G&M: Taming the dragon: Should the CBC muzzle Kevin O’Leary?

March 21, 2011

An insightful article by G&M’s Marsha Lederman. For the record.

Taming the dragon: Should the CBC muzzle Kevin O’Leary?
From Saturday’s Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Mar. 18, 2011 4:30PM EDT
Last updated Friday, Mar. 18, 2011 5:39PM EDT

From the beach at a posh Bahamas hotel, Kevin O’Leary is assuring Amanda Lang, via Skype, that the Japanese earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster – though horrific, he takes pains to point out – may be just what Japan needs for an economic turnaround. “I’m very bullish on nuclear right now,” O’Leary pronounces in attire that is more beach than business. “It’s a buying opportunity.”

This Lang & O’Leary Exchange moment last Monday is classic O’Leary: he’s a dragon, he’s a shark; breathing fire, gobbling up prey. Japan is in crisis, but he sees a business opportunity. Greed is good.

“When I’m discussing a decision around an investment, I’m not trying to make friends,” O’Leary said during an interview this week (not specifically referencing Japan). “I don’t care if people can’t take the truth.”

O’Leary, who also stars on CBC TV’s popular Dragons’ Den and its U.S. cousin Shark Tank on ABC, likes to describe himself as “slightly right of Attila the Hun.” He’s proud of his modus operandi: no holds barred, make no apologies.

Well, usually.

After O’Leary was called out by CBC ombudsman Kirk LaPointe for his now infamous use of the term “Indian giver” on The Lang & O’Leary Exchange, he did ultimately apologize. It was a rare exception for the loudmouthed entrepreneur who has become an important part of the CBC brand. Read the rest of this entry »


TRANSLOGIC: BPG Motors UNO (video interview + demo)

March 21, 2011

Check out “TRANSLOGIC 47: BPG Motors UNO (video interview + demo)“.

“We all know motorcycles are awesome, but in our view most are missing two key ingredients: a zero-emission electric drivetrain and the ability to transform. That is, until 17-year-old Benjamin Gulak created the UNO as a high school senior. Now on their third iteration, BPG Motors is perfecting this unique EV cycle and TRANSLOGIC is the first to take it for a spin.”

In conversation: Brett Wilson

March 16, 2011

Check out this great Maclean’s article “In conversation: Brett Wilson “. I’ve excerpted three questions and answers that I found very insightful. [emphasis added]

“Q: You’ve challenged the CBC to dole out what you’ve called “constructive criticism as opposed to abuse” on the show. What prompted you to make that challenge?

A: I want it to respect the intelligence of the viewing community—you know, there isn’t a business school in the country that isn’t paying attention to this show. I was the lead deal-making dragon. I don’t know how many deals the other dragons have actually done or closed, but I managed to get 60 done on the show, and we’ve papered 30, and 31 should be done in the next couple weeks. That’s where my own fan base says, “Thank you for showing us how to do deals.” It’s easy to say, “No,” it takes no courage, no brains and no wallet to criticize. Criticism comes free. Action comes at some cost, and I’ve been pretty active. Will the 30 investments I’ve made all work out? Absolutely not. I suspect I’ll write off four or five in the next year because they’re stumbling. But there’s four or five that could become iconic brands in Canada because of the power of the entrepreneur. Any one of those top-five investments will pay for all 30. So I take a portfolio approach. Read the rest of this entry »

Dragons’ Den star rebuked by CBC ombudsman for phrase ‘Indian giver’

March 8, 2011

From Calgary Herald, “Dragons’ Den star Kevin O’Leary rebuked by CBC ombudsman for phrase ‘Indian giver'”

The CBC’s ombudsman has blasted businessman and commentator Kevin O’Leary for using the term ”Indian giver” on his CBC News Network show, denouncing the term as “unambiguously offensive.”

The executive producer for The Lang & O’Leary Exchange has apologized directly to Alex Jamieson, an aboriginal man who complained, but O’Leary is a contract commentator and cannot be forced to express regret, ombudsman Kirk LaPointe writes in the report, published last week.

O’Leary, known for his brash, provocative commentary, heads up global investment firm O’Leary Funds.

He cancelled an interview with the National Post because, according to his assistant, he was ”advised” not to speak publicly about the issue.

The CBC is looking at making an on-air apology for the comment and as of Monday had yet to speak with O’Leary about potentially doing the same, according to spokesman Jeff Keay.

Brett Wilson talks to media about leaving CBC Dragons’ Den

March 1, 2011

Of all the reports/interviews I could find today (Feb 28th, Monday) about Brett leaving Dragons’ Den, I want to say I enjoy the report (see below) from Calgary Sun‘s Lisa Wilton the most (very detail and insightful). Feel wonderful to be pleasantly surprised Calgary Sun.

Reports (see below) in Ottawa CitizenNational Post, Canadian Press, NewsTalk980 all added a little something and worth a read. And then there are reports in Toronto Star and Calgary Herald.

Here is an excerpt from Calgary Sun “Wilson opens up regarding ‘Den” (I added the emphasis anyway even I ended up putting emphasis on everything! :) ),

[ Q ] – Did your reason for leaving just come down to a contract negotiation breakdown?

Well, it started in December.

They gave me three weeks to sign the contract, take it or leave it.

There were some issues with the contract. First of all, they tried to cut the compensation. We negotiated that and got that solved. And they wanted to stop me from going on any other networks, so we negotiated that and got that solved.

Where we got stuck was on schedule. When I told them I had a family vacation and I wasn’t prepared to vary, they told me that wouldn’t work.

So, I politely advised that I would have to be out of the show because I wasn’t prepared to walk away from the vacation. It’s the first time I’ve had all three kids in one place in two years so I wasn’t going to walk away from that. It meant more to me than another season of the show.

Then CBC moved heaven and earth, and I really give them credit for it. Read the rest of this entry »