Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran is on the cover of the November issue of Inc., and in the accompanying story, she is surprisingly candid about the people she’s invested in and the show that brought her national attention. The ABC show, she says, has led to people believing the wrong things about entrepreneurship.
For example, the story points out that Barbara keeps photos in her office of the entrepreneurs she’s partnered with on the show, not including ones that have gone out of business, which get removed. Of the remaining 27, she’s flipped some of them upside down, because they “Are not going to build a big business.” Ouch!
In Inc.’s cover story, she says that the best entrepreneurs she’s worked with, whose photos aren’t upside down:
- are “sickly competitive”;
- don’t use her money but “keep it in reserve for a rainy day”; and
- “don’t listen to me. It’s almost like I started out thinking I’d be a good business partner and mentor, and now I’ve concluded that all I really am is a shrink who asks, ‘What do you think?'”
That definitely challenges the show’s narrative that the show and the sharks themselves are responsible for the businesses’ wild success. Barbara also thinks the show has harmed :
“Shark Tank’s made everybody believe that if they have one good idea, they can get rich overnight. It’s made people believe that the pitch is the business. All the pitch is is the first date. It is the building of the business and the marriage. Also, it’s made people believe that the right way to fund any business is through investors, by giving away equity, which makes absolutely no sense to 99 percent of the businesses out there.”
Barbara also says that, while she is “exactly the same person” now, “the whole world treats me as if I’m somebody new. It’s a joke. It’s false fame.”