Friday, February 11, 2011

Open auditions start Saturday for Dragons' Den!

Here’s a phrase I never thought I’d see: Dragons’ Den, Season 6.

The CBC’s hit business show begins open auditions for the next fall season this Saturday, Feb. 12, at the CBC broadcast centre in Toronto. Aspiring entrepreneurs and inventors are invited to show up between 10 am and 5 pm to demo their products or ideas for a chance to appear on the show and pitch to the Dragons themselves.

The celebrity Dragons are unlikely to be at the audition, so you can expect to meet a corps of steely-eyed Deputy Dragons, one of which will be me. I think this will be my fourth year of interrogating potential pitchers. If you're not prepared, don't expect me to be very nice.

Pitchers are expected to sound smooth and professional, and to be able to answer tough questions like:

• What’s the market for your product?
• Why would anyone buy this?
• What kind of sales have you had so far? (If none, we may ask “Why?”
• How much money would you like from the dragons? What would you use it for?
• How much equity in your business are you prepared to give up in return for this investment?

Did I mention that you only have five minutes? And I usually interrupt people and start asking questions at about the 30-second mark. (Dragons are impatient beasts.)

If you can't make it this Saturday in T.O., the show’s producers are hitting the road to come to you. This year they intend to hit a whopping 36 cities, which is a testament to the success of the show and the entrepreneurial abilities of Canadians.

The roadshow begins Feb. 17 in Victoria and ends March 28 in Yellowknife (how cool is that?). The final audition will be held again in Toronto on April 2. (Some dates may be subject to change.)
Click here for the full schedule:

Interested entrepreneurs are asked to apply online at You'll save time by bringing your completed application form to the audition.

Canadians have fallen in love with Dragons' Den. The January 12th special “Second Chance” episode drew a series high of nearly 2.2 million viewers – a higher audience than many U.S. series get, with 10 times the population.

If you love the show, you may be interested in a behind-the-scenes look at how the show started – including how Kevin O’Leary insulted Robert Herjavec the first time they met. Click here for the full story.

And here’s a cool blogpost by show consultant Sean Wise explaining where so many pitchers go wrong.

Hope to see you Saturday!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

How to improve your blog

A friend asked me recently to comment on his blogposts. So I checked them out and sent him a few comments. Then I thought, hey, that might make a good blogpost!

In the end, I came up with 5 points. And they are so basic, so easy to understand, that I decided to try to compress them into 140 characters, or about 25 words. So here you are: my first blogpost that was also a single tweet on Twitter.

5 rules to improve your blog:
* Get to the point fast;
* Stay out of the story;
* Focus on readers' needs;
* Protect Brand You;
* Stick to 1 big theme.

Let me know if you'd like me to elaborate on any of these points.

(I wonder what else could be compressed into a single Twitter post...? How about the 10 Commandments:
Top 10: No other gods; no idols; don't say O God!; sleep in Sunday; honor mom & dad; don't kill, steal or lie; nix to adultery; no jealousy.
140 characters. Bingo!)