Mark Cuban on Giving Back, Boredom and Sniffing Out Bullshit
The billionaire Shark Tank star dishes on selling out for a good cause, what jolts him with a 'rush of excitement' and how to detect a BS artist.
How much would you pay to intimately pitch Mark Cuban your business idea? We’re talking just you and the billionaire Shark Tank star one on one over lunch. Charitybuzz is hoping somewhere north of $16,000, at least.
The online charity hub is auctioning off a private pitch power lunch in Dallas with the outspoken tech mogul. Proceeds from the auction, which closes on Sept. 8, will benefit the onePULSE Foundation, a nonprofit that provides assistance to those impacted by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla.
We caught up with Cuban via email this week to discuss the auction, among other things. Here are his responses, minimally edited for clarity:
Why is it important for entrepreneurs who’ve “made it big” to give back? And how can entrepreneurs who aren’t quite there yet take that first step?
It's an individual choice. I never want to make decisions with other people's money. For those of us who include money as one of our goals, we all have our own number that we shoot for. If we are fortunate enough to get there, then we all make a decision on how we want to spend it.
I've supported quite a few charities over the years, but one of my first was Junior Achievement. I can't even explain how much I learned from my time there in high school. It's a great organization. It helped me achieve my goals. I wanted to give something back.
What excites you the most about your current Charitybuzz campaign?
Charitybuzz is a great organization. It helps so many in need and does it in a way that is fun and unique, and I love being auctioned! I'm always excited to meet the winner. These always turn out to be very unique people and for some reason my lunches tend to run late into the afternoon. I think I gain as much as the winner.
You've seen so much success. Do you ever get bored, and how do you deal with it? What does it take to get you really excited about business these days?
I'm never bored. To me, business is the ultimate sport and I love to compete. And to be good and stay competitive at it means I’m always learning about tech and business. Right now I’m digging into machine and deep learning. It all changes so rapidly. I still get the rush of excitement from using it to come up with new business ideas. And I have this basketball team that keeps me busy, too.
What's your best advice for busy, stressed-out entrepreneurs on how to avoid burnout?
Find something you are good at and do what it takes to be great at it. We all have something special about us. The hard and exciting part is figuring out what it is.
How can you tell if someone is bullshitting you in business and how do you stop them from yanking your chain?You just learn through experience. I can't tell you how many times people have tried to scam me and, unfortunately, they have pulled it off a few times. But I have learned that usually the easier someone says something will be, the more likely my scam alert goes off. Nothing is ever guaranteed. The people who are full of shit tend to try and make you think they have a sure thing. When you hear that, run away.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.