Shark Tank is a television phenomenon. It is one of the most watched shows in the country, averaging 7.5 million viewers. The show is a kind of American Idol for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Aspiring business persons and inventors present their ideas to a panel of venture capitalists. As the entrepreneurs attempt to demonstrate the worth of their products or sell the investors on their ideas, all sorts of dramatic and quirky things happen.
Is This Really How Things Work?
There has been a great deal of criticism of the show by business and media experts—especially its premise. Shark Tank pushes the notion that people with great ideas can become rich if only they can find people with money to listen to their ideas.
It also suggests that people do not become millionaires through a succession of lucky breaks and chance events, but through hard work and determination. Some say that this distorts the reality of how business works in real life. Others have gone so far as to call Shark Tank a form of “success porn”.
The Basics of Entrepreneurship
There are also experts think that Shark Tank can be instructive. Venture capitalist Tim Draper, founder of Draper University, says that shows like Shark Tank can teach aspiring entrepreneurs about equity capital and the basics of making an effective pitch. It can teach budding business persons how to take the first steps toward founding a new enterprise.
Cool New Products
One of the great things about Shark Tank is that it advertises cool new products. Some of the featured inventions are really good. In fact, some of the entrepreneurs have gone on to make millions of dollars.
Some of the more popular products include AVA the Elephant, an animal-shaped medicine dropper for kids; ChordBuddy, a guitar attachment for novice musicians; and Squatty Potty, a bathroom step stool that aims to improve toilet posture.
The Heart of the Show
In the end, people watch Shark Tank for the thrill of the thing. It shows underdogs who beat the odds. It features ordinary people who have great ideas doing their best to get them funded. In most instances, the people making the pitches are not trying to get into show business. They really want to get their business idea funded.
The show business aspect comes from the sharks—the people on the panel who offer deals to the participants. Many people tune into Shark Tank to watch the investors. Many of the latter have become what may be called celebrity capitalists as a result.
There is often drama, tension, and conflict among the investors as they decide which ideas to put money into. As with all reality shows, people tend to wonder whether they get along in real life.
Are the Sharks Friends in Real Life?
Shark Tank would be quite a boring show if the investors always agreed or spoke calmly and politely to each other. That is not the temper of the age. People who watch television expect to be entertained. And we live at a time in which snark, sarcasm, and put downs make for good television.
Kevin O’ Leary, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond, and Robert Herjavec are the sharks of the show. They are its anchor. They often engage in bidding wars with each other to get the best deals.
The money offered and the percentages taken are not pretend. They are not only for show. They are real, and so the stakes are high. This prompts the panelists to fight and make jokes about each other.
But the big question is are they friends or enemies in real life? And furthermore, do they hang out together off show?
They may play sharks for the cameras, but they are, in fact, human beings. It should be no surprise that after ten years of making television and making deals together that the investors on Shark Tank are friends in real life.
“We truly respect one another and enjoy each other’s company,” Lori Greiner once wrote on her Instagram account.
The sharks often go out for drinks together, go to the beach, and even hit the Miami club scene together. Shark, Daymond John, the founder and CEO of FUBU, often has dinner and drinks with Mark Cuban and describes his friend as a “beer and chips kind of guy”.
John is known as the funniest of the sharks, and has been known to send the entire panel into stitches. Whether the camera is on or off, he is always cracking jokes and he goes out of his way to build relationships with each shark.
Barbara Corcoran recently posted a photo of the gang hanging out at a local bar in LA after a show tapping. Corcoran regularly invites the others to her beach house for dinner and drinks.
Indeed, a moment’s look at the social media accounts of any of the sharks will confirm that they love being in one another’s company. They often post pictures of themselves having drinks together and laughing off-set.
…and He Shows His Pearly Whites
This line from the famous Louis Armstrong song sums up the relationship of the sharks off-set. When they are dealing with potential investments, they bite with such teeth. But they also show their pearly white, which is to say there is a great deal of smiling among the crew.
They are all successful business persons, and they respect one another’s intelligence and business acumen. They have a great deal in common, which is why they are on the show to begin with. The mutual respect and admiration are real.
What viewers see as fierce competition to get the best deals is something that the sharks are used to. It is how things are done in the world of business. And the jokes that they make at each other’s expense are a form of brotherly and sisterly teasing. It is never meant to be offensive.
The bottom line is that the sharks do get on well. They are friends in real life.