by admin | March 30, 2017 11:47 am
As the Executive Producer/ Showrunner of Shark Tank, I’ve witnessed first-hand the magic of the show. Now in its 8th season, the show has an impressive audience of over 7 – 8 million viewers per week. Each new season inspires more people and proves that the American dream is alive and well. The great thing about Shark Tank is that no matter what your background is, when you enter the tank and you stand on that rug, you have a chance to secure a life altering deal with the Sharks. The Tank is the great equalizer; a stay at home Mom with no education has as much chance of getting a deal as a Harvard MBA grad, or even a child. It doesn’t matter what your gender, race or background is, everyone gets their fair shot and that is why I believe Shark Tank resonates with people. The Sharks themselves all started out with nothing and through hard work and determination, they’ve achieved incredible success. Our message to the people who watch our show is… work hard to turn your dreams into reality – ‘you can do it too.’
Over the years, we’ve seen some impressive entrepreneurs with incredible ideas make thrilling presentations on the show. The Sharks are tremendous, but the heart and soul of Shark Tank is the entrepreneurs. We have over 40,000 applicants a year for the show and it’s the producing teams responsibility to select those we think have the best chance to get a deal. The Sharks know nothing about the entrepreneurs or their businesses beforehand. The first time they hear anything about the entrepreneurs and their business is when they pitch the Sharks on the show. If you think about that, as an entrepreneur, that can be a stressful situation, but each week, entrepreneurs give it their best shot, and do a great job impressing the Sharks and America with their idea and drive. Each season, we have had really impressive young children and teens come on the show to pitch their ideas. We take great pride in this, and feel that it is very important to include them. They are the next generation of American entrepreneurs. The US was built on entrepreneurism and we are excited about what the future holds. The ‘Kidpreneurs’ you see on Shark Tank are not only pursuing their dreams, but inspiring their peers to pursue theirs as well.
We’ve had parents tell us that they heard about the show from their children because their elementary class was teaching them about business by creating their own model of Shark Tank. Even Harvard Business School uses Shark Tank pitches as curriculum for their classes. Hearing these kind of stories keeps us going. The fact that we’ve created a platform that inspires children to take an idea and turn it into a business is amazing and incredibly fulfilling.
One story to share is that of Sean Patel. His company is Prep Expert and he partnered with Mark Cuban on season 7 of Shark Tank. Sean lived with his parents in Las Vegas and Things were not easy for them. He learned the value of hard work from his father who ran a small motel. The area where Sean went to high school had the lowest rate in the country of kids who went onto college after high school graduation. With no money to afford college, Sean was determined to achieve a perfect SAT score to attain a scholarship for his goal to attend medical school. On his second try Sean got a perfect score, and a scholarship from Yale. While attending Yale, Sean decided to develop a course that will help others do better on their SAT scores, so that they may get a scholarship and achieve their dreams. To date, Sean has helped over 5,000 students. He’s created 40 full time jobs in 20 cities, he’s made close to $4 million in sales, and he’s writing a book called “How any Kid Can Start A Business”. Sean is an embodiment of the American dream in every way.
When the economy crashed in 2008, we were in season 1 of Shark Tank. Many people were forced to become entrepreneurs simply because they had nothing else. The show was a perfect mix of inspiration to those struggling to make ends meet as well as a platform that could potentially change their lives. As the show became more popular we noticed applicants who quit successful jobs because they were inspired to become entrepreneurs Shark Tank.
An amazing example of this is Nick and Elyse Oleksak, founders of Bantam Bagels. They both had good jobs on Wall Street, and were long time fans of the show. On season 6 they made a deal with Lori Grenier and are now selling in every Starbucks store across the US and have recently closed a deal with Delta to be on every first-class flight! Despite the fact that they had good jobs and were earning nice salaries, their desire to be their own boss and pursue the entrepreneurial journey led them to go from Wall Street to Shark Tank.
As producers, it’s our job to keep the show exciting and suspenseful. (Contrary to what many people believe, although each pitch you see on television is 7 to 14 minutes, the average length of each pitch in real time is 45 minutes. Our longest ever was 2 hours!) This year’s episodes are better than ever and I know our audience will enjoy them. When we are shooting, myself and other producers are outside in a video truck with our technical crew. I know we have a great show when they yell at the monitors during negotiations, “Take the deal!”
We know if our team gets excited about the show, we’ll have America on the edge of their seats. Like every business, innovation is the key to Shark Tank’s long-term success, and we’re always looking for new ways to excite our audience. For the first time, this season, we had all six Sharks in the tank at once, as well as bringing back self-made, billionaire, investor Chris Sacca. We believe that the future is bright for the show as well as for entrepreneurs of America. When the next Steve Jobs, Sara Blakely or Mark Zuckerburg emerges, and they’re asked what sparked them to take their journey, we’ll be proud when they say, it was the show that inspires entrepreneurs across the world- Shark Tank!
Clay Newbill is a producer and assistant director, known for Shark Tank (2009), Redneck Island (2012) and Beyond the Tank (2015).
Shark Tank is produced by MGM Television in association with Sony Pictures Television.
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