Monday, January 26, 2009

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban is now well-known as the volatile, win-at-all-costs owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. In recent years, he’s received much attention for saying controversial things ranging from criticism of the officials to criticisms of the league office that frequently get him fined by the NBA. His total fines are believed to be in excess of $1.5 million. Why doesn’t he just shut up? Well, for one thing, he’s got the money. Cuban’s wealth is estimated to be in excess of $2 billion. But you don’t go from bartender to billionaire owner of a basketball franchise if you don’t know a good investment. Is it possible that his antics are also a good investment?

In 2000 when Cuban bought the Mavericks, they were part of basketball’s lower class. Cuban was able to buy the Mavs for $280 million – which put them in the bottom half of NBA franchises in terms of team value. Today they are worth $466 million, which ranks them 7th among NBA franchises, behind legendary franchises like the Lakers, Knicks and Bulls. Some of this increase in value can be attributed to Cuban bringing winning basketball to Dallas. But part of it has to be attributed to his ability to bring attention to his franchise…with his mouth.

Mark Cuban is a Hero of Capitalism not for any single accomplishment, but for always recognizing a good investment. From humble beginnings, he gathered enough resources together to start a company called MicroSolutions. MicroSolutions product was recognizing the right software solutions for a particular company among existing products and helping businesses implement these solutions. Cuban built the MicroSystems brand name and eventually sold it for $6 million to CompuServe.

Cuban then combined resources with Todd Wagner to form an internet radio network called AudioNet dedicated to broadcasting college sports – particularly college basketball. AudioNet was a hit, eventually changing its name to, before being acquired by Yahoo. With a combination of entrepreneurship and timing, Cuban had become a billionaire. Cuban has since largely diversified his holding, becoming involved in a wide range of businesses ranging from movie theatres to high-definition televisions to basketball franchises (and a failed bid to buy MLB’s Chicago Cubs).

Cuban may be a controversial choice for a Hero of Capitalism, as he is now facing charges of insider-trading by the SEC. But regardless of the outcome of those hearings, it is indisputable that Cuban is an extremely effective entrepreneur, who has created a vast amount of wealth for himself and others along the way.

Cuban's Wiki

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