When you watch Chris Sacca spar with Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner on “Shark Tank” in his season 7 debut, he seems like an old member of the cast.
But just a year ago, the billionaire Silicon Valley investor wrote in a blog post, he considered it a “dime-store version of my current job.”
After catching a re-run last fall in which an investor demonstrated a puke bib for children by spilling soup through a papier mache doll, he tweeted at his friends Mark Cuban and Daymond John to “Come back to the big boy game.”
Several months later, Sacca found himself on the “Shark Tank” set to film a few episodes, making deals and loving it.
The path to his change of heart began when both Cuban and John replied to him over Twitter and explained that his snark was misplaced, and that “Shark Tank” was part of a cultural movement that was inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs in America.
Sacca warmed up to that idea but still found the whole process to be a “goofy” version of the process he had undergone with companies like Uber and Twitter.
Sacca told Business Insider that by coincidence, he found himself at a friend’s family Halloween party with Clay Newbill, a “Shark Tank” executive producer. They got to talking about the show, and when Sacca said he understood the appeal of the show but would never participate, Newbill told him he and his fellow producers would love to hear how the show would need to change in order for him to participate.
Sacca then found himself talking about the show with showrunner Mark Burnett and his “Shark Tank” executive producers as well as Sony executives. He said that they actually considered his suggestions and began implementing them, including ideas on how to make the investor panel and batch of entrepreneurs more diverse, as well as bringing on more tech companies.
Happy with his conversations, he decided he’d give the show a shot.
On set, he said he immediately liked how he was able to use the show’s format to get more details from the entrepreneurs than he normally would in a pitch meeting, since “Shark Tank” pitches typically last an hour.
“For the most part I feel like I was really able to dive in and and get a relatively deep understanding of these companies before making a bid,” he said. He was thrown off by figuring out deals without a calculator, but enjoyed the thrill of the competition with the other Sharks.
“You’ve got a panel of five really loud, aggressive talkers and so you’ve got to just jump in and talk over them,” he said. “That took me a few minutes on the first day to figure out and once I got it, I had a blast.”
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