Set TiVO, gather the kids, and turn off the phone, Shark Tank is BACK! Shark Tank is a reality TV show that pushes hopeful inventors and entrepreneurs up into the deep end to convince a panel of venture capitalist business tycoons to invest in them. The new season starts Friday night, Mar 25th, on ABC TV. The American version is produced by Survivor’s Mark Burnett, based on a the UK BBC version called Dragon’s Den.
Shark Tank consists of real pitches to real investors, with real money at stake. The format of each segment is tidy: a pitch, a negotiation, and a result. Don’t let the “reality” genre put you off; is more of a game show like Survivor or The Apprentice (both Burnett shows), than trashy reality fare like Housewives and Jersey Shore. The result is smart, compelling, and fun for all.
Shark Tank is one of my favorite family shows to watch with the kids. Every scene reinforces that money must be earned, appreciated, and invested wisely. The Sharks do not invest based on need, greed, or pity. The tycoons are there to grow wealth for all parties. The kids will learn to calculate the value an entrepreneur puts on her company by figuring the investment amount and the percentage to factor the whole. Is the pitch for an idea, a product, a business, or the person’s passionate personality? And then the negotiations begin, with the Sharks sniffing and nibbling before taking a bite OR swimming away.
A great new edition to the lineup of Sharks this season is Mark Cuban, who joins the panel for a three episode stint. Cuban is a billionaire who made his fortune as a founder of Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo for $6billion in 1999 at the height of the dotcom boom. He is the owner of the NBA Dallas Mavericks, and has invested in several media and entertainment companies. Mark Cuban is also a well known fan of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.
“The Fountainhead was incredibly motivating to me. It encouraged me to think as an individual, take risks to reach my goals, and responsibility for my successes and failures. I loved it”, – Mark Cuban of his favorite book.
Be sure to watch Shark Tank. It is the closest thing for kids to an MBA education.