Morris Chobanisky emigrated from Russia to the United States wanting a better life for his family.
Landing at Ellis Island, he changed their name to Cuban and fed his family by selling items out of his truck. Like his grandfather, Mark displayed a determination for entrepreneurship and striving for a better life.
“It’s not about money or connections–it’s the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone…And if it fails, you learn from what happened and do a better job next time.”
Mark began his first business at the age of 12. He started selling trash bags to pay for an expensive pair of shoes. When the Pittsburgh Gazette went on strike, he took advantage of the opportunity and ran newspapers from Cleveland to Pittsburgh where he lived.
“Because if you’re prepared and you know what it takes, it’s not a risk. You just have to figure out how to get there. There is always a way to get there.”
Cuban is known as the greatest “shark” on the investor reality show Shark Tank because he is king of closing the deal. He not only makes a deal while the cameras are rolling, but follows through after the fact and his terms rarely change.
“I love to compete. To me, business is the ultimate sport. It’s always on. There is always someone trying to beat me.”
Cutthroat competition drives Mark to succeed and he encourages young entrepreneurs to fight fierce. He has compared business with the nonstop, around the clock challenges of basketball and plays his business just like the sport.
“Culture is very important to the Mavs. Your best player has to be a fit for what you want the culture of the team to be. He has to be someone who leads by example. Someone who sets the tone in the locker room and on the court. It isn’t about who talks the most or the loudest. It is about the demeanor and attitude he brings”.
Cuban purchased a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks in 2000. Before he bought the team, the Mavericks only won 40% of their games and had a playoff record of 21-32. Ten years after Cuban purchased the team, they had won 69% of their games and got to the playoffs in each of the seasons except one.
“It is so much easier to be nice, to be respectful, to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to understand how you might help them before they ask for help, than it is to try to mend a broken customer relationship.”
Mark may be vicious at the table but when it comes to service he understands who really deserves to be heard and cared for.