Last Sunday's "Shark Tank" had its share of tense moments, but the toughest came when judges debated a thorny question many entrepreneurs face: Can you be truly committed to your startup if you haven't yet quit your job?
The sharks' debate raises some important points for any entrepreneur balancing passions and responsibilities.
Contestant Keisha Smith-Jeremie came to the sharks with Sanaia, an applesauce targeted to adults. The venture had already raised doubts with the sharks thanks to its hard-to-ship glass jars and her confusion over product interest and actual product sales.
But Smith-Jeremie also held down a full-time job as a head of human resources at News Corporation. This was a dealbreaker for some of the sharks, sparking a heated back-and-forth.
"If you really believed in this, you'd quit your job," said shark Kevin O'Leary.
That wasn't possible, Smith-Jeremie explained. She was her family's breadwinner. Quitting "isn't an option for everyone," she added.
O'Leary was unmoved, explaining that he could simply invest in entrepreneurs who had quit their full-time jobs.
Robert Herjavec backed her up, saying O'Leary wasn't being fair to this founder. But shark Mark Cuban weighed in further questioning Smith-Jeremie's commitment. "I get you're a breadwinner. That's always a push-pull that people have," Cuban said. "But at the same time, we all were broke. I'm not convinced."