Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The complicated life of Brett Wilson

Lots of surprises in today’s profile of Brett Wilson, “the Dragon with a heart,” in the Toronto Star. Writer Jennifer Wells describes her interview with him as ”one part business, three parts psychoanalysis.”

• First she hints about a significant other* in his life.

• She explores his disdain for Toronto financiers when he was financing oil and gas deals in Calgary 20 years ago.

• Then she writes about his experience at an addiction research program. "There was no dependency on alcohol whatsoever," Wilson maintains. "What there was, was an inappropriate style of drinking."

• Then there’s his experience with depression. Says Wilson: “I joke about seeing a list of the 12 signs of clinical depression and going through the list and nine of them were clearly me and the other three, well, I was still in denial."

• Wilson stepped down from his company, FirstEnergy, in January, to focus on his philanthropy and private investments, which include a baseball club, a British soccer team, an ad agency, fitness franchise, real estate, and a divorce solutions company.

• He says he’s not as nice as he sometimes appears on Dragons’ Den, because the producers edit out the tough business questions he poses to pitchers. "I've never seen them use the core business question I ask."

• When he auditioned for the Den the CBC told him he wasn't mean enough. He said, “Look, if `mean' means being a prick, don't ask me back.”

• He also insisted on equality among the Dragons in the show’s promotions. "If you look at some of the advertising you'd think it was the Kevin O'Leary and friends show," says Wilson.

Lots more surprises in the story. No wonder The Star saved this profile for last. Click here for all the details.

* The girlfriend? Canadian songbird Sarah McLachlan. “"We spend time together," says Wilson. "Anyone who saw us at the Olympics would know that we spend time together."

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