mark cuban

Mark Cuban, this is my AMA

ask me anything, im ready to go

On Shark Tank, how many of the deals get modified or cancelled after the cameras stop rolling? Also, have you ever decided to make a deal with someone after the cameras stop?

we get the chance to do due diligence after the show. As a result you uncover things that were not brought up in the show , so its not unusual for a deal to fall through in the DD phase. I have had things like people who never paid their taxes, people who lied on the show, people who didnt think that if they spent money on their personal credit cards it should be considered an expense., you name it.
There is so much pressure on the entrepeneur during the show that sometimes they say what they think we want to hear rather than the truth. The DD helps us seperate the two

How many of the deals have you had to break off in the due diligence phase?

probably about 25pct of them have something wrong

What is something everyone should know before starting a small business?

its not about the idea, its about how prepared you are. Everyone has ideas, most dont do the work required to get the job done. The 2nd thing you need to know is that sales are the most important aspect of a small business. No sales, no company.

What are you most proud of?

my family. in particular my kids
Im excited about the Mavs and what we are doing at AXS TV and really what we are doing at all my businesses

What does a billionaire buy his kids for Christmas?

the same junk that everyone else buys.

How many of your investments on Shark Tank actually make a profit?

ive only lost money on 1, toygaroo.

How do you like being on the “shark tank”? Is it very scripted or do you guys speak freely?

shark tank is not scripted at all. When the entrepreneur walks into the shark tank the ONLY thing we know is their first name. NOTHING else.
the only “Scripted” part of the show is this…..
the producers tell us before every show —
If an entrepreneur looks like they are going to cry, shut up and let them. They love tears. Thats the only scripting

How close did you come to buying the Cubs?

not close at all. When I couldnt get the owner of the Cubs to sit in a room with me that pretty much told me it wasnt going to happen. I never made a final formal bid

What are some things you’d like to see happen with the future of the Internet and what are some bad things you don’t want to happen?

thats a great question.
I want to see an open API for broadband where we can create apps that leverage 100MBS throughput rather than just putting all apps out in a contentious environment.
that said, i dont want google, apple, etc being able to pay for preferential performance. But i do want high end apps, like medical apps to know they can get bandwidth .
its going to be very interesting to see what apps can pop up on Google Fiber in KC

What was your favourite part of being involved in Entourage?

acting. It uses a part of my brain that is very different from business. Which makes it a huge challenge.
That is why you see me doing commercials, acting , film, its a unique challenge for me, which i love

What advice would you give to an undecided college student finished with general studies and eager to get a degree?

pick a school that you can afford to go to. Dont take on debt. Debt is the anchor you dont want when you graduate. It will force you do to things that may not be in your best long term interests

Have you noticed a slowing down of series A funding in the tech startup world and if so, what are your thoughts?

there is a HUGE bubble in the Valley for tech startups. The valuations have gotten out of hand. When valuations go up beyond the reality point, the funding goes down.
its almost become like the movie business was 10 years ago. THere was so much dumb money coming in and so few actually making money that the suckers finally wised up.

Why do basketball players only get recognition after they’ve been a part of a championship team?

Thats the stupid , macho element of all professional sports. Its a lot easier to just pin a lable on someone than to actually do the work to determine the impact of a player. ITs the same reason everyone over values scoring in the NBA. Scoring is usually the easiest part of the game.

Do you ever feel your wealth is a product of being in the right place at the right time (in relation to the internet bubble of the late 90’s)?

ive made a lot of money from a lot of different companies i have started, but there is no question i made the most money because i knew what i was doing on the net when the internet bubble hit.
Timing didnt make me rich, i was there already. But it put a B next to my name

Have you ever “made it rain”?

no. thats dumb shit that people with real money dont do .

What are some must read books you would recommend to any inspiring entrepreneur?

Every entrepreneur should read How to Win at the Sport of Business. Other books really depend on what you are interested in. I like to read biographies of successful people . Ted Turner’s bio was always big for me because he worked hard and played hard. I also love Ayn Rand books , purely for motivation. I dont get into the whole ethos and political aspects of her writing

Do you think the increased number of technical fouls called is necessary, or are the refs being a little too sensitive?

I think a tech is more a reflection on the officiating than it is on the player with the exception being the guys who just love to yell. ie, the old school Rasheed Wallace.
There are so many fewer techs in college and the coaches in particular there get a lot more beligerant than what you see in the NBA

What got you motivated to owning and running an NBA franchise? Is it worth the stress and toil at the end of the day?

it is a lot of stress but its really a unique challenge and opportunity. There are only 30 of these jobs . When we lose its still painful. It will be 13years next week and losses hurt just about as bad today as they did day one
mybig challenge is to make sure that stress and my competitive nature doesnt spill over to my family

Do you have any advice for someone who would like to work in professional sports?

dont. get a real job

What was Mark Cuban like growing up?

no different than anyone else. Loved sports. Went to public school

Did the Iwanttodrawacatforyou partnership work out?

absolutely. he has paid me back my initial investment already !
iwant to draw a cat for you, cat for you !
google it 1

When it comes to college would you advise going to community college to save money or going to a university and commuting?

only do what you can afford.
college is about learning to learn. its about challenging yourself.
If it were me and i were graduating from high school or close, i would be online taking as many of those MIT/Stanford classes that I could to push and challenge myself. And of course to get the actual knowledge.
I would find an inexpensive university close by and work with them to have them help me create a program that leveraged those online classes with the classes i needed from the school to get the best education at the best price.

If you could change one thing about the NBA, what would it be?

the officiating. Ive spent 13 years trying to make it better and I havent really accomplished anything.

What is the NBA and its ownership doing to improve the quality of the product for the fans at home and in the stands?

i know the Mavs spend a fortune on in game entertainment. we want to make sure that its an outing that you remember for a long time. We work hard at it. I know many other teams follow our lead and copy us. So i think its improving around the league.

Has you’re wealth affected you’re relationships with family/friends? Do you have those awkward cousins you’ve never heard of asking you for cash?

when i first made money, yes. I had one guy ask me for 275k like it was no big deal. My real friends never ask, but because they are real friends and i know their situation, i offer when need be.

IS kevin O’leary a dick?

Kevin O’leary said in his book he puts on a character for the camera’s cause it makes good television and it does. Too bad he decided to embrace the bad guy image. In his business life he has worked very hard to get where he is and genuinely cares about his clients and his current passion O’leary funds.

You seem to have a pretty strong libertarian streak. Care to confirm this? Expand your own political inclinations?

i hate all politics and politicians. But i am a realist. I recognize that the worst position for a person to take is one that is pure ideology.
It doesnt work in business and it is what is really hurting this company.
I guess my new party affiliation is Realist.
Find solutions based on the circumstances we find ourselves in not circumstances we wished we are in

Is there a trend towards returning manufacturing to the US?

i think it will change drastically as we see more and more robotics and factory automation. Cheap labor cant compete with robotics.
when that happens we will still lose manufactoring jobs, but we will see the factories and the intelligence required to create the software to run them move back to the states.
its critical that we as a country dominate in robotics and factory automation. That is how we will take back manufacturing

What car do you drive the most?

lexus hybrid

Do you believe that the numerous books created by those deemed successful by society to merely be those successful people making money? Or, do you genuinely believe that the book is something worth the money?

i read a lot because of the value proposition
the cost of the book + the value of my time <=the value of one good idea to my business
across all the reading and my businesses, its been very valuable to me

When investing in a deal on SharkTank, what sort of upside are you looking for and in what time frame? Looking to make 10x your investment in 4 years, for instance?

I NEVER invest in a business with an exit expectation. Iinvest hoping that they will return cash to me every year and grow to be a huge business. IN a perfect world, none of these are ever sold, they just pay me..
I think the expectation of an exit is one of the worst things that has happened to entrepreneurs over the last 3 or 4 years. People come to me with plans that talk about who might buy them rather than how much cash they can create. Thats not a good way to start a company