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Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban grew up as a blue-collar kid in the working-class city of Pittsburgh. His business career began when he was 12; he was a door-to-door garbage bag salesman who eventually graduated to greeting cards, magazines, and liquor. Cuban put himself through school at Indiana University, choosing it because it was the cheapest of America's top 10 business schools. While there he continued his entrepreneurial drive by giving disco dancing lessons and starting a chain letter (the profits from the letter paid for an entire semester's tuition).

After college, and without even owning a computer, Cuban started his own computer consulting firm. Although he had no background in the industry, Cuban founded MicroSolutions in 1983 and it went on to become a leading National Systems Integrator. He worked constantly and adopted the philosophy, "say yes to anything." Anything his clients requested, Cuban assured them that he could do, then he would teach himself to do it and follow through on his promise. This tactic, coupled with a successful company, earned Cuban $30 million a year by 1990. At this point, Cuban decided to take an early retirement.

However, that wasn't the end of his career. While talking with a friend about the Indiana U Hoosiers basketball team and how he wished that he could hear the games on the radio, Cuban got an idea: broadcast radio and TV on the Internet. Shortly thereafter, broadcast.com was born (1995) and Cuban told his employees, who were working for $10 an hour, that they would all either become millionaires or merely be unemployed friends. Once again Cuban kept his promise and, when Yahoo bought the company in 1999, 300 of his employees became millionaires, and Cuban himself left with approximately $2 billion.

After his success with the technology industry, Cuban decided to spend some of his money. He bought a 24,000-square-foot Dallas mansion; he, fittingly, became the largest online buyer in history with his $41 million purchase of a new Gulf Stream 5 - the fastest corporate jet in the world; and, finally, he spent $280 million on the Dallas Mavericks franchise. His business-savvy even extended to the world of basketball and, within one season, Cuban had revamped the Mavericks into playoff contenders. Evidently Cuban's philosophy applies to all aspects of, at least his, life. According to Cuban, people are always telling what not to do; his response? "Shouldn't, shouldn't, shouldn't - is usually an indication I'm doing things right."


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