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HOME > The Apprentice > The Apprentice: Los Angeles

'Apprentice' runner-up James Sun still confused, but didn't want job


By Christopher Rocchio and Steve Rogers, 04/25/2007 

James Sun still isn't sure why he was fired by Donald Trump during the finale of NBC's The Apprentice: Los Angeles, but frankly, his subconscious was telling him he didn't want to work for Trump anyways.

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Before Trump fired Sun and hired Stefanie Schaffer at the conclusion of Sunday night's live The Apprentice sixth season finale, Trump told Sun, "I didn't like some of the dialogue... you know what I mean" -- a cryptic comment that has confounded both viewers and Sun, the CEO of Zoodango.com, a networking website for business professionals.

"As of right now, I [still] don't know what the heck Donald Trump was referring to with this 'mysterious dialogue.' He looked at me and said, 'You know what I mean,' which confused me even more. I was completely dumbfounded," said Sun in blog entry he penned for Zoodango on Monday.

Sun says he kept a 150 page journal of "every single day" of the competition, and, after reviewing it, he counted "only two negative comments to me by Donald Trump," and both came following challenges and weren't particularly harsh.

"These were the only references to direct negative statements from Donald Trump to me during the entire season," wrote Sun.  "On the other hand, I can give you at least 23 [journal] references when he gave me praise.  Even when I took negative heat in the boardroom, Donald Trump stood up for me and did not fire me.  So this throws out the theory that this mysterious dialogue occurred during the actual taping of the season."

Although he acknowledges saying some "negative things" about his competitors in his confessional interviews with The Apprentice's producers, Sun also doesn't believe Trump was referring to anything he said in those interviews.

"The reality is that everyone made these kinds of statements," wrote Sun.  "The producers ask you all kinds of 'funny' questions that lead you into saying something comical or sarcastic about your competitors... the purpose of this is to make entertaining television.  So this throws out the assumption that this mysterious dialogue happened during our personal interviews."

After ruling out the show's tasks, boardroom sessions and his confessional interviews, the 29-year-old Seattle resident thinks Trump might have taken issue with some of the comments he made during a pre-taped personal video the show aired before Trump made his final decision.

"[In the video, I mentioned how] I quit a six-figure job to start my own company and focused on my conviction of why I wanted to be my own boss. I also mentioned how much I enjoy my time with family. Next, I committed the big 'slap on the hand' by answering [a Donald Trump Jr.] question [by noting] that I am the current founder and CEO of Zoodango.com," wrote Sun.  "In the real world, this statement would be 100% okay. But on television -- especially on Donald Trump's show where companies pay millions of dollars for product endorsements -- any reference to a company is treated as an endorsement for promoting the company."

While Sun said he was being "100% honest" that he didn't "intentionally bring up" the name of his business, he figures that may been what landed him in hot water with his potential employer.  However he still stands by his decisions.

"If I could do the whole finale all over again, would I have created the same video footage of my family, the speech about being an entrepreneur, and promoting Zoodango.com," wrote Sun.  "I have no choice... I am who I am. I am a proud family man. I love being an entrepreneur. And I love Zoodango.com."

Sun says he considered Trump "a quite sensible and rational business executive," and thought based on that, his chances of being crowned The Apprentice "looked pretty good."  But despite entering the finale believing that he was likely to win The Apprentice: Los Angeles, Sun now says he didn't really want Trump's job.

"During the finale, I made a subconscious decision to choose my life today over the life that Trump's new job could offer," wrote Sun.  "Not that Trump's deal isn't great... it's a phenomenal opportunity to work with Donald Trump making $250,000. It just wasn't for me this time around. 

"Our subconscious makes all kinds of decisions... we just have to recognize when it happens," wrote Sun.  "It's very self-revealing and empowering because it tells you what's important in your life. Did I have to go on The Apprentice and make it to the finale to realize my subconscious priorities? No.  But in this case, it all worked out."

"All in all, this was a great experience," concluded Sun's post.  "I still wish I had won because I'm just a competitive guy, but I believe Stefani has the right industry background.  I live in a world of the Web 2.0 and social networking and the Internet; not quite the world of Donald Trump. I only wish I could have gotten a more clear and definitive reason why I lost this game, but that's the game of life...some things are meant to be in the gray."

(Photo credit NBC)


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