CBC Dragon Brett Wilson redefines Success and talks Mistakes in extensive video interview

Saturday, 24 November, 2012

Brett new book interview pix - 2012

Over the last four years since June 2008, I’ve the pleasure to interview Brett Wilson (businessman & philanthropist, “Dragon with a heart”) many (see my 2008 pre-Dragons’ Den interview videos) and many times. I also slowly get to know Brett from industry events (we’ve met at Banff World Media Festival quite a few times (see 2009 interview)) and from his annual charity garden parties (thx Brett for inviting me & my better half). I can honestly say the “up close & in person” Brett is pretty much the same nice & straight talking no non-sense guy that many viewers of CBC’s award-winning Dragons’ Den have come to know and love.

Earlier this afternoon, I had the pleasure to conduct an insightful, open and frank video interview with Brett to talk about his Globe & Mail best-selling book “Redefining Success: Still making mistakes“! I hope you enjoy my interview with Brett as much as I in conducting it. Please share this article & video. And comment too.

note: this article is cross-posted by me at examiner.com

Brett & Kempton at 2010 Garden Party with book cover

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Corla Rokochy, Snappy Socks, interview at 2012 Brett Wilson’s Garden Party

Friday, 22 June, 2012

It was my pleasure to see Corla Rokochy, creator of Snappy Socks, again at 2012 Brett Wilson’s Garden Party. Here is my 2012 video interview with Corla. You can watch my 2011 interview with Corla and see how far she has come since Feb 2011.


Do The Den’s Dragons actually invest in anything? Techvibes v. CBC – Asking Dragons, Den entrepreneurs for deal data

Wednesday, 2 November, 2011

cbc-dd.jpg

** Techvibes challenges CBC‘s & Dragons‘ credibility **

As a long time fan (since 2006) of CBC Dragons’ Den, it is painful to see CBC‘s & Dragons‘ investment credibility being questioned in the Techvibes article “The Den’s Dragons didn’t invest in Notewagon after all. But really, do they actually invest in anything?” (emphasis added) which was linked by CBC Facebook Fan Club. Here is an excerpt from the last part of the article (emphasis added),

The second issue is that Dragon’s Den deals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Even in the U.K., critics insist that the show is pure entertainment […] Just because a Dragon or two agrees to give entrepreneurs X number of dollars for a Y stake in the company, it doesn’t mean anything will actually happen after the cameras stop rolling. There’s due diligence and the added fact that Dragon money isn’t always pure.

** Gathering CBC Dragons’ Den Canadian deals data **

In Knowlton’s articleNotewagon is discussed and two UK articles are referenced before Knowlton challenges CBC Dragons’ investment credibility. You see, these questions are not new in UK and Canada. Early this year in March 2011, I was researching for an in-depth article about Dragons’ Den, planning to write about, amongst many topics, the deals the Dragons made on TV vs deals they actually closed. I was able to find some deal data for one dragon Brett Wilson (more on this later). I thought if facts & figures like actual deals closed and by what Dragons vs. TV deals made were published, people’s questions and doubts would have been addressed.

To get my research going, I sent the following questions to CBC Head of Media Relations, Mr. Jeff Keay on March 17,

1) I would like to find out the number of deals the dragons made on air for each of the Dragons’ Den season (including the current).
2) The number of deals the dragons closed after due diligence in each of the season.

I got a prompt reply the next day on March 18 from Jeff saying,

Checking. Back to you soon.

Unfortunately, I got no further respond after followup emails & voice mails to Jeff on March 22 & 28. In fact, Jeff never got back to me. I eventually had to give up on the story.

** Actual Closed Deals data from one Dragon

(former Dragon Brett Wilson) **

As I mentioned before, as far I can find, the only comprehensive actual closed deals data I found were published by former Dragon Brett Wilson. Again, as far as I can tell, no other Dragons have publicly published any actual closed deals data! 

Brett made public the number of deals he has done on TV (60+ deals) in three years, actually closed after due diligence (30 deals) and also the amount of money invested (over $4.5 million) in a Prairie Merchant (Brett’s company) Feb 28th, 2011 press release “Dragon With A Heart Leaves the Den” (emphasis added),

“After three years on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, doing 60 plus deals in the Den and personally committing over $4.5 million in final deals with 30 Canadian entrepreneurs, W. Brett Wilson, the lead deal making Dragon, confirmed today that he will not return for the show’s next season.”

** Deals data from Dragons, CBC Dragons’ Den, or

Den entrepreneurs with TV & actually closed deals **

To me, one way to positively addresses people’s legitimate concerns about “but really, do they actually invest in anything?” is to have the Dragons, CBC, or Den entrepreneurs with TV & actually closed deals to provide deals data (the TV deals vs. what Dragon actually closed what deals, amounts invested & percentage, etc) so that Canadian fans of the show, and potential Den entrepreneurs can have some transparency & credibility back in the Dragons’ Den deals and process itself.

As a long time Dragons’ Den fan (since 2006) and champion of DD even before the show was launched in Canada, I hate to see people lose faith in Dragons’ Den‘s deals and its process. This is the 6th year of CBC Dragons’ Den and lots of Canadian entrepreneurs put their hopes on dreams into the show. Can you imagine if the deals are done on TV by Dragons for show only? And most deals fail to close? Imagine the Dragons ALWAYS can find reasons in due diligence phase to kill deals (small or big), will you still be interested in watching the show?

** Grounding Dragons’ Den popularity

with business facts & figures **

Looking back five years to 2006 when CBC just launched Dragons’ Den, I am still amazed how much Globe & Mail’s reporter John Doyle hated/trashed DD in its infancy even criticizing the set as “dark basement is, you know, dreary.” I will not forget my Oct 3rd and Oct 4th, 2006 articles jumping to DD’s defence when it was still an unproven show, long before DD is popular.

Now, over five years later and CBC Dragons’ Den is successful money making machine for CBC (with all the re-runs), I think fans of the show and potential Canadian Den entrepreneurs deserve to see their favourite show grounded with “actual closed deals” and actual business facts & figures and not just be satisfied by “TV deals”.


Dan Eisner, True North Mortgage

Tuesday, 27 September, 2011

In 2007, I was impressed by Dan Eisner‘s mortgage brokerage business, True North Mortgage, when he described how lucrative and profitable it was when I met him at the Calgary Dragons’ Den audition.

By chance I met Dan again today, and he said he now has 7, yes SEVEN, officies across Canada (2 in Calgary, 2 in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, and Halifax).

I am happy for Dan. Have a watch of my video interview with Dan Eisner in 2007.


Corla Rokochy, Snappy Socks, interview at Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011

Friday, 24 June, 2011

Corla Rokochy, Snappy Socks

It was my pleasure to finally meet Corla Rokochy (Snappy Socks) in person after watching her pitched on Dragons’ Den and talked about her business in Feb 2011. The following is my video interview with Corla at Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011.

The following are a few highlights of my video interview with Corla,

0:00 Corla talks about Snappy Socks and shows us some of her cool socks.

0:35 How much money did Brett invest in the business and what was the story?

0:52 How did the Brett’s money impact the business?

1:14 With that money, how many pairs of socks were bought and sold? Read the rest of this entry »


Elle Boetticher, Pro Elvis Jumpsuits, interview at Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011

Friday, 24 June, 2011

Elle Boetticher, Pro Elvis Jumpsuits

It was my pleasure to finally meet Elle Boetticher owner of Pro Elvis Jumpsuits in person after watching her pitched on Dragons’ Den and wrote about her business in 2009. The following is my video interview with Elle at Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011.

The following are a few highlights of my video interview with Elle,

0:00 Elle talks about her Pro Elvis Jumpsuits business and shows of her products.

0:43 How much did Brett invest and when was it? For the loan, what was the interest rate?

1:42 How was the money (both investment and loan from Brett) used? Read the rest of this entry »


Brett Wilson’s Garden Party 2011 attendees (plus gov/AB) raised $300K+ for Dare To Care

Friday, 24 June, 2011

Brett Wilson's Garden Party 2011 - DareToCare.ca

My better half and I always look forward to attend Brett Wilson‘s Garden Party. Great food, great party, and most importantly, each year there is a worthy cause that Brett ask attendees to support. (See the worthy causes for 2010 & 2009.)

For 2011, about 1,000 people attended the Garden Party, and the cause is Dare To Care. I think what Dare To Care does is very important work (especially in our SMS, Facebook age). Have a read of Dare To Care‘s intro (emphasis added),

The Dare To Care program is a fully comprehensive approach to dealing with bullying and challenges within school communities. This comprehensive approach involves students, teachers, parents and the community in an effort to eliminate bullying and other dangerous behaviours from their schools and, in turn, create an atmosphere of tolerance and respect.

The Dare to Care program helps school communities, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, create a common language which then allows for more consistent intervention and follow through when dealing with challenging issues.

The attendees of Garden Party 2011 (along with up to $100K matching fund from Government of Alberta) raised over $300K for Dare To Care!

Please have a watch of my video interview Dwayne Peace, (Dare To Care), video interview with Elle Boetticher (Pro Elvis Jumpsuits), and video interview with Corla Rokochy (Snappy Socks),

By the way, here some photos from the party. More photos here in this flickr set.

The Partyfilm crew

Brett with Lindsay Blackett, Minister of Culture and Community SpiritEleanor Boetticher, Pro Elvis Jumpsuits

Dwayne Peace, Dare to CareCorla Rokochy, Snappy Socks

P.S. Over the years, I have my serious difference of opinions with Minister Lindsay Blackett on various government policies and his views of the Canadian TV industry expressed at Banff. Last night, I set those differences aside and went up to warmly congratulate Minister Blackett on doing a wonderful thing for Alberta school kids by matching the donation to Dare To Care on behalf of the Alberta government and Albertans for $100,000. Alberta school kids deserve all the help and love we can give them. Thank you Minister Blackett and the Government of Alberta.


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