

For future, if there are actual footage of the Dragons speaking, may be try to use those? I don’t mean in every case a Dragons’ voice should be matched with his/her face but in that two instances, they look so strangely out of place.
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Oh the music. I love the theme song. And I think it should have been used more, much more. Now, the other “music” just drove me nuts. When the Dragons were talking to the entrepreneurs, the background music is just torturing at many places. I can tell exactly where are those places that bugs me but there weren’t time code available on the preview copy. And it was too much work to try to recreate the time-code from simply watching it on the VCR and tracking it.
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I don’t know was this by design, but the skin tone of everyone in most scenes look kind of strange. Was it a colour correction issue? Or was it a deliberate design decision for the “look” of the show. To me, it looks quite strange at times. But the show was too engaging for me to really get distracted too much by this potential colour-correction problem.

Thats all from me. And these are just my 2 cents.

Good luck and hope you make the episode even better.

Cheers,
Kempton

P.S. I am still very hurt by that John Doyle Globe and Mail article. It was so unfair and spoiler filled. (sad face)

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5 Responses to Dragons’ Den – Season 1 Episode 1

  1. [...] Oct 4th update: Now episode 1 of CBC’s Dragons’ Den has aired, I can blog all I want and give it a full analysis. You can read my analysis of episode 1 here. And I have also been fighting some Dragons’ Den fires and you can read them here. [...]

  2. Kitty says:

    great show! hilarious! its like american idol with a lot more intelligence hehehehe.

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    Hi Kitty,

    Did I just read “american idol” and “intelligence” in the same sentence?? Must get my glasses checked.

    Yeah, it is a fun show and educational at the same time. I love fun show that teaches the viewers something while they are not suspecting. (big smile)

    Cheers,
    Kempton

  3. [...] Here are my full review of s01e03. By the way, you can also read my reviews of the first episode (s01-e01) and second episode (s01-e02). ***************************** Jobloft by Chris Nguyen & Lee Lieu, et. al. [...]

  4. [...] <>Note:  Here are my reviews of season one episode number one, two, and three. <>******************** [...]

  5. [...] Here is my full review of Dragons’ Den second episode (s01-e02). By the way, you can also read my reviews of the first episode (s01-e01) and third episode (s01-e03), fourth episode (s01-e04), and fifth episode (s01-e05). *************** [...]

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