Behind The Scene
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Mark Cuban has always been enthusiastic and sports fanatic. At the age of 12, he was selling garbage bags with the only purpose to buy a new pair of high-end basketball sneakers. However, this dealing sowed the seeds of business dealing to come. Throughout his high school, he continued to work anything like promoting disco parties and bartending.
Got His First Job (which ended up firing him)
After completing his graduation from Indiana University, he got his first job in the early 80’s in a software company named, Your Business Software. During his time in a company, PC’s were growing swiftly and he made a handsome relationships with multiple software clients. He started began meeting the clients on the side to seek the business opportunity to grow his own business. Seeing this, the company fired him but his clients came with him.
Give Me My Money
After getting fired from his job, he launched his own company named, MicroSolutions, without wasting any time. The company was based on software reselling which gained a lot of publicity in a very short time.
Few years later, in 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe for $6 million. After clearing all the taxes, Cuban ended up with $2 million in his pocket.
In the mid 90’s he was busy trading in stocks. He became the investor and at that point, Cuban had turned his $2 million into $20 million.
The Big Deal
His passion for Sports curved into a huge profitable business. In 1998, along with his college friend, Todd Wagner, Cuban started another company named, Audionet.com. Both were huge fan of basketball, their business was online portal merging basketball and webcasting. Later on, he changed the company’s name to Broadcast.com.
Broadcast.com was one of the many successes during the dot-com boom before the bubble burst. Cuban and Wagner grew the company to the point that it eventually employed over 300 people, bringing in $100 million in annual revenue by late 90’s.
The Turning Point
When dot com was booming, he decided to sell Broadcast.com to Yahoo. Finally, in 1999, Yahoo picked it up for $5.9 billion in Yahoo stock. When the deal was officially closed, it was the peak time of dot com and Yahoo’s stock was trading at $163 per share.
After six months, when he had full access to his stocks share, he gambles all his shares and dumped entire stake on the open market. Within a week, he sold every single share of Yahoo and was left with $2.5 billion in cash to his side.
And the most interesting part is, the share that he sold for nearly $160 crashes within the next 18 months to $8.11 per share.
Sky Is Not The Limit
Cuban also expanded the industries he had a hand in, reuniting with Todd Wagner to form 2929 Entertainment, which put a stake in Landmark Theatres (a chain of movie theaters) and AXS TV (a high-definition television programming network formerly known as HDNet).
Barely over 40, Cuban was a straight-up billionaire. Cuban’s first big decision with his money? Purchase a jet. Cuban’s purchase of a Gulfstream V jet, at $40 million, was awarded by Guinness as the largest single internet purchase.
The Shark Tank
Mark Cuban wanted to be a TV star fairly soon after becoming a billionaire. In 2004, he created “The Benefactor,” a reality show on ABC where contestants vied to win $1 million from Cuban by showing that they had offbeat skills that could help them succeed in business. However, dismal ratings led to a quick cancellation after one season.
In season 2 of “Shark Tank,” the reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of wealthy investors in an attempt to get funding, Mark Cuban began appearing as a panelist. By season 3, he was a full-time panelist. Season 3 is also when the ratings for “Shark Tank” began to improve, and by season 6 the show was averaging over 9 million viewers an episode – nearly double its numbers from the first season.
Cuban has invested in dozens of companies via the show. The largest investment was $2 million, which he put into Ten Thirty One Productions, an entertainment company. It was a 20% stake.
These investments aren’t simply for show, either; Cuban has made profits off some of these decisions. The most notable one was that of Rugged Maniac, an obstacle course race. Cuban invested $1.75 million in the organizer. When New Media Investment Group paid $10.4 million for an 80% stake, Cuban, as he did after selling Broadcast.com, sold his stake, basically doubling the investment.
When Mark Cuban was running one of his first companies, his secretary stole $83,000 dollars out of the $85,000 dollars they had saved. Cuban tried to get his money back but it wasn’t possible. Instead of dwelling on the problem, Cuban focused on the positives, and what he could do to continue to succeed. He never saw or heard from that secretary again; she probably changed her name. Cuban got right back to work, and he never stopped, just call him the energizer bunny. Key takeaway is to be able to let go of people who have wronged you, and move on. Taking time out of your day to try and get revenge is only a waste of time.
The Three Step Formula For Success
As billionaire Mark Cuban will tell you, there is no set road map for success.
That said, there are certain things you can do to put yourself in the best position to succeed. Below, we unpack Cuban’s three-step formula for finding success:
Understand Your Skill Set
Contrary to conventional career advice, Cuban warns against following your passion. Instead, Cuban recommends finding something that you’re good at and then focusing your time and effort on developing that skill set.
That’s precisely what Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates did while attending Lakeside School. Gates taught other students computer skills, digitized his school’s class schedule and even hacked the scheduling system to be placed in all-girls classes. Understanding his skill set allowed Gates to eventually build a hugely successful company.
Instead of fixating on his passion, Mark looked at the world with open eyes, and solved a problem that needed to be solved. In turn, when he sold that company nine years later, he then bought an entire NBA team, which he now also runs as a business.
Find The Right Industry
Where you put your skills to use is just as important as the skills themselves, says Cuban.
The billionaire recalls going to a competition where attendees shared the business plans they thought would make them a fortune. One idea that was proposed was reselling travel plans and making $3 in affiliate commissions. Cuban says he knew right away that plan wouldn’t make anyone wealthy. It’s just not going to happen.
One of his first jobs out of college was in technology. Though Cuban admits that he cheated his way through the only computer class he ever took, the entrepreneur soon realized that this area was the right place to be at the right time. So he put his skills to good use and joined the tech industry.
Go For It
Success takes hard work, which means that have to put in the effort.
With so much competition, he explains, you must be willing to outwork everyone else in your industry and know the business inside and out.
Even after staking his claim in the industry, the billionaire made sure that he was always up-to-date on new software and devices — a habit he retains to this day. By grinding harder than his competitors, he was able to achieve repeat successes.
Surround Yourself With Motivated People
Only hire people who are as motivated as you are.
Mark started MicroSolutions with his friend Scott. Broadcast.com was started with another friend of his, Todd Wagner. The first few people you hire will make or break your company.
Therefore, you’d better hire people who are just as motivated as you to get stuff done and move the company forward, not just collect their salary, do average work and go home.
If you restrict yourself to hiring really motivated people, you’ll automatically grow slowly and allow all of your employees to develop the customer-centric approach your business needs to have to thrive and not just survive.
Even when he was already a billionaire, Mark Cuban kept responding to customer complaints personally, which shows how deeply seated his motivation truly is.
Understand Your Skill Set
Do NOT follow what you are passionate about. Do find something that you’re good at and then do focus your time and effort on developing that skill set.
Find The Right Industry
Never EVER forget that where you put your skills to use is just as important as the skills themselves.
Go All In Or Do Nothing
Success takes hard work, which means that have to put in the effort. By grinding harder than your competitors, you will be able to achieve repeat successes.
Surround Yourself With Motivated People
Only hire people who are as motivated as you are. So don’t settle for average employees – hire people who are just as driven as you are!
Great companies start without investors. Mark cites Apple, Dell and Microsoft as a few examples. Given that he’s a venture capitalist, and he’s recommending not to take venture money, it’s certainly worth trying to avoid. That’s probably not possible in some cases – but it makes sense if you can pull it off.
Billionaire and owner of many profitable businesses, Mark Cuban started from the bottom now he’s where he’s at, and he’s lovin it.
The most brilliant minds throughout history have all been in some ways an autodidact; that is, a self-taught person. Cuban himself is very much an autodidact, teaching himself how to program as well as continuously reading and learning. Cuban reads multiple hours each day, and it pays off!
You are going to screw up. We all do. But no matter what happens, every morning, the minute after you wipe away the crust from your eyes, remind yourself that you’re going to enjoy every minute of the day.
Business happens over years and years. Value is measured in the total upside of a business relationship, not by how much you squeezed out in any one deal.
You are going to enjoy all the bullshit you have to deal with as you chase your goals and dreams, because you want to remember them all. Each and every experience will serve as motivation and provide great memories when you finally make it all happen.
It’s your choice. Now, what are you going to do?”
Mark Cuban’s Picks
Digital Dandy. Hacker From Heart. Workaholic. Coding Artist. Self-made.