Dragons Den has become a bit of a staple on TV as it has in many countries around the world. The main reason for this is that the premise for the show is so simple. A person comes and pitches a business idea to the “dragons”. The “dragons” decide if they want to invest in the company or idea. Each pitcher has to decide on how much money they want from the dragons and how much equity of their business they are willing to hand over to the dragons.
When it first started, it drew, a lot of criticism. This was mainly because in front of each dragon there is a table with a huge pile of money on it. Whether this money is real or not is not known. The presence of this money in a weird way gave the dragons even more power than they had already. It was like the pitcher was performing monkey that the dragons only invested in a whim.
However, as the series went on and the dragons kept on changing, the programme changed a little. You started to hear the back stories of the pitchers. It developed a kind of warmness to it. You got to know about the dragons too and their backgrounds. Occasionally the dragons genuinely wanted to help these fledgling businesses navigate themselves around a real dog eat dog world. You can see the frustration sometimes with the dragons trying to make the pitcher understand that the business world isn’t full of sweetness and light.
The current dragons are Peter Jones, who’s been there since the beginning, Deborah Meadon and newbies Neil Jenkins, who founded Moonpig.com, Touker Sulyman, who’s described as a fashion tycoon and serial restaurant owner Sarah Willingham. Each dragon has their own speciality. Peter Jones is a bit of an IT whizz. Anything to do with websites or technology seems to get directed at him. Deborah Meadon is linked with travel and hospitality. Any gadget to do with travel is normally aimed at her. It’s good that they have a foodie in the shape of Sarah Willingham. Quite a large majority of pitches are associated with food.
All this is overseen by Evan Davies who has the rather annoying habit of repeating everything that has just happened. However, you can block this out after a while.
Over time it’s quite clear what works, and what doesn’t. You must know you finances as the dragons go through the figures with a fine-tooth comb. I’m quite surprised that some of the pitchers are quite shocked at this. They seem to think that as the dragons have a lot of money, they won’t mind parting from it. One of the previous dragons, Theo Paphitis, would say “You want me to squander my child’s inheritance on this?!?” They may have a lot of money but they are just like us when it comes to parting with it.
There have been some success stories and not so successful stories associated with Dragons’ Den. The media takes delight in featuring ideas that the dragons chose not to invest in, which turned out to be successful. Schadenfreude sells good copy.
The reason I’m writing about Dragons’ Den is I have an idea to pitch. I have no idea how much money I will need or how much equity I want to release. Preferably none at all. My idea is this. It’s a patch. A patch like a nicotine patch. This patch could do a whole manner of things. It could administer medication. It could take blood. It could give fluids to dehydrated people. It could give blood for blood transfusions. It could give dialysis for people awaiting a kidney transplant. It could administer dye for scans. It could be used for chemotherapy. It could do anything medically that involves a needle. Needles would become obsolete. Nurses would have more time to deal with patients than spend countless hours cannulating patients. It would completely revolutionise the medical establishment. It would mean that we would be free from the pumping machines!
However, it would never happen. I would have got something wrong with the patent and my finances would be cack handed. My yearly profit predictions would be grossly unrealistic and my proto type would explode everywhere. So needles it is then. Wait for it…sharp scratch.
I was now on Herceptin which is widely regarded as a breast cancer drug. Dr C decided to relinquish me from her grasp and hand me over to Dr H. Dr H was a breast cancer oncologist. She was used to dealing with Herceptin and its side effects. In my first appointment with her, she was honest and up front. Yet she also gave me some hope.
“After you have finished the 18 weeks of Herceptin and Paclitaxel, you will just solely but on Herceptin. You will need to have this every three weeks until it stops working. Anna, I want you to understand that eventually the Herceptin will stop working.”
Myself and my husband nodded.
“After six weeks, we’ll scan you to see how it’s going. If it’s going well, we may be able to stop the treatment with the Paclitaxel after six weeks and then go straight onto the Herceptin.”
When she said this, I heard – you will finish your treatment in six weeks.
Six weeks into treatment and it was Christmas. I had my scan and I bought the chemo nurses bundles of treats thinking that I wouldn’t be seeing them in the New Year. I was brought crashing down to earth with a bang.
My husband and I went to my oncology appointment to discuss my scan results. It wasn’t Dr H but a confused looking registrar. Confused because his speciality was breast cancer and I clearly didn’t have that.
“Mmmm…the tumour in your head is stable as is the one on your lung. Could you now go and have your blood taken? You’ll have your next chemo on Thursday.”
“Tumour in her lung!?!” said my husband. “No one has EVER mentioned that before!”
The registrar looked up to see me open mouthed, on the verge of tears.
“Urm… well the report mentions some scarring on the lung…”
“Surely that’s from the radiotherapy which would also explain why it hasn’t changed!”
“Plus Dr H said I could finish chemo after six weeks!” I said
“I’m afraid that’s definitely not the case. You need the full eighteen weeks.”
I wanted to cry. Although the tumour on the lung was a bit of a shock, I just couldn’t face the idea of more chemo. Twelve more weeks of being tied to that God-awful machine. Twelve more weeks of needles being stuck everywhere. Twelve weeks of wanting to be anywhere than slumped in a chair earwigging the inane conversations of strangers.
We both left the appointment livid in our own separate ways.
Thankfully the following week, Dr H cleared up the confusion. It was just scarring on my lung from the radiotherapy. But I would still need both six week blocks of chemo. Drat.