Mark Cuban wasn’t always the shark we all came to know and love on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’—before that, he was a self-made billionaire, and co-owned the Dallas Mavericks. Despite his busy schedule, Cuban was kind enough to sit down with us and answer five questions about the business world.
1. What’s the best idea that anyone ever pitched to you on Shark Tank?
It was a hat that doubled as a shoe. So if you forgot one of your shoes, you could put the hat on your foot and boom, now it’s a shoe. I invested $3 million of my own money into this product because it was something I could really use since I’m always wearing a hat and missing a shoe. Unfortunately some clown on YouTube made a video where he showed that you could wear any hat as a shoe, and HatShoe, Inc. went bankrupt the very next day.
2. What do you believe is the secret to starting a successful small business?
Think of your new business as a baby and never stop thinking of it as a baby. The coffee shop down the street? That’s a baby. GE? That’s a baby. GE is a hundred-year-old baby who produces boxes of lightbulbs with its brain and its mouth. Really, until that makes crystal-clear sense to you and you can explain to me why your baby can win in a fight with GE’s old electric baby, I’m not giving you the time of day in a boardroom.
3. Why did you decide to buy the Dallas Mavericks back in 2000?
I bought them for one reason and one reason only: to stick it to Ross Perot Jr. Back in 1999, Ross swooped in and stole the Vienna Boys’ Choir from right under my nose. One year and $285 million later, though, I got him back.
4. You famously sold your stock in Yahoo just before the dot-com bubble burst. What led you to believe a crash was coming?
I was minding my own business when my computer screen turned black and a pirate ship appeared on it and a pixelated pirate lowered a Mark Cuban flag then raised a skull and crossbones made of computer components. Then white text appeared on my screen that said “You’ve been hacked by the dreaded Hackbeard.” At that point, I unplugged all my computers and told my stockbroker to just invest in whatever was going on in Iraq if that’s possible. Turns out it is.
5. How do you find time to successfully run all of your ventures?
There are over 40 animatronic Mark Cubans that patrol my various offices and threaten to bite underachievers on the ass. Employees cannot tell the difference between me and the robo-Cubans so they remain on their best behavior. If they try to fuck around, the robots will bellow, “COMMENCING DISCIPLINE RUMP SHRED,” and sink their teeth into the offender’s hind meat until they draw an amount of blood commensurate with the offense. And if I’m there instead of the robot, I’ll do the same.