How Passion Drives Innovation: Mark Cuban Profile

In 2000, businessman Mark Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks

-Bought the team for 285 million

-His dream in life was to work in the NBA

-He brought a business sense to the franchise that helped improve management

-He stayed connected with fans through the writing of a blog

-Won the championship title in 2011 against Lebron James’ Miami Heat

But before that, who was the man and what journey did he undergo to bring him to such prominence and wealth? Cuban desired to carve a better life for himself from the get go. He famously sold garbage bags to his neighbors, and that was the beginning of his first business venture. His goal- to buy shoes so he could play basketball. He dropped out of high school in order to preemptively start attending college. He went to the University of Pittsburgh, but later transferred to Indiana U (most likely to follow the famous Hoosier basketball team). Mark Cuban was no stranger to fun however, as he began hosting giant disco parties for all of his school-mates (in pursuit of cash for his college education.)  In 1981 Cuban moved back to Pittsburgh. He started getting involved with a company that was switching to using strictly computers. This interested Mark Cuban as he saw that this was the next big thing in the business world. So he immersed himself in knowledge about the entire industry. Everything from hardware, to software, to computer mechanics, to industry status he eventually became a wiz.

A year later Mark Cuban moved down to Dallas. He formed his first company at this time called MicrosSolutions. In a couple years he had become a leading expert in computers and all of its facets. 7 years after the company formed, Mark Cuban sold his company for $6 million. This would be hugely trumped by his next venture, but served as seed funding for what would be his big break.

Mark Cuban hooked up with another Indiana Hoosier named Todd Wagner. They created a sports broadcasting website that had all of the AM/FM sports feeds on one website. This allowed anybody from any part of the nation to hear their favorite sports team. This company was called AudioNet. It was formed in 1995 and sold in 1998. This company was deemed to be a failure, but against critical acclaim grew to massive proportions. The title of the website was then changed to Broadcast.com. It went public in 1998 and had the largest IPO in history.

Later, Wagner and Cuban sold their company for nearly $6 billion. The company that bought them out was Yahoo!. With the selling of their company Mark Cuban could have been set for life, and he was, for the most part. However, there was still something left for Mark Cuban to do. He called up local NBA franchise owner Ross Perot Jr. and began negotiations to by the local Dallas NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks. Mark Cuban came in and used his business expertise as well as management techniques to help the Mavericks quickly turn the corner from being a bottom feeding team to being the NBA champion only 10 years later.

Mark Cuban knew that any good sports team has an upbeat and motivated team culture. He spent a couple years molding and shaping his players so that they would all fit the same culture. The culture of self-sacrifice and the deep desire to be successful. Mark Cuban also did a number on the fanbase. He ingeniously decided that he would sit with the fans during the games. Not only that, he would be cheering with the fans. He would jeer the other team as well as cuss out the refs. His whole idea behind this was that he wanted to show the fans he was one of them, and that he was just as committed to winning as they were. However, his comments have not come without a price. He has racked up more than $2 million in NBA fines.

Recently Mark Cuban has been involved in TV endeavors and has become much more of a household name. You can see him on Dancing with the Stars as well as ABC’s top ranked primetime program- Shark Tank. Mark Cuban is only 55 years old, and has much of his life ahead of him. Whether he retires or not has much to do with whether his wife and two kids ask him to or not. For now, at least, it seems that Mark will continue to help small businesses get seed money. His contributions to the Shark Tank have helped America’s economy and the spreading of the wealth to small businesses is what will make this country thrive again.