From the Mouth of the Dragon
HarbourLiving.ca Talks with
The Wealthy Barber, David Chilton
He's a straight-talking household name in the world of money matters. David Chilton is a businessman, speaker, author, publisher and now...Dragon.
He literally wrote the book on personal finance with The Wealthy Barber, and has done it yet again with The Wealthy Barber Returns. This season on CBC he brings a lifetime of investment experience to The Dragon's Den, and we recently met with him to talk about it.
HL: You're a very busy man. What finally lured you into the Dragons Den?
DC: I've said no to a lot of TV opportunities over the years, and mostly didn't even think about it. But when you're asked to be on one of your favourite shows, it doesn't matter if you're 5 years old or 50...it's a cool thing. I had mixed feelings initially, because I'm a very low-key person. I've been very lucky in my life with the Wealthy Barber brand, because although everybody knows the name, most don't necessarily know me. Now to go on national television with over a million viewers, it's a whole different thing. And I'm glad I decided to do it...what a completely enjoyable experience!
HL: What sorts of other projects are you juggling with the series?
DC: I'm on a speaking tour as well at the moment, and when I got word from CBC about the show, I had a huge number of things to move around really quickly, and I can't believe how great people have been about it. And it's because all of them are big fans of the show. They were more excited about it than even I was, and were happy to help make it happen.
HL: Do you think you've brought something different to the show than we've seen in the past?
DC: Yes definitely something different! I'm a true small-business man, and run a one-man company with an assistant, so I look at things from a slightly different angle. So most of the pitchers who come on the show are small operations working out of their basement, or starting up in the garage. And that's something I know about and can relate to. I'm also very interested in the people themselves. If you get the right person, with passion and the right attention to detail and pride of craftsmanship, you can overcome a lot of obstacles. Yes, you're guaging math and margins...but you're really getting a feel for the person. Plus you're assessing all of this in a very short interview...and there's no cheating!
HL: So tell us a little about that. What really happens behind the scenes?
DC: When I came on the show I thought they were going to help us. I thought we'd get hints, maybe get a dossier or they'd whisper questions into our ears. None of the above! There is no scripting and no rehearsal. What you see on the show is completely real. So I had a few edgy moments in 20 days of taping...some nasty and some really funny. So when the pitchers come down those stairs, somebody's really bringing me an idea and it's a real venture capital meeting.
And real fights.
HL: Any Vancouver Island people bringing good things to the table?
DC: My favourite pitch by far was from the Island. It's killing me that I can't tell you about it. We had a ton of them! There were great auditions all across the Island as well as the lower mainland, and it's very well represented. Some great and some wacky but it won't let you down.
HL: Not wacky...divergent-thinking.