Why ‘Shark Tank’s’ Daymond John Loves Having Guest Sharks on the Show
ABC’s reality show Shark Tank continues to be a fan favorite. The steady panel of Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary has contributed to the show’s success, where they now have each earned celebrity status.
Over the years, the show has invited some guest sharks into the tank to possibly partner with aspiring entrepreneurs. High-profile names including Alex Rodriguez, Ashton Kutcher, and Bethenny Frankel have all appeared to take a swim with in the tank. John has previously shared why he looks forward to having guests on the panel.
Swim away from ‘gold diggers’
The sharks actively vote against entrepreneurs who come on the show for publicity rather than an investment, referring to these contestants as ‘gold diggers.’ When he doubted an entrepreneur’s intentions in one episode, John had to enlighten a guest shark on a potential gold digger.
“Recently, I got into a big fight with–I can’t say who, but one of our guest Sharks. A contestant came on who had a very high valuation of a young tech company,” John told with Inc. “They had several million dollars in the bank. And they were looking for more capital. To me, 99.9 percent of the people watching the show can’t even grasp having millions in capital.”
The Shark Tank star feels that entrepreneurs with plenty of funds rob other applicants who are more in need of the opportunity to get on the show. John wanted to prevent a guest Shark from getting taken by a possible ruse.
“I started yelling at the contestant, because I felt this person didn’t need us and was taking away an opportunity from some struggling mother who mortgaged everything after working on her company for eight years,” John shared. “I felt that person was very self-absorbed. They could have run around Silicon Valley and gotten the money, no problem. I was upset with the guest Shark because they were ready to invest. They were saying, “Oh, that’s not so bad.’ I guess that’s the beauty of the show. Maybe that person will create the next Facebook, and then I’d be wrong.”
New point of view
John welcomes the chance to have guest sharks on the show, sharing that it gives newcomers the opportunity to witness the idiosynchrasies of the panelists.
“The reason I love the guest Sharks is that you’re sitting next to Kevin [O’Leary] for 10 years and when he says, ‘You’re dead to me’ in year one, you go, ‘Oh, my god. How dare you?'” John said. “After he says, ‘You’re dead to me’ in the eighth year, you go, ‘Ugh. Shut up.’ It’s like your rude uncle or your rude cousin at the table. You know he’s going to pick his nose at Thanksgiving.”
The FUBU owner also values the new point of view a guest shark can bring to the tank. “They have a different opinion and you don’t necessarily know where they stand,” John explained. “It creates a debate that maybe I can learn from. Maybe they can learn from. So it just adds a great dynamic. Like bringing someone into a family dinner to fight with us.”
Learning from mistakes
The fashion guru has also spoken of the important lessons he’s learned from past failures in business. “I had a company that my partners and I were financing, a ladies apparel company [Heatherette], and we spent about $6 million in funding the company,” John told Inc. “We had to shut it down because we realized we were going to be out of more and more money.”
Unfortunately, John had to let go of part of his staff, but he was determined to not make the same mistake again. “The bad part about it was, we had to fire 15 people and let down the partners we invested in, because they thought that we’d be able to take it to another level,” he said. “You have to learn from that.”
This season will showcase more guest sharks including Maria Sharapova, Rohan Oza, Katrina Lake, and Daniel Lubetzky.
Watch ABC’s Shark Tank on Sunday nights!