Mark Cuban was born on July 31, 1958 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His father, Norton, worked as an automotive upholsterer. Shirley, his mother, seemed to have a different job or career goal every other week. Cuban’s grandparents emigrated from Russia and Romania through Ellis Island, and at that time, his paternal grandfather changed the family’s last name from Chabenisky to Cuban.
Mark Cuban grew up in Mount Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and when he was 12 years old, he started his first business venture. He would travel around his neighborhood selling garbage bags. His earnings went toward a pair of expensive basketball shoes. A few years later, Cuban came upon another business opportunity. When the Pittsburgh Post Gazette went on strike, Cuban was there to take full advantage of the situation. He started a business that would run newspapers from Cleveland to Pittsburgh.
Rather than attending high school his senior year, Cuban chose to enroll in the University of Pittsburgh. Once he completed one year at Pitt, he transferred to Indiana University‘s Kelley School of Business. He enrolled at IU without ever having stepped on the campus. He looked at the top ten business schools in the nation and found that the Kelley School of Business was the cheapest of the ten.
After college in 1982, Cuban moved to Dallas where he would be employed at a series of different jobs. He worked as a bartender when he first arrived in Dallas. After that, he worked as a salesmen for the Your Business Software retailer. After less than a year, he was fired from Your Business Software because he met with a client with the goal of procuring new business for himself instead of opening a new store.
After losing his job at Your Business Software, he started his own company called MicroSolutions. MicroSolutions was a software reseller that also offered systems integration services. In 1990, after a few years of running the business, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe, which was at the time, a subsidiary of H&R Block, for 6 million dollars giving Cuban approximately two million dollars, after taxes.
In 1995, Chris Jacob and Todd Wagner started Audionet, a company that combined Indiana Hoosier basketball with webcasting. In 1998, Cuban began to fund this venture and Audionet became Broadcast.com. By the end of the second quarter of 1999, Broadcast.com had become a company with 330 employees and 13.5 million dollars in revenue. Later in 1999 Broadcast.com helped launch the first Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show to be streamed live. In that same year, during the dot com boom, Yahoo, Inc. acquired Broadcast.com for 5.7 billion dollars in Yahoo, Inc. stock. The Guinness Book of World Records credits Cuban with the largest single e-commerce transaction ever.
In the early 2000s, Cuban played a large role in the social software and distributed network industries. One of the business opportunities that he got involved with was a business called IceRocket, which was a search engine that would search the blogosphere for content. Anothe
r business opportunity he was involved in, was a company called RedSwoosh, which would use peer-to-peer technology to deliver rich content media to the personal computer. This company which included both video was later acquired by Akamai. In 2005, Cuban became an investor of Brondell, Incorporated. This was a San Francisco start-up company responsible for making high-tech toilet seats. The toilet seat, known as a Swash mounted on the standard toilet seat and functioned like a bidet.
Cuban got involved in book publishing, in 2007, when he wrote a children’s book called, Let’s Go Mavs! A few years later, in 2011, he wrote a thirty-thousand word ebook entitled, How to Win at the Sport Of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.
On November 17, 2008, the United States Security and Exchange Commission filed a civil suit against Cuban concerning the possibility of insider trading of shares of Mamma.com, which is now known as Copernic. After several years of legal proceedings, a federal jury found in favor of Cuban. The nine-member jury issued the verdict after deliberating for over three hours. Cuban believes the investigation was motivated by an SEC employee having taken offense to his interest in possibly distributing the documentary, Loose Change.
In 2011, Cuban had reached number 211 on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people. He achieved this by working his tail off and making several good investments. Included in these investments include are the purchase of Landmark Theaters, a chain of 58 art house movie theaters. Cuban was also on the cover of the November 2003 premiere issue of Best Magazine announcing the arrival of high definition television. In addition, he was the co-founder of AXS TV (formally HDNet), the first HD Satellite Television Network.
Cuban became a regular on Shark Tank in season three, and since joining the show in 2012 the ratings have increased. Also during his tenure on the show, Shark Tank has won two Prime time Emmy Awards for “Outstanding Structured Reality Program.” As Of January 2016, Cuban has invested in 82 deals across 109 Shark Tank episodes, equating to approximately 19.4 million dollars of personal investment.
On January 4, 2000, Mark Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks for 285 million dollars from Ross Perot, Jr. During the 20 years prior to Cuban purchasing the team, they had only won 40 percent of their games, and had a playoff record of 21-32. In the 10 years after he purchased the Mavericks, they have won 69 percent of their games and reached the playoffs in every season with the exception of one. After several seasons of getting close to a championship, they finally broke through on June 12, 2011, when they defeated the Miami Heat in six games to win the NBA Finals.
Compared to most NBA owners, Mark Cuban is among the most active owners in the NBA, never sitting in the owner’s box and always sitting with the fans. Cuban has been one of the highest fined owners in the NBA, having been fined for at least 1.665 million dollars. However, every time Cuban gets fined, he matches the fine with a charitable donation.
Mark Cuban’s infractions with the NBA has included starting a booing campaign against an ex-player, cursing at an opponent, rushing onto the court to criticize NBA officials, yelling at players on the court, calling the Denver Nuggets thugs during a playoff series and point to the mother of one of the players on that team and saying “that includes your son.” Cuban was fined 250 thousand dollars after the 2006 NBA finals for repeated misconduct.
During election time in 2012, Donald Trump offered President Obama 5 million dollars towards the charity of his choosing if he released his passport applications and college transcripts to the public. Cuban responded to this by saying he would give Trump a million dollars to the charity of his choosing, if he shaved his head.
Mark Cuban has always been very active as a humanitarian. He started the Fallen Patriot Fund for families of U.S. personnel killed or injured during the Iraq war. Cuban would personally match the first one million in contributions with funds from the Cuban Foundation, which was run by his brother Brian Cuban. In addition, on February 9, 2009, Cuban started the Cuban Stimulus Plan which allows for what he called an “open source exchange of ideas.” The plan involves individuals posting ideas that fit specific criteria (profitability within 90 days, no advertising and certain banking controls for Cuban.)
Mark Cuban is a self-made billionaire, going from a kid living in Pittsburgh selling trash bags to one of the most powerful people in the country. He has also been very generous with his money, helping out thousands of people through his charities, and always looking to help out small companies to be able to grow into something special.