Mark Cuban: personal life and career
Mark Cuban is an American business tycoon and investor. He is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks National Basketball Association, Landmark and Magnolia Pictures theaters, and chairman of HDTV cable network HDNet.
Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to a Jewish family. His last name was shortened from “Chabenisky” when his grandparents landed on Ellis Island. Cuban’s first step into the business world came at age 12, when he sold trash bags to pay for a pair of expensive basketball sneakers. While still in high school, he took various jobs, he was a bartender, a dance instructor, and a promoter, among others. By the way, he paid for his college education on his own by collecting and selling postage stamps.
Instead of attending high school, Cuban enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Pittsburgh. After a year of study, he transferred to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1981.
In 1982, Cuban moved to Dallas, Texas. He first took a job as a bartender and then as a salesman at Your Business Software, one of the first PC software companies in Dallas.
Cuban soon founded MicroSolutions, with the support of his previous clients at Your Business Software. MicroSolutions was originally a systems integrator and software reseller. It was also one of the early proponents of such technologies as Carbon Copy, Lotus Notes and CompuServe. One of the company’s biggest customers was Perot Systems. In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe for $6 million.
In 1995, Cuban and his colleague at Indiana University, Todd Wagner, founded Audionet. In 1998, Audionet became Broadcast.com. By 1999, Broadcast.com had grown to 330 employees and revenues of $13.5 million in the second quarter. During the 1999 dot-com, Broadcast.com was acquired by Yahoo! for $5.9 billion.
Mark Cuban in the 2000s
After selling the company, Cuban diversified his wealth to avoid a market crash. As of 2011, he was ranked 459th on Forbes’ list of the World’s Richest People, with a net worth of $2.5 billion. The Guinness Book of World Records credited Cuban with “the largest e-commerce transaction”, referring to the $40 million transaction for a Gulfstream V aircraft in October 1999.
Meanwhile, Cuban continues to work with Wagner on another venture, 2929 Entertainment, which provides vertically integrated film and video production and distribution.
On September 24, 2003, the firm acquired Landmark Theatres, a chain of 58 art movie theaters. In November 2003, Cuban was featured on the cover of Best magazine announcing the founding of high-definition television. Cuban also co-founded (with Philip Garvin) HDNet, the first high-definition satellite television network.
In 2005, Cuban invested in Brondell Inc., a San Francisco startup that makes a high-tech toilet seat called Swash, which works like a bidet but installs on a standard toilet. He also invested in Goowy Media Inc., a San Diego-based Internet startup.
In July 2006, Cuban funded Sharesleuth.com, a Website created by a former journalist who exposed Christopher Carey for fraudulent and misinformed public companies.
In April 2007, Cuban partnered with Mascot Books to publish his first children’s book, “Let’s Go, Mavs!” In November 2011, he wrote a 30,000-word e-book, “How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It”, which he called “a way to get motivated.”
In April 2011, Cuban put Landmark Theatres and Magnolia Pictures up for sale, but added that he would not sell the companies unless the offer was “very, very compelling”.