Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mark Cuban is the epitome of an entrepreneur. Known as driven and a risk-taker, Cuban has explored a variety of businesses. In the 1990s, he built his fortune by selling the start-ups Microsolutions and Broadcast.com. He also then purchased the Dallas Mavericks, a well-known basketball team. He’s invested in a diverse set of business, including film production. Many have also seen him on the popular TV shows, Dancing with the Stars and Shark Tank.
The Politic: Throughout your journey, what motivates you to follow your dreams?
Mark Cuban: I’m competitive. I want to win. I want to reach my goals.
Why did you choose to purchase the Mavericks? And then work to improve the franchise?
I’ve been a basketball junkie my entire life. When the opportunity came along, I had to grab it. And while I did my best to change the culture, having a guy like Dirk made all the difference.
What do you think is the most important innovation today?
Artificial intelligence, followed by personalized medicine.
What do you think is the largest problem that our country faces? And are there any steps that you think we can take to work towards solving that issue?
Tribalism. People take sides to an extreme. It’s like we have become as a country the worst of what we see from sports fans. The best way to solve this problem is via leadership at the top. Someone has to make a point to focus on things we all can benefit from and work on together on.
There have been times where controversy has surrounded you; how do you deal with this and continue to stay motivated?
I know I have my integrity. That while I’m far from perfect, I always try to do the right thing. The rest is just noise and not personal.
If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?
How do you spend your free time?
My kids, reading, working out.
What is a skill you’d like to learn and why?
Where do you get your news?
What place would you most like to visit?
A tour of China. I haven’t been there yet.
If you weren’t in your current job, what would you be doing?
I don’t really have a job per se. I get to do what I like.
Which living person do you most admire?
My dad. He always worked his tail off and tried to provide to us. He is loving and caring, and I hope I can convey the same convictions to my kids.
What keeps you up at night?
My kids, in particular, my 14-year-old daughter.
What have you enjoyed reading recently? Watching? Listening to?
I really enjoy reading about AI. The techniques, the applications, the controversies. Watching, other than Mavs and Shark Tank? Dan Rather’s The Big Interview.
In a movie about your life, who should play you?
What is your advice for college students?
Have fun. Learn how to learn. Don’t stress. You don’t have to have all the answers. No one does. You have plenty of time to figure out what you are going to be when you grow up.