I continue to be fascinated by the TV show Shark Tank. I’ve written about this before, but today I wanted to focus on a specific aspect of the show: ultimatums.
At least once per episode, one of the investors will propose a deal to an entrepreneur, and they’ll end it with something like: “I need your answer now.” They often say directly or indirectly that if the entrepreneur talks to anyone else, the deal is off and they’re out.
As an entrepreneur myself, it seems absolutely crazy that anyone would want to work with someone who doles out those types of ultimatums on the spot. And it seems just as crazy that an investor would want to work with an entrepreneur who is willing to get pushed around and takes the first deal offered to them.
But it’s become a pillar of the show. Really, it happens in every episode. And if the offer is retracted due to the entrepreneur asking other sharks if they’d like to make offers, they’re treated like they made the mistake.
I understand that the investors are negotiating, and they want to get the best deal before it turns into a bidding war. But it just seems like a terrible way to begin a relationship with someone.
If I were on Shark Tank and an investor gave me this type of ultimatum, I’d like to think I’d say something like, “I want to find a partner who appreciates when I make a fully informed decision, so I’m going to have to decline.”
What would you say if a shark gave you an ultimatum?