Cutthroat competition drives Mark Cuban to kick ass in business, and, if you’re an up-and-coming young entrepreneur, your ass is definitely included.
What did you expect? A soft pat on the back and a chipper ‘You can do it, kid.’? Nope. Not from Cuban. He’s a shark.
The billionaire Shark Tank judge and serial entrepreneur flexed his killer competitive streak on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco yesterday, and he didn’t mince words.
“There is no sport as competitive as business,” Cuban said when TechCrunch senior editor Matt Burns asked the him what drives him to keep on founding new companies. “It’s 24 by seven by 365 by forever, and there’s all these young kids out here [gesturing to the live audience in attendance] trying to kick your ass.”
And what does the star investor and tech industry veteran (who made his first millions when he sold his computer consulting firm Microsolutions to CompuServe in 1990, before a lot of the kids in the audience were born) think about scrappy young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs trying to compete with him? “I just love to kick your ass!” the razor-tongued Pittsburgh native snapped. “You know, seriously, I’m just so competitive that, you know, f-ck y’all. I want to win and that’s it in a nutshell.” Damn. Enough said.
Cuban, who started out at the age of 12 selling garbage bags door to door and now has so many businesses that he lost count (he thinks it’s around 30-plus), is an all-out basketball fanatic. But, to him, “business is the ultimate sport.” He compared the nonstop, 'round-the-clock challenges of entrepreneurship to the rigors his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks, endures in tirelessly practicing for and sweating out every 48-minute showdown on the court.
The now Dallas-based father of three went on to encourage parents to coach their kids on how to win in business, not to become pro ballers. “Hopefully we’re evolving from I want to see my kid be the star quarterback or see my kid be the star of the basketball team to them being an entrepreneur and being excited about business.” And they damn well better be even more competitive in business as they would be in sports or you know who just might have to kick their ass.
Correction: An earlier version of this article failed to identify the company Cuban sold to CompuServe.