On Shark Tank, Mark Cuban lends his self-made entrepreneurial skills to fledgling businesses.
The owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures came from humble beginnings, and his road to success is a lesson in the American dream.
The outspoken 56-year-old, whose net worth is $2.7 billion, is known to make headlines with his blunt comments. But it’s his unrivaled passion for success that sets him apart.
The New York Times summed him up by saying, “Cuban has sold garbage bags, newspapers, stamps, milk and beer, but he didn’t truly achieve his goal until he began selling an idea.”
As Shark Tank premieres its sixth season on September 26, learn more about the man behind the ideas.
1. He Met His Wife at the Gym
There’s a 14-year age difference between him and his younger, advertising-executive wife, Tiffany Stewart.
They married in 2002 and are raising three children together.
At home, the couple does not believe in having live-in help. They did hire a nanny, but try to be as hands-on with their children as possible.
We have a nanny. Unless it’s the night of a Mavs game and Tiff and I are going to a game, then they’re out by 6 or 7 and then it’s real world. On the weekends we have someone in the morning so Tiff and I go work out Saturday mornings. Then the rest of the weekend it’s just us. It’s us putting them to bed. It’s us at dinner. We try to be as normal as possible. The whole idea of someone serving you, this and that, that’s not us.
2. He Was on ‘Dancing With the Stars’
In 2007, just seven weeks after getting a hip replacement, he met his dancing partner, Kym Johnson. They went on to dance for four weeks before he was eliminated.
He told Tech Crunch about the experience:
It was just a challenge. It was something I didn’t know how to do, it was live, and it was athletic. And on top of that, I had just got my hip replaced. So I could either go through rehab or go dancing with my wife Kim.
In a behind-the-scenes video, Johnson said that her partner over-analyzed his dance moves most of the time.
Mark thinks way too much. He’s a super intelligent man and he writes everything down. That’s the way his mind works…But with dancing you need to fell everything. And he has to let himself go.”
3. He Has Over $1 Million in Fines From the NBA
He bought the Dallas Mavericks for $285 million from Ross Perot, Jr. in 2000. In this position, he has garnered the most fines out of any team owner, with 19 totaling about $1.8 million.
Most of the fines come from his “interacting with the refs in an inappropriate way or criticizing their ability to make the right calls.”
The biggest fine Cuban ever received was for $500,000 because he made this comment about referee Ed Rush:
Ed Rush might have been a great ref, but I wouldn’t hire him to manage a Dairy Queen.
When his team won the NBA Championships for the first time, he famously spent $110,000 in four hours at a club with his players.
4. He Founded a Computer Company Without Ever Owning a Computer
After getting fired from a company called Your Business Software, he decided to start his own in 1983.
He told Forbes about his venture at just 25 years old:
I started a company called Micro-Solutions. I was a PC consultant, and I sold software and did training and configured computers. I wrote my own programs. I immersed myself in the PC industry and studied Microsoft and Lotus and watched what the smartest people did to make things work.
By 1990, his company was grossing $30 million per year, and when he sold his company to CompuServe, he earned millions of dollars.
5. He Became a Billionaire by Selling His Website to Yahoo
Cuban and his partner, Todd Wagner, both graduates of the University of Indiana, started a company after lamenting not being able to follow Hoosier basketball after they graduated.
They started Audionet, which became Broadcast.com, to give people access to streaming content via the Internet, which was a progressive concept in the ’90s.
The company sold to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999.
Not bad for a middle class kid from Pittsburgh.
Cuban was born July 31, 1958, the son of car upholsterer and grandson of a Russian immigrant who sold food items from a truck.
Even as a 12-year-old he had the entrepreneurial spirit, selling garbage bags to make money to buy fancy basketball shoes.
He skipped his senior year in high school, attended University of Pittsburgh and then transferred to Indiana University, where he graduated from the Kelley School of Business in 1981.
6. He’s the Most Famous Shark on ‘Shark Tank’
In 2011, Cuban joined ABC’s wildly successful reality show Shark Tank. On the show, the “sharks” — potential investors including Cuban — hear pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs.
In an interview with USA Today, Cuban explained what he looks for in a contestant.
“The ultimate scenario is a great entrepreneur with a business that is poised to explode. But every now and then I love to invest in a company that may not set the world on fire, but has the chance to establish itself, create jobs and have a positive impact,” he said.
7. He Broke a World Record When He Bought His Private Jet
— Doug Ellin (@mrdougellin) December 23, 2013
In 1999, Cuban got into the Guinness Book of World Records for making the largest single e-commerce transaction.
He set this record when he bought a private jet on the Internet for $40 million.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, he talked about his investment:
It means I have more hours in my day to spend with friends and family. It means I can get more work done. It means I can travel comfortably with my family. It’s a life- and game-changer.
American Internet tycoon Mark Cuban, from Dallas, Texas, USA, bought a Gulfstream V business jet over the Internet in October 1999. The jet changed hands for $40 million.
8. He Tries to Keep His Kids Out of the Spotlight
Cuban and his wife try to keep their children out of the public eye. In fact, at Mavericks games, they have their children sit with Tiffany’s parents, far from the cameras.
The family enjoys spending quality time together at home.
We’re not the couple you see about town at all the events, because when he’s home, we pretty much want to spend time with the girls and it’s kind of downtime, family time for us.
9. He Took America Into His Mansion
People magazine took us inside Cuban’s office in his Dallas mansion.
“I’ll spend anywhere from 6 hours to 16 hours in a day getting all my work done right here,” he said.
Although he has an overabundance of sports memorabilia, his favorite piece is his Mavericks jersey from the day he bought the team.
He also displays the banner his kids made for him when he returned home after his hip replacement.
10. He Played This April Fools’ Prank
To carry out the scheme, Cuban hired an actor who came out in a timeout dressed as a fake referee. Then, Cuban yelled at the ref and pushed him.
When I stood up and there was the first shove, I could hear the whole place gasp. Then we went at it and I could hear everybody going nuts. Then I started laughing and blew it.
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