Mark Cuban has repeatedly said the real reason he’s stayed in the cast of “Shark Tank” is because he strongly supports the way it inspires people, especially kids, to become entrepreneurs. He likes to call the show “the New Age lemonade stand.”
But despite saying that he loves the way the show unites families around an interest in business, he has some strong feelings about kids who appear in the Tank.
“I hate when we have kids on,” Cuban tells Grantland writer Zach Lowe on Lowe’s podcast. “Hate, hate, hate. Kids and animals. Kids and animals are the worst. The worst, the worst, the worst.”
It’s not that he’s a curmudgeon, exactly. It’s just that he thinks these aspects of “good TV” get in the way of business.
He adopted a rule from the renowned venture capitalist Fred Wilson: “The longer the backstory, the worse the deal.” This has made Cuban start getting wary any time there’s a sob story about an entrepreneur’s struggle, or an inspirational tale of a child prodigy, or a cute dog brought in with the intention of making the investors smile.
He especially hates the way so-called child entrepreneurs are often merely mascots for the company their parent created and operates.
It’s also frustrating, he tells Lowe, that he feels the need to censor himself when a kid is in the room. He explains that he’s not going to call a child’s dad an idiot in front of them if that’s what he thinks.
“You just can’t be honest,” Cuban says.
You can listen to the full podcast episode at Grantland, where Lowe and Cuban discuss Cuban’s pro basketball team the Dallas Mavericks, the NBA, and investing.
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