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"It's Not In The Dreaming, It's In The Doing"
In the Shark Tank and beyond, Mark Cuban is a legitimate investment don.
Mark Cuban gets a lot of press coverage from his TV appearances on Shark Tank or from his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks. However, behind Tinsel Town, there exists a strong work ethic and investment acumen associated with Cuban that has put him in the position he’s in today. We run through some of the best investments he’s made along the way and what his core principles of being successful are.
Who is he?
Mark Cuban was born on July 31, 1958, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Raised in a middle-class family, Cuban displayed an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. He recalls selling garbage bags door-to-door at the age of 12, and by the time he was 16, he was already running a successful business venture selling stamps.
Despite facing financial difficulties during his childhood, Cuban's determination and drive were evident. He attended the University of Pittsburgh and later transferred to Indiana University, where he graduated with a degree in business administration.
He initially started out in the workplace as a bartender and disco dancing instructor. However, his true breakthrough came when he co-founded MicroSolutions, a computer consulting service, which he later sold to CompuServe, netting himself a $6m windfall. Cuban's passion for technology led him to co-found Broadcast.com, an internet radio company, which was eventually acquired by Yahoo! for $5.7bn in 1999
From there, he’s had the funding and name to invest in countless enterprises.
Best investments along the way
It’s hard not to use this example when focusing on investment returns, even though Cuban holds out that this purchase was motivated by his love of basketball, not potential return.
He bought the Dallas Mavericks from Ross Perot Jr. for $285 million in 2000. Incredibly, the NBA team is worth over $2.7 billion as of 2022.
Even though this has been a ‘buy-and-hold’ play over two decades, the almost 10x return is pretty incredible.
Granted, there have been various expenses along the way that need to be factored in. For example, Cuban has been fined over $1.66m over the years, based on 13 incidences pertaining to tampering, league criticism and scorning referees. Yet even with all this, if he ever comes to sell the team, it’ll consolidate a great payday.
Cycloramic / Car360
Even though it might not involve huge numbers, Cuban ranks his best Shark Tank investment as Cycloramic, which spun out into Car 360. The pitch back in 2014 saw Cuban put in $250k for 7.5% equity.
The business did well, but it was the resulting enterprise of Car 360 (which Cuban also backed) that really took off. The business was bought out in 2019 for $22m, giving Cuban a $1.65m payday.
Given this was a genuine start-up that took off, the value created here ranks highly.
Quotes to live by
"It doesn't matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once."
This quote reinforces the idea that success is not determined by how many times you stumble or face adversity. Instead, it's about persevering and continuing to pursue your goals until you achieve them. This translates into our world of investing. Particularly for those seeking long-term returns from early-stage businesses, if just one business becomes the next Amazon or Apple, then the reward could be huge.
"Sweat equity is the most valuable equity there is.”
In this quote, Mark Cuban emphasizes the importance of hard work and dedication in building a successful business. "Sweat equity" refers to the effort and time you invest in your business. He underscores the necessity of deep industry knowledge and a genuine passion for what you're doing. Without these elements, sustaining motivation and making informed decisions becomes challenging.
"It's not in the dreaming, it's in the doing."
This is similar to the above quote but maybe phrased in a more romantic way. Be it in wanting to become a successful trader or even in unrelated pursuits, it’s actions rather than thoughts that will make something a reality.
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