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Why I Love "Shark Tank"

June 03, 2014
Frequent readers of my entreVIEW posts certainly know my love for musical theatre (for the record, I just saw another six musicals in NYC over Memorial Day Weekend). But musical theatre isn't my only entertainment outlet. Given that I work with aspiring entrepreneurs for a living, you may be surprised to know that one of these outlets is "Shark Tank" on ABC, a show set on my DVR and one that I routinely watch with my 11 year old.

I won't bore everyone with background about "Shark Tank" because ratings have been climbing steadily since a shaky start in its first season (it was just renewed last month for a sixth season). I think there are several aspects of "Shark Tank" that make it appealing:

The "Sharks," who have developed their own personas. Even my 11 year old has started saying things like "here's where 'Mr. Wonderful' is going to propose a royalty deal," "this would be a good QVC product so she needs Lori," or "Robert is a really good fit for this deal because he likes extreme sports."

There are some really cool products that are fun to learn about. 

It isn't all entertainment—I've used it as a teaching tool. My 11 year old knows I'm going to pause the show each time an entrepreneur says what they are asking for so that she can calculate the pre-money valuation. She has even said "he shouldn't do a royalty deal because he needs the cash to build the business." Guess you know what it's like having me as a Dad…

At the end of the day, I think it's about a tiny window on the American Dream. While a recent Brookings Institution Report surprisingly found that, for the first time in 30 years, the number of new business "deaths" exceeded business "births," we were all raised to understand that anyone has a chance to succeed in their own business in America. All it takes is a good idea, hard work, determination, and maybe national exposure on a prime time TV show (there's even Shark Tank Zone, a business built around helping people get on the show)…

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