Shark Tank is another in a long line of American Idol-style "panel" shows in which a team of judges decides whether to recruit a contestant or rain down cruel judgment upon them with cameras eagerly rolling. Only Shark Tank has a twist - the contestants are entrepreneurs, and the Sharks are venture capitalists who are being pitched for an initial investment and equity stake in their start-up companies.
It's easy to see why an Objectivist might fall head over heels for the show - at a glance, it's capitalism on steroids. Most of the contestants are stay-at-home-mom types who bake a fattier cupcake or sew a cuter baby bonnet and want to live out their dream of taking the market by storm. It's a compelling narrative, bolstered by cut-scene success stories of picked-up contestants bathing in caviar and lighting cigars with 100-dollar bills.
So why the cause for O-heartburn? It's more obvious in some cases than others, but the real value of being on Shark Tank doesn't appear to be the seed money at all, which some of the contestants even admit they don't actually need. Instead, it appears that the "free" publicity of appearing on television and the connections of the Sharks are the true commodities that rocket adopted products to success (you'll find "As Seen on Shark Tank!" plastered all over the company websites). Much of the discussion in the Tank centers around competition - specifically how the investor might shut competition off through design or utility patents on their products.
Maybe I'm mistaken, but I don't think Rand would have been a fan.