As Hedon said, we spent much of our home time watching the WNBA playoffs. But that’s not the only television programming on which I wasted vast quantities of time. Among the loads of saved shows that TiVo had stored for me was a BBC America program called “Dragons’ Den,” which we had tried briefly during our home time before last. I am happy to say that it has quickly become a favorite.
“Dragons’ Den” is a delightfully bloodthirsty reality show during which entrepreneurs seek financial investments from a group of five successful, wealthy business people (the dragons). The entrepreneurs must stand before the dragons, tell them how much money they are seeking and what percentage of their companies they will give in return for that money, give a short presentation about the business or invention they are promoting, and then answer the many difficult questions posed by the ruthless dragons.
On first glance, this may seem like a dull setup, unless you’re into business, which I’m not. What I find great about this show is seeing what sorts of things people truly believe will make them millions and millions of dollars (well, millions and millions of pounds, obviously, since this show is made in England). And I can’t help but be fascinated by the workings of the fire-breathing investors, as well. I mean, they really are brutal.
When I watch this show I get to feel embarrassed for the poor folks who come in looking like they are ready to faint from nervousness, their hands shaking and lips twitching. You know right away they aren’t likely to get any money, especially when they’re wanting investments for something like a company that sells personalized underpants. So you get to feel sorry for them when one by one the dragons tear their dreams to shreds. Bad dragons!
Then next will come in some cocky bastard who thinks the investors should give him 100,000 pounds for 10% of his grand business idea, say something like an energy drink. It’s great fun to watch this fellow get shot down.
And every once in a while, a calm and adjusted person will present a good idea, like a technique for farm-raising truffles (the mushroom, not the candy). One or more dragons will agree to invest, and all will shake hands agreeably. Ahh, a happy ending.
It’s really pretty fascinating to watch these dealings. I was shocked to see how high a percentage the dragons want in return for their investments. I’ve seen it go higher than 50% ownership of the company. And most of the time, the investors want a pretty high level of management control as well.
I’m surprised we don’t have an American version of this program yet. Maybe they are still trying to figure out how they can change the format to include the tits, ass and abs that seem to be required for American reality show. Wait a minute, I’m having an epiphany. Instead of average people trying to sell inventions like on the BBC version, the American version will have former swimsuit models trying to launch lines of bathing suits (and happily modeling them for the dragons), and body builders in teeny speedos giving presentations about their new exercise machine which is being demonstrated by a dozen sports-bra’d blondes. And, oh, I’m on a roll. Before they can present their ideas, the contestants have to mud wrestle and the winner gets to go before the dragons. Yeah, that’s probably how it will go.
At any rate, if you get some spare time, check out “Dragons’ Den.” You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll wonder what the current exchange rate is for pounds and dollars. Uh … well … okay … you won’t actually cry. It’s still worth it.