I met Mark Cuban at the NBA All-Star Game in Houston last February and got really excited about the chance to sit down with him for an interview. When I asked for the interview he said that he would be happy to answer any questions and to send him an email. This is how he typically does interviews, by email. So I gave him my best kid smile and asked if I could PLEASE interview him in person.
He smiled back and asked if I would like to come to the set of his show, “Shark Tank,” and do the interview there. REALLY? THAT’S MY FAVORITE SHOW! WOW!
In June, he emailed me to say that the show was starting to tape the next season and he would sit down with me. So off we went to Los Angeles to see the show. He set it up so I could watch the show for the entire day and we would talk during lunch. It was REALLY COOL! My mom, dad and I were at Sony Pictures and the show was in one of the big soundstages. At lunch we got to meet all of the other ”Sharks” too. They were all really nice.
Sitting with Mark was AWESOME! We talked for more than 20 minutes. He is busy answering emails non-stop so it was really great for him to sit down with me.
We talked about how he got started in business and he told me how when he was my age he wanted a new pair of basketball shoes. His dad told him that he had to work for the money if he wanted to buy them. His dad’s friend gave him a job selling garbage bags door to door. And bam, he was in business. He said that he sold pretty well since people would not say no to a kid. He was hooked and kept at it. By the time he went to college he had tried many jobs.
He always loved sports but wasn’t big enough or good enough to be a pro. After graduating from Indiana University, he moved to Dallas and tried a bunch of other jobs. One thing that he couldn’t do in Dallas was listen to Indiana basketball games. He had been working at a computer company, so he figured out a way to listen to the games on his computer. It seemed like a good idea so he made a business out of doing it for lots of colleges. Now fans all over the country could listen to their hometown teams even if they weren’t on the radio or TV.
It turns out that he invented streaming on the Internet. It was so big that when he sold the company he was a billionaire! He then was able to live his dream and buy the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, and after a few years they won the NBA championship! He said one of the things that makes owning a team special is that the entire north half of Texas feels like it is their team, so it is really a part of the community. When the team wins it lifts the spirits of everyone, even when things are bad. One thing that I saw was that he HUSTLES just like a basketball player. He is always on the move getting things done. He told me that business is more competitive than sports because it is ALL DAY, EVERY DAY and never stops. When I asked him which was better, winning the championship or selling his business for billions he said that selling his business was way better since it made everything else possible. What I learned from that is that I have to remember to do the important things that make the other things happen. My parents keep telling me that getting good grades is more important than video games and to study first. Also, I need to practice my sports everyday to get good enough to play on the team.
Mark said the same thing. Working hard everyday will give me the advantage over other kids to help me get what I want. When it is so competitive, doing the extra effort will make the difference.
Thanks Mark for spending time with me! I know that you coach young entrepreneurs all the time. I had a great time in the “Shark Tank” and I learned a lot!