Okay, I’ll admit it. I initially didn’t like the guy. He sat in the front row at Mavericks games, all riled up, fists pumping and emotions swaying with every call. He just seemed pretty obnoxious, which makes me hastily throw you in my “oh no, not him again” category.
Be careful about who you dismiss.
I spent a few hours last night replacing much-needed sleep with a complete tour of Mark Cuban’s life, courtesy of Google, Wikipedia and blogmaverick.com.
Sure enough — I was wrong. Somewhere behind the fist pumping, shouting at refs and NBA fines there lies a fricking brilliant man who I find terribly interesting and inspiring.
Inspired by Fountainhead, driven by something that is a lot like the open source “itch” we all know in the programming world, Cuban has gone from successful enterprise to successful enterprise by fixing things that piss him off.
It takes a tremendous amount of courage to reject the norm, and even more to recreate it. Don’t like what you’re doing today? Change it. Dante and Randall would have agreed. If you want to blame somebody for your situation, blame yourself.
Mark Cuban never let his situation control him. He wasn’t the guy at the kwik-e-mart saying, “…but I’m not even supposed to be here today!!”
WWMCD? He would have started up his own kwik-e-mart that put the other one out of business. Or, he would have moved on to something completely tangential that sparked his interest. He would have succeeded there, too.
Why? He’s a rare combination of grit, determination, preparation, research and luck. Obviously nowdays he is a bit blessed with a large bankroll, but before it took some cajones to step up to the plate and pitch the ideas he had. It took a lot of faith and determination in himself to make them succeed. That is what separates him from the rest of the rich slugs. He has great ideas, sure, but he also follows through on them.
And he eats his own words gracefully, too. Ask the people at Dairy Queen.
In a time when we don’t have leaders or good examples of Americans, I think Mark Cuban serves as a good icon. He’s worlds better than crooked senators or anybody in the White House simply because he’s a multi-billionaire and he still takes the time to keep up with blogs, speak his mind freely and uses his money for good causes. He is also not stopping his pursuit of what’s right, or at least what’s cool.
You don’t see Mark Cuban crying for the people he might hurt or upset because what he is saying may not necessarily be something they agree with. He isn’t constantly weighing media reaction to the truth before he speaks it. That makes him genuine. It makes him the most human billionaire I’ve seen or read about. It makes him someone I can believe and relate to regardless of how much money he has or what he’s done. He’s a guy with ideas and feelings, not some larger-than-life self-absorbed asshole. Well, a normal guy with a $40M jet he bought online.
He’s a guy who:
- Created a fallen soldier’s fund (Fallen Patriot Fund) to help injured or fallen soldiers’ families cope with their loss
- Supported P2P networking in the Groklaw v. MGM case
- Created an internet radio broadcast site because he thought not being able to listen to college basketball games over the internet was annoying
- Created an HDTV network because HD programming from regular cable companies was crappy
- Brought the Mavs back from extinction because his friends dared him to
- Founded a company that helps people sift through the blogosphere because he recognized how important blogs are long before the rest of us
- Started up 2929 entertainment because he thinks waiting for movies to come out on DVD is bullshit
So, thanks Mark, for bringing back the Mavs (though I’m a Suns fan, I appreciate the Mavs too), and showing that being yourself and believing in what’s right (for everyone, not just yourself) can take you as far as you’re willing to go. Keep it up, dude.
Mark Cuban kicks ass. Chuck Norris ain’t got shit on this guy.