Mark Cuban always seems to come out on top.
He sold his first company MicroSolutions, for $US6 million. He did even better with his next company, Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo for almost $US6 billion.
Almost immediately after, Cuban sold all of his Yahoo stock, netting $US2 billion in cash for himself. Weeks later, the market crashed.
Since then, Cuban has continued to work and invest. He owns the Dallas Mavericks and a cable channel. Plus he’s all over the media — taking bites out of would-be entrepreneurs on ABC’s pitch show “Shark Tank” and lighting up the conference circuit.
Cuban is known for saying what other people only think. Here are some of our favourite quotes.
Nicholas Carlson and Drake Baer contributed to an earlier version of this article.
On making a billion dollars
“The billion was, ‘I can’t f—— believe it.’ Literally, I was sitting in front of a computer, naked, hitting the refresh because we were close — waiting until my net worth hit that billion when the stock price got to a certain point, and then I kinda screamed and jumped around and then got dressed.”
“If you’re prepared, and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.”
On his approach to each day
“My dad says it over and over, ‘Today’s the youngest you’re ever going to be. You’ve got to live like it. You’ve got to live young every day.’ And that’s what I try to do.”
On his management style
“I micromanage you until I trust you. It’s a back and forth continually … If I send you 30 emails, I expect quick responses and direct action. Then we’ll go to weekly reports. And I want the bad news first. I want to read, ‘God dammit, we lost this sale.’ I want to know the setbacks so that I can help you.”
“I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how many times you failed. You only have to be right once. I tried to sell powdered milk. I was an idiot lots of times, and I learned from them all.”
“Relaxing is for the other guy. I may be sitting in front of the TV, but I’m not watching it unless I think there is something I can learn from it. I’m thinking about things I can use in my business, and the TV is just there.”
On making life fun for employees
“Keep a pulse on the stress levels and accomplishments of your people and reward them. My first company, MicroSolutions, when we had a record sales month, or someone did something special, I would walk around handing out $100 bills to salespeople.”
On owning the Mavericks
“Everybody thinks that we are in the basketball business. It’s an NBA game; we’re not in the basketball business. We’re in the business of creating unique experiences.”
On staying ahead of the game
“Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it all away from you.”
“I’m the one guy who says don’t force the stupid people to be quiet — I want to know who the morons are.”
“It’s not about money or connections — it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone … And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”
“I love to compete. To me, business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. There is always someone trying to beat me.”
On buying ‘swag’ for your employees
“A sure sign of failure for a startup is when someone sends me logo-embroidered polo shirts. If your people are at shows and in public, it’s okay to buy for your own employees, but if you really think people are going to wear your branded polo when they’re out and about, you are mistaken and have no idea how to spend your money.”
On what kind of business to start
“Don’t start a company unless it’s an obsession and something you love. If you have an exit strategy, it’s not an obsession.”
On why startups should never hire PR firms
“I’m a believer that you accomplish much, much more with direct relationships than by using an intermediary. And that cash you keep in the bank can be the difference between staying alive as a small business, or not.”
On customer service
“Treat your customers like they own you. Because they do.”
“No balls, no babies. … Once you are prepared and you think you have every angle of preparation covered, you have to go for it.”
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