A great Interview and The Benefactor is on tonight on ABC !

Preparation is the key to cutting risk, Cuban says

Mark Cuban was already well-known as a flamboyant self-made billionaire. TV is about to elevate that fame. He canned
three contestants on the premiere of his reality show, The Benefactor, last Monday. Episode 2 airs tonight at 8 ET on
ABC. He’s president of HDNet, a high-definition TV network and owns the Dallas Mavericks NBA team. Forbes said he was
worth $1.3 billion in 2003, the world’s 329th-richest person. He got there by co-founding MicroSolutions, which he sold
to CompuServe in 1990. He then co-founded Broadcast.com, which rose 250% the day of its initial public offering in 1998
and was sold to Yahoo with near-perfect timing at the peak of the Internet craze in 1999. Timing might be everything,
but the 45-year-old said his business philosophy is “no balls, no babies.” That’s something you don’t hear at too many
board meetings, so USA TODAY corporate management reporter Del Jones went to Cuban for an explanation.

‘I want the risk and I want the gain,’ Mark Cuban says.

Q: This is a family newspaper. What exactly do you mean by “no balls, no babies”?

A: The very first time I went to Vegas, I was learning basic blackjack strategy while I played $5 a hand. I didn’t
know whether to hit or stick. I asked the dealer, and he said, “No balls, no babies.” I took that to mean: I have
nothing. If I lose, I still have nothing. So why not go for it? If you don’t play the game, you can’t win.

Q: Did you win that hand?

A: I don’t remember.

Q: Would you say that Donald Trump lives by the “no balls, no babies” philosophy?

A: It certainly doesn’t apply to Mr. Trump. He is part of the lucky sperm club. His father was very successful, and
to Mr. Trump’s credit, he was smart enough to do deals built on the foundation his father built and to grow it into a
bigger organization. He has had his back up against the wall with debt, but I’m not sure he has ever faced the risk of
starting a business purely with sweat equity. The concept of “no balls, no babies” is that you are starting a business
with nothing. If the business fails, you go home with nothing. Any entrepreneur without outside capital and who had to
hustle to stay alive knows exactly what I am talking about.

Q: Now that you’re a billionaire and no longer starting from scratch, do you still live by that philosophy?

A: I do, but how it applies to me has changed. I can’t say that if I fail I will end up with nothing. However, I
still accept 100% of the risk and reward of any new venture. I won’t ask for money from outside investors in order to
reduce my risk. I want it on my back. I don’t believe in borrowing so the banks are your partners. I don’t want to play
off the risk on friends and family or others who believe in me. If I believe a business can be successful, I want the
risk and the gain. Once the business is stable and successful, I’m happy to share in the upside. I can handle losing my
money. I can’t handle losing other people’s money.

Q: What is the best example in your life where this strategy paid off?

A: MicroSolutions was started when I lived with six guys in a three-bedroom apartment. I started with no cash. It
was pure sweat equity. If it failed, I would be back tending bar. Fortunately, MicroSolutions was profitable every
month of its existence.

Q: Measured risk is one thing. Then there is outright stupidity. How do you tell the difference?

A: I have no idea. I’m always sufficiently scared of failing that I make sure I’ve reduced my risk through
preparation. Most people think money is the key to reducing risk. Preparation is. There is an old saying that
when you sit at the business table, you look for the fool. If you don’t see a fool, then it’s you. If you aren’t the
smartest person at the table, you better have a partner who is, or you shouldn’t be there.

Q: There have been business winners who let others take the risk. The Japanese were well-known for reverse
engineering, letting others foot the R&D. What’s wrong with a safe strategy?

A: Nothing. If it works for you, that’s great. Each person has to know what his or her circumstances are. If in your
preparation you feel that risk-aversion is the right way to get results, be risk-averse.

Q: Do you think most leaders are too timid?

A: No. Everyone has their own style. Business is very Darwinian. If your style works for you, great. If it doesn’t,
you won’t be leading very long.

Q: How do you personally calculate risk vs. reward when making a decision?

A: First, I ask myself if this is something that I would enjoy doing. Find something you love to do. If you don’t
make money at it, at least you love going to work. When I started MicroSolutions (a systems integrator), it wasn’t a
gamble, because I had nothing to lose and I loved working with computers. I had no idea how much, if any, money I would
make, but I loved what I did, so in my mind I was successful. When Todd Wagner and I started Broadcast.com (which
provided sports and other events over the Internet), it was because we saw an opportunity to leverage the Internet and
change how people consumed media. When Phil Garvin and I started HDNet, I loved the idea of pushing forward
high-definition TV when the entire media industry said it was not possible and there was no market. When I bought the
Mavs, I wanted to turn a team that everyone said would be a perennial loser into a winner. Rewards come in many forms,
financial being just one of them. I have had a blast in every one of these businesses.

Q: You’ve been compared with Trump. Are you a clone?

A: You won’t catch me in a suit, you won’t catch him out of one. His businesses are built on other people’s money
and doing deals. My businesses are built on sweat equity and building businesses. He dismisses his casino partners’
problems as not his; I can’t sleep at night if my partners aren’t successful. I play basketball, he plays golf. I go to
sports bars, he goes to black-tie dinners.

Q: There has been much criticism in recent years of the celebrity CEO. In his book Good to Great, Jim Collins argues
that the best companies are run by guys who shun the limelight.

A: Microsoft is successful because Bill Gates branded himself as a futurist and able to understand personal
computing trends. Larry Ellison, Carly Fiorina, Warren Buffett, Jack Welch, the list goes on and on. Visibility doesn’t
guarantee success by a long shot, but customers want to know who is responsible. When I read an article about a CEO, as
a customer I am able to better understand if our goals are aligned. I know that Michael Dell is committed to offering
value-based computing. Mavericks fans know I will do whatever I can to put the team in a position to win. You can’t
accomplish the same thing with anonymity.

Where I would agree with Collins is that a CEO can’t place visibility over performance. Without performance, any
visibility is just a setup for failure. There are plenty of companies that have suffered the consequences: Sunbeam,
Tyco, Enron, WorldCom, etc. I get asked every week to write a book. I won’t do it because I haven’t accomplished what I
have set out to do. Writing a book about success seems to me to be incredibly hypocritical if I haven’t yet
accomplished all my goals.

Q: Do reality shows teach real business lessons, or are they strictly entertainment?

A: It depends on the show. In The Benefactor, I try to re-create some of the business and personal challenges I
experienced. Some I excelled at, some I failed miserably at. Every one of us thinks we have what it takes to be
successful. But when the opportunity arises, most people don’t have the courage to go for it. The game is a series of
tests and challenges that force the players to step out of their comfort zone. Some shine, some crash and burn. Some
excel, some leave in tears.

I loved doing it. It wasn’t long before I went from host to part of the game. I got lied to, cheated and played, and
that made it a blast. The theme of The Benefactor really is, “no balls, no babies.”

About Cuban

First job: Selling garbage bags door to door at age 12.

First time he dunked a basketball: Age 37.

Greatest business executive: Andrew Carnegie.

Greatest athlete: Michael Jordan.

Best Dallas restaurant: Bob’s Steak and Chop House. Order the filet mignon, medium rare.

Best sports bar in any NBA city: Kilroy’s in Bloomington, Ind.

Advice to small investors: Don’t buy stocks. “The only people making money are brokers and company insiders. Put
your savings in the bank.”

Favorite book: The Number by Alex Berenson, about how corporate fraud was driven by Wall Street’s focus on
quarterly earnings. Cuban liked it so much that he volunteered to write the foreword for the paperback

Tips from Cuban

Go for it. If you have nothing and lose, you still have nothing.

Preparation reduces risk. Sometimes, preparation may tell you to play it safe.

Love what you do. That spells success even if you don’t make money.

You can’t be effective and be anonymous. Celebrity CEOs are good for the company if they

In business deals, look for the fool. If you don’t see one, the fool is you.

77 thoughts on “A great Interview and The Benefactor is on tonight on ABC !

  1. Gr8

    Comment by Short Funny Jokes -

  2. It’s always a huge ego-filled session of how you make your money, how you risked it all, how you threw sh!t into the wind and it came back as rose petals.

    Comment by runescape money -

  3. The kids did not catch on to the fact that she had no idea who wears (well, WORE, but I’m assuming this was taped before he left) #13 for the Mavs, and she probably couldn’t name one player if the million dollars were offered to her right then and there in cold, hard, tax-free cash.

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  13. Mark,

    I agree with you when you give advice to investors not buy stocks because the only people making money are brokers and company insiders. Personally, I believe the best place to invest money is in yourself, your ideas and your own business/company. The average person has much more control over these three things compared to playing the guessing game with stocks.

    Comment by Shaun Cronrath -

  14. Hi Mark,
    Instead of playing games with your money, my GrandDaughter needs a nice house to live in, she is an honor roll student, no one wants to rent if you have pets, and can’t afford a house. Hey, what do I have to lose by asking?

    Comment by Helen Pearson -

  15. “In business deals, look for the fool, if you don’t see one, it’s you”

    Gee, i wonder if he’s referring to Yahoo on that one. Haha. he should be. What in the hell were they thinking. i wonder if they recouped their investment. They probably will in the year 5479.

    Comment by J.R. Ewing -

  16. Please Ken, don’t take a crap on Mark Cuban. Yes, he does like publicity… that’s a dream we have all had since childhood. How can you get mad at the man for trying to fulfill everyone else’s dream?

    I’m not shocked though, it’s very typical for people to get mad at people who can get what they want. It’s a simple word called jealousy.

    Most importantly though, why get mad when you know it worked on you too? Look Kenny, you are in here making comments about what he says. So you must care more than you think you do.

    I for one like the guy, not because I know him, but because I’ve been a MFFL since I was a kid, and finally have been lucky enough to have an owner of our team that cares more about winning than simply making money. As for you Ken, keep on coming in here and gripping about Cuban… all you do is help promote the very person you dawg. LOL

    Comment by Shelby Cobra -

  17. …with his eyes closed, i think cuban might have him an offer. then again, we all know mark dunking is probably more possible than someone consistenly nailing long jumpers with their eyes shut.

    Comment by roger -

  18. I truely like your style Mark. You are type of successful person that we should all hope to be. Your honesty and strait forward speaking comes from a heart that is “worth” listening to.

    Comment by sam martin -

  19. Mark – Just spent an hour or so going through past blogs. After working as senior mgmt in a publicly traded company the last few years, I finally couldn’t take the ego, lack of loyalty to the employees, and the financial irresponsibility. I got out. Twas sad b/c I spent the last six years running a company that I had started with a partner when we were kids (I was 23) and “sweat equity”. We had sold it off way too early. We’re starting over. It’s exciting – like breathing pure oxygen again. It was nice to have my own business values confirmed by someone who has reached a significant level of success. I call it being a values-led leader, and I applaud you for not conforming to the mold (*applause*).

    Comment by Tonya -

  20. If you win the money are you going to use it to help fix our out of control health care system, or are you going to use it to buy everyone you know some yummy tim-bits? 8 o )

    Comment by Margaret A. McGregor -

  21. hi mark,

    i love, love, love The Benefactor!
    i felt compelled to write you b/c, for the most part, i don’t particularly like watching television.
    but your show is awesome! it’s entertaining, educational and exciting! i’m having a blast both watching and waiting to watch. your show rocks!

    if you plan to do this again, i would like you to consider this suggestion –
    how about inviting a smart, sexy and confident woman from Canada to participate? eh?


    Comment by northern girl -

  22. When did you dunk? I want to see footage!

    Comment by Dingo's Calzones -

  23. I define it as: “If you don’t take the chance, you can’t reap the rewards”.

    Good luck

    Comment by Hart -

  24. The basic reason people are trashing The Benefactor is because it’s childish and “all about Markie.” The basic reason Cuban trashes The Apprentice is because he claims it not about real business and his show is — although both claims are doubtful.

    But ratings don’t lie — The Apprentice trumps The Benefactor. And that’s because it’s all about good TV production. Mark Burnett produces Trump’s show and his experiences with Eco Challege and Survivor clearly sets him apart in the capture of the reality of human drama amongst competing strangers. He keeps the hosts egos in the background for the most part and focuses on the players — the shows are NOT ALL about Donald Trump or Jeff Probst. That’s where The Benfactor fails miserably.

    Comment by Bobby -

  25. Mark

    Just wanted to thank you for a show that we can actually watch with our nine year old son (he’s a huge Mav’s fan, BTW; took one of the Mav’s camps this summer). There are so few shows that we can actually watch together as a family.

    Comment by Kurt Webb -

  26. Wallace,
    Do you even know Mark Cuban’s history and his style of Business? He built two companies to multi-million and multi-billion levels from the ground up? As for mamma.com, I do not know the story. But I do know that he bought a major share of stock, and I would be pissed too, escp. since it’s a guy like Mark Cuban who is trying to help. A rule of Mark Cuban is that he is a not stock person for the exact reason he sold it. I’m not sure what your complaining about. He made a smart move in selling his shares, in which go against his beliefs of buying/selling stock.

    Comment by Mike -

  27. I saw Donnie’s show tonight for the first time. It was very, very average. I did not find myself relating any more to his characters and their situations than to any other fantasy – oops, I mean – reality show on television. The idea of “thinking big” in order to promote a brand that is ALREADY widely recognized is far too “hand me down” to be realistic. Perhaps the more fortunately raised people in our society will get more out of Chump’s show, but those who are serious about having the right foundation for being successful will see deeper truths in Cuban’s show. Oh, and sleeeve’s suggestions about baby feeding messages and morals into the audience are fitting for Chump, because he’s lacking them in his actual show, so he feels the need to compensate with a sermon. Cuban’s show speaks for itself. Not only do I feel like I know Cuban, but I feel like I know his contestants to the point that I see a little bit of myself in each of them. That’s the point. I didn’t know anything about Cuban before The Benefactor, but I’m starting to respect the guy. I never had a good impression of Chump, and I still don’t. I’m from NJ. I know his casinos in Atlantic City are losing out to the competition, and his show appears to be losing out as well. That’s reality.

    Comment by Dave Schultz -

  28. Wow, a billionaire doesn’t get his way and he takes his graph and goes home. Wow, Mamma.com doesn’t consult him before raising cash and he sells his stocks and goes home. Wow, you look to a self made billionaire for leadership and he shows you he is just a guy who shook hands with the right guy at the right time otherwise he’s selling magazines door to door like the average Joe.
    Benefactor, I will not watch. It seems it would be too embarassing to watch Cuban trying too hard to impress. Ouch!

    Comment by Wallace -

  29. Mark, this is definitely one of the best business interviews I’ve ever read. Good job!

    Comment by Jamie -

  30. Hi Mark,

    As a CEO of a “no balls, no babies” robotic vehicle company I have little time at home. I found that with the TV hooked up I read less and forgot my kid’s names. Is there anyway we can get copies of the shows?

    From what you’ve told us we “participators” could use the lessons from your show just as much as the “spectators”.

    Thanks! Mel

    Comment by Mel Torrie -

  31. I saw Donald Trump on that show “The Insider” and he said the Benefactor is a “failure”


    Comment by DONAL TRUMP -

  32. Mark dunked when he was 37?? Most athletes retire before that age. Impressive.

    I disagree that kids can make the important decision of which contestant will be successful in life and thus deserve a million dollars. Yes sure, kids at that age will use natural instincts more than reasoning. Kids will probably judge people by appearance however. Remember when you were a kid, did you not notice that the kids who get picked on the most are the ones who are the most different physically from the rest of the kids. That seemed kind of obvious in last night’s show. I knew right away that the kids were not going to like the odd looking people. Remember however that some of the most successfully people were probably picked on as a child. This is why using kids will not really help reveal the potential of those people. Now, granted William was annoying, but what if William and Mario were 2 great looking slim blondes (men or women). Would the kids have liked them more? Who do kids usually look up to as role models in the Western world? Britney Spears, Brad Pitt, Hilary Duff, Jessica Simpson, etc. You get the idea.

    Comment by Sam Wong -

  33. I THINK YOU COULD DO A LOT TO DISPEL THE IMPRESSION THAT YOU ARE MERCURIAL OR ARROGANT (WHICH I DON’T THINK YOU ARE) BY RELAYING DIRECTLY TO THE CAMERA/AUDIENCE,A REAL LIFE STORY ABOUT HOW YOU YOURSELF LEARNED THAT LESSON THE HARD WAY. Mark, you would find people compassionate towards you by revealing your scar/vulnerability/war story of how you learned each and every lesson. I think that is the missing link.
    Hear me on this….Donald’s bad hair is fodder for humor but it actually works in his favor because it shows he has faults/is human.
    I mean, we know from business/psychology that people typically want to hire/have friends who are most like themselves and also sincere.
    I think the blog helps people feel you are a kindred spirit. I think you just need to inject that spirit into the airwaves.
    I also see an ambiguity as to the marketing. “NO RULES” versus rules/tests. That needs to be ironed out and spelled out clearly for your non-blog reading viewing audience.
    And this is important. People love watching sports because they know the rules and the boundaries. Kids need boundaries/rules to grow up feeling secure and loved.
    Whatever boundaries/rules do exist, they need to be shown in the show.
    Even if it is in camera confessional moments that you would need teams to go out and shoot now..and rush to an editor. If that is impossible, perhaps you can find another way to make the contestants appear that they are not scared of you/game. Which is how the naked guitar girl appeared.
    And that has nothing to do with you. It’s the same thing with Apprentice. Season 1 all sat in awed silence in front of Trump. Now in Season 2, they all watched S1 and rudely cut off Trump and Carolyn.
    It’s a familiarity thing.

    Comment by cheri/benebe -

  34. Last night’s show was great, and a step up from show number one. I hope that the trend continues. I little disagreement, however, on the decision of how to let the last two contestants go. Letting two go was good, but I think that of all the things that you are trying to get across (time management, respect, teamwork), you missed a golden opportunity for teaching – responsibility. Shawn should have been gone for being team leader of the team that wasted the most time. That would send a very powerful message. Then the other three could have gone before the ‘jury’. But maybe you get the point across in a later episode. And those kids were perfect in seeing through the facade of who got let go.

    Comment by Chris Burton -

  35. You have a point Rich, and now that I think about it maybe it would have been an interesting segment. However, I have a feeling that Mark may be Catholic for in the bit with the children, their uniforms looked very old style Catholic to me, but I could be highly mistaken. It would be funny as heck if it turned out that Mark was an Episcopalian, but enough about this trivial stuff…

    We may disagree in terms of our religious beliefs, but I think.. er I hope that we agree that Mark’s show kicks butt. OK, maybe that was not entirely a clean way of putting it, but hopefully you see my point. Anyway, take care Rich and God Bless.

    Sincerely Yours,

    Margaret 8 o )

    Comment by Margaret A. McGregor -

  36. Mark-

    First, let me say that I am a fan of both The Benefactor and of The Apprentice. However, I feel that the editors of your show have not done your game any justice. After seeing how the past two episodes were put together, it really makes me respect the team that Mark Burnett has put together to make The Apprentice and to make Trump look so good.

    The reason that America loves the Apprentice is that they feel that in each episode, they actually learn something from Donald Trump, himself. The boardroom, the challenges, etc… they’re all good, but your challenges are equally as interesting (albeit very different in that they are open ended and therefore subjectively graded). What your show is lacking is the feeling that we know YOU and why you’re making the decisions that you’re making.

    I’m assuming that you’ve watched the Apprentice. In each episode, there is a segment in which Trump sits down at his desk and teaches the audience a business-lesson. Coincidentally, this 30-second business lesson is the exact reason that a team will lose or that a person will be eliminated. Now we as an audience are not stupid. We know that Trump filmed all of those lessons after the show was shot and edited, but it frames the rest of the show – the challenge and the board room scene – so that we know why the contestant was eliminated. At the end of each episode, we feel that the eliminated contestant and the audience have both learned a valuable lesson.

    Now your show has equally valuable life-lessons. The problem is that your editors have left them on the cutting room floor. What we’re left with as an audience is a one-liner that serves as an introduction to each elimination, but we don’t really appreciate the life lesson itself and we don’t really appreciate how the challenge fits into the lesson that you’re trying to teach the contestants (and by extension, your audience).

    For example, imagine if this 30-second clip had aired right before the first challenge in last night’s episode:

    **Private Interview with Mark Cuban**: “If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in life, it’s that it’s often not *what* you know, but *who* you know. You never know when you’re going to have to rely on someone else to pull you out of a tight situation, so you should always cultivate your connections with everyone – not just the people that you think you’ll need most. The contestants are expecting me to make all of the decisions about who will be eliminated myself. So, after one day in the house, I decided to see who had failed to make any connections with their fellow contestants by holding a simple game of “school-yard pick ’em”. The one person that doesn’t get selected by the team captains that I’ve chosen will be eliminated from the game immediately.”

    If your audience saw this clip first, before seeing the challenge explained to the contestants and before seeing any of the footage from the pick ’em contest, then suddenly the entire challenge is framed within a life lesson. The level of respect for these “arbitrary decisions” goes through the roof and you become a very wise person.

    The thing about the show as it’s currently edited is that it’s clear that you’ve thought through WHY these challenges are important, but it’s not coming through crystal clearly during the episode (and most fans aren’t going to go find that great blog entry from last week to understand why you made the cuts that you made).

    It is not too late to save this show!!! Contact your editors now. Film some Trump-like sit-down footage of you explaining each life lesson if you have to (you can film this now… Trump does it after-the-fact, too) and get it inserted into the next episode ASAP. If you do it now, you can still save the show and make it great!

    Good Luck!

    Comment by sleeeve -

  37. The comment you made to the 2nd graders in th hall.
    after they had made the cuts- “OK next week I’ll see you in the boardroom
    and you can decide who will run one of my companies” Very funny line.
    Question_ last week the promo mentioned a million dolllar game of HORSE what happened?

    Comment by Dan -


    Comment by KEN BURKS -

  39. Margaret,

    I would not be shoving it don’t his throat. I just think if I could only spend 5 minutes with anyone that the topic of where they will spend eternity along with their relationship to God would be the most important thing to discuss.

    Your right, I wouldn’t have done it to increase my chances of winning $1m. I would have done it to show how important the topic was and how insignificant money is when compared our eternal destination. I would readily give up a chance at a million to see Mr. Cuban give his life to Christ(hopefully he already has).
    The Bible says that wealth is fleeting but our acceptance of Christ is eternal and can never be taken away by any misfortune on earth. All the resources in the world are God’s. He just chooses to let some have more than other’s as a part of His perfect plan.
    Thanks, rich

    Comment by Rich Alexander -


    Comment by KEN BURKS -

  41. Another WOW episode!!!!! What a nice twist with the “board”. The kids were wonderful. Wow Mark you get rid of them faster than the Donald can say “you’re fired”! I can hardly wait for next week. The creativity of the tasks far outweighs selling ice cream. This is a wonderfully entertaining show. What a winner. I heard the show ranked #1 in the east coast for the 8 pm time slot last week. The show rounds out my Mondays! The only down side is that the B’factor is aired at 10 pm in the west. I am sure many people are missing it because of the late time slot. Now is a good time as any for TIVO. I hope the producers come out with an uncut DVD version of the program. That would be fantastic. I am so excited about next Monday! Really nice work. Congrats to you, the cast and others.

    Comment by salmon -

  42. Rich,

    Although I value God and accept Jesus Christ as my saviour I’m not sure if Mark would of thought that your speech was a waste of time. I’m not making fun of you… I’m merely stating that in today’s world religion is a pretty hot topic kind of like the whole debate for same-sex marriage, but I digress…

    It would of been interesting to see what Mark would of thought of all this and if in the end he decided to accept Jesus Christ as his personal saviour, but considering how fundamentalist make me really uncomfortable I’d probably hate the whole sequence.

    Religion is something personal and should not be shoved down anyone’s throat. I think it’s great that you believe in God/Jesus, but don’t think that you should try to shove it down Mark’s throat. Besides, if you really believed that Jesus was your saviour you wouldn’t really need the million dollars now would you?

    Just a thought…

    Comment by Margaret A. McGregor -

  43. It seemed that the way the first part of the show was edited, that the blonde was let go becuase she was last man standing. I am sure there were tons more hours in the footage that led to that decision. But it just seemed kinda rushed to me.

    Still…that redhead has GOT to go. I still believe that people are just full of it when they say they want to earn it, and wouldnt take a million if it was given to them. If someone was to give me a million – Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    I really love the way the city is presented on the show. Even though what I see is ordinary to me, it gives a nice perspective as to what the real highlights of this town is.

    Once again..that god for the season pass for Tivo. 🙂

    Comment by dan -

  44. Mark Cuban

    I’m extremely excited to watch the benefactor especially if its anything like the comments and advice you have in your blog. I live in New Zealand and would like to know if the benefactor will aired down here? if not is there a website to watch clips? and finally could you recommend any good books worth reading out there?


    Justin Russell

    Comment by Justin Russell -

  45. I loved the second episode! That Shawn lady is killing me. I totally hate her with a passion. Here’s what I’d do with Mark with my 3 hours:

    3 games of NBA Live 2004 – winner takes all. Mark, you can have the Mavs all you want. Dirk and Nash are on-point in the game.

    Comment by Savan -

  46. I’m up in Toronto (yes, and without HDNet too)watching the ABC Detroit feed, and still no HD broadcast of your show…I can’t imagine that with your enthusiasm for HD, that this is by design!!

    Comment by Marc Slater -

  47. Mr. Cuban,

    Great show! You are very wise to stress how valuable time is. I just wanted to tell you how I would have used 15-45mins of your time. I would have asked you what happens when your time on earth is done. What happens when you die? I would have wanted to thoroughly share you how accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior would give you eternal life and provide you a peace and comfort that is beyond our understanding. You have all the money you could ever want but I’m sure you realize it doesn’t buy happiness or peace. I would want to make sure you have a thorough understanding of what it takes to be able to walk on streets of gold someday with your Creator. Our life on earth is just a speck of time when compared to all of eternity. I would want to make sure you have eternity covered if I ever had a chance to make use of any of your time. I will pray for you to know Christ as your Savior and for your time to be used best in serving Him. Please email me if we can talk further. Please don’t delete this. In Christ, Rich

    Comment by Rich Alexander -

  48. I have to confess that I’ve been an avid Apprentice fan, but Mark this beats the Apprentice hands down. I can’t wait for the next episode.

    And thank those amazing kids for getting rid of William. He was
    truly, truly annoying.

    Comment by Joy -

  49. Mark,

    I usually avoid watching reality shows. But, the benefactor ROCKS. I love it.

    Comment by Fayrouz Hancock -

  50. I have to confess that I’ve been an avid Apprentice fan, but Mark this beats the Apprentice hands down. I can’t wait for the next episode.

    And thank those amazing kids for getting rid of William. He was truly, truly annoying.

    Comment by Joy -

  51. They made “icky” comments about her, said she was weird (pointing to her picture as proof) and I think the expression they used was “over the edge.” But then one kid remembered that she “liked” Nash and suddenly the tide turned.

    They’re kids, I don’t expect them to catch on to things as quickly as adults would. But it’s also not true that they are more likely than adults to “see through a charade.” They certainly didn’t see through hers, and that’s what saved her neck. Luck is also a big part of success, I guess. Next time she might not be sneak through so easily…

    Comment by Laurie -

  52. An hour of my time well spent. The show is great Mark. First impressions are a big thing with me also. My first impression of you is great. You make the show. If it were anyone else I don’t think The Benefactor would make it. You seem to be a really cool guy and I would really like to meet you and/or work for you. I had success with my own website a few years ago and you make me want to start it up again. GOOD JOB MARK !

    Comment by Les Bruse -

  53. Laurie,
    How do you know that “#13” was the only thing they liked about her? She warmed up to the kids with a smile and a cute teacher voice. Mario and William just were way too awkward. So the #13 thing helped her out, but the kids thought it was enough because she wasn’t a total weirdo, and, at least for those 5 minutes in time, she was a nice person. I agreed 100% with those kids.

    Comment by Dave Schultz -

  54. Amazing out of that whole story, the one thing that sticks in my mind is, “Mark Cuban dunked a basketball?” Was it on a ten-foot rim? How tall is he? If he did on a ten-foot rim with a regulation ball, that may be the most impressive thing I’ve read about him. 🙂

    Comment by Joe -

  55. Watching this show is like hearing a new rock band and becoming mesmerized by their music for the first time. I’ve told people about it, but everyone is so obsessed with “The Apprentice,” that they don’t even want to know about anything else. Their loss.

    Comment by Dave Schultz -

  56. Um, Mark, I love you to death. But I can’t agree that the kids could easily see through a charade. Shawn was the biggest phony I ever saw. But, SERIOUSLY… Kid: “Who’s your favorite Maverick?” Shawn: “Uh, the number 13 guy. Because 13’s my favorite number.”

    The kids did not catch on to the fact that she had no idea who wears (well, WORE, but I’m assuming this was taped before he left) #13 for the Mavs, and she probably couldn’t name one player if the million dollars were offered to her right then and there in cold, hard, tax-free cash.

    I would have busted her on the spot, as would most adults. But the kids–who DID know who wore #13–immediately assumed she really did like Steve Nash, which suddenly made her cool to them, even though she was utterly clueless and they didn’t otherwise like her. This lie formed the entire basis of their opinion of her. (How funny would it have been to bring Steve Nash into the room at some point and watch his “fan” show the true extent of her “knowledge” of the Mavs? BUSTED!)

    That woman is a horror show. If she worked with or for me, I’d probably be putting out fires every hour on the hour because she seems to be very hard to get along with. I thought William would probably be the one I most wanted to push off a cliff, but there you go.

    Comment by Laurie -

  57. I was not a fan of “Reality Shows” in the past. I watched you on The View a couple of weeks ago and thought I would give your show a chance. It doesn’t seem to be staged at all. That was my biggest problem with the other shows. I think your doing a great job so far. Keep up the good work and I hope maybe I can be on your next show. Which I’m sure will be totally differnt, since this is expect the unexpected.

    Comment by Jorge -

  58. Loved the show tonight. The entire premise is down to earth and about the basic important points to life. Living large, being yourself, and not holding back on experiencing life while taking challenges. Kudo’s to the show.

    Comment by Lawrence Berry -

  59. Mark,

    I would like to take this opprotunity to thank your board of directors for being oh so very wise in getting rid of William. They should be rewarded with their favourite candy and jerseys singed by Nash himself. Praise be to those childen who have made my “Benefactor” watching experience so much more enjoyable. I cannot wait for the next episode!

    Comment by Margaret A. McGregor -

  60. hey mark..
    just wanted to let you know. I was surprised and ENTERTAINED with the show tonight.. it wasnt predicatable at all..in fact to be honest i thought that bigger BS guy would end up going all the way through… good show..
    wish i coulda been on it !

    Comment by Mike Verinder -

  61. Hey Mark, I love reading your blog. I will definately watch the show tonight. I think its awesome that you find time to write in here.

    Comment by Payam -

  62. Every time I read about you, whether it be in the paper, on-line or a magazine…and everytime I hear about you on the radio (pugs/kelly, russ martin) or t.v….it’s always the same story.

    It’s always a huge ego-filled session of how you make your money, how you risked it all, how you threw sh!t into the wind and it came back as rose petals.

    Ok, already, we get the point. You were lucky. You are smart. You made some good/bad business/life decisions…blah, blah, blah. Must you post all these self-gratifying articles/interviews on your blog?

    When you do, it sort of comes off as a self made shrine in which you try to get your coax your ego and float out all your gracious success out to everyone and anyone that will listen or read about it. It really is getting to the point of it being spoonfed and tiresome.

    Now I know could say “well, don’t come to my blog if you don’t want to read about me and my success.”, but I enjoy coming here to read about your tips and strategies on economic market conditions or your enjoyably suspensful reality t.v. show. What I don’t come here for is to read the same, boring, redundant, “success” story/question-answers everyone in this world has already heard or read elsewhere.

    Comment by Jason -

  63. I was just watching the behind the scenes clip of the whole Jenga game and GOD is William annoying! OK, yeah I don’t know the guy and maybe he’s not really annoying, but there’s just something about him that really bugs me. So, Mark if you could ever be so kind to your viewing public could you please, please, pllllllllleeeeeaaaaaasssseee get rid of William? Make him be Eric Bischoff’s slave for a day and see what that does to him. Oh wait… maybe that’s not a good idea seeing as Bischoff is just as annoying as William. Darn! Guess I’m going to have to watch him get cut the old fashioned way, and I can’t wait! Bring on tonight’s episode!

    Comment by Margaret A. McGregor -

  64. Yep, Mark Cuban was born July 31, 1958 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Cuban), and I cannot subtract 2004 minus 1958, which equals 46 not 36. 🙁

    Oh, and my little story was so nice. Maybe he meant to say 47 was the age at which he first dunked.

    Comment by Dan T. Rosenbaum -

  65. First, despite generally agreeing with everything you say, I’ve gotta say I disagree with the advice to small investors as well. Although I have personally f’ed up chances of making a long term return on investment in the stock market, I have also bought stock @ $5.78 per share and seen the same stock reach $170 less than two years later (its trading at the equivalent of $148 post split right now). Try finding that kind of return on investment at your local Wells Fargo.

    Bottom line, there are always opportunities like this in the stock market (though somewhat rare) and if you spend enough time doing solid research and using common sense you can always find 10 stocks with a 70+% of being solid bargains. If there is any advice to be given it should simply be never bet what you can’t afford to lose and that you shouldn’t rely on the so called “experts.”

    Second, quick question. Possibly a crapshoot, but if I pitched you a business idea and put together a business plan over the next month or so, is there any chance you would take it the least bit seriously, and if so could you e-mail me?

    Appreciate your willingness and effort to communicate with the general public.


    Comment by Bill -

  66. I don’t know Mark’s exact age, but I know he is around the age of 45. I rememebr reading something that he was a millionaire by 30 and a billionaire by 40.

    Comment by J.R. Ewing -

  67. Hey Manuel, Mark Cuban was pulling your leg when he said he “first dunked at age 37.” He turned 36 on July 31, so all that comment says is that he is hopeful for the future. 🙂

    Comment by Dan T. Rosenbaum -

  68. Hey Mark! What happened to the High Def broadcast of this show? For the king of HDTV, I’d expect an HD cut of the show to be available. I had read in the press releases that there was supposed to be one, but I didn’t see one last Monday. Can I look forward to a High Def broadcast tonight?

    Comment by HDFan -

  69. Hell yeah Mark. Kilroy’s Sports in Bloomington. Back in the college days,i was there every weekend picking up skanks. God, I miss those times.

    Comment by J.R. Ewing -

  70. I do not agree with Mark’s advice for small investors that they should not buy stocks. The error made by small investors is they simply do not consider the financial risk/reward before purchasing an individual stock.

    If a small investor considers the financial risk/reward before purchasing a stock and buys a small basket of these stocks, they will make money. To do this, they would have to have a broad financial and mathematical background rather than simply looking at the actual business and hype.

    Comment by Aditya Pabuwal -

  71. To all of you who express dislike in the Benefactor.. you have every right to have your own opinion, however, I think you misunderstood what the show was all about. Mr. Cuban explained the concept but you did not listen carefully. These tests are more like the “real world” than anything you have seen before on TV reality shows. Of course they cannot recreate unknown and surprise situations… but from Mr. Cuban’s experience, these are the ways to bring out certain qualities and flaws in each contestant on the show.
    Do not judge the show on the individual tests, look for the meaning and underlying message Mr. Cuban has to give.
    I look forward to the weeks to come.. eye’s wide open and feeling the pressure from each Test you present to them.
    Good Job Mr. Cuban!


    Comment by Ron S -

  72. Nice Comments Mark. I think its great to see that you are so open to the public…
    I met Ross Perot a couple of years ago in my favorite little fish house in Dallas “Mainstream Fish House” (for those wanting to hear the plug).. Ross, a regular there.. drove up in his Ford and was open to the public as well…
    Its just nice to see the openess… I was quite surprised not to see any security or anything… but then again.. I guess Dallas.. isnt LA..

    Comment by Mike Verinder -

  73. “Go for it. If you have nothing and lose, you still have nothing”…that was the best line in this blog. I have nothing, so why not risk it? I try and I try again, I hope in the end all the ideas in my head finally pay off. Some may laugh and just say another failed plan to make money, but I am confident that one plan will pay off, reading and watching Mark Cuban only gives me more drive and ambition. Thanks again!! http://www.dallaspartyrental.com

    Comment by dallaspartyrental.com -

  74. Great comeback to that Trump/Cuban comparrison. The only thing you guys have in common is money, but yours was earned outright, and with the sweat of your brow. You are a much better role model than Trump is anyday.

    Comment by Shelby Cobra Guy -

  75. I am a huge maverick and Cuban fan, and I am hating to say this, but I was very disappointed with the first episode. I am a TV watching freak and I thought compared to the top show premiers the past couple of weeks, The Benefactor was at the bottom of my list. 🙁

    If I used mark’s philosophy that “you don’t get a 2nd chance to make a first impression” and “meeting expectations”, I would not watch it anymore. But because I am loyal to the Mavs, and I like how the Dallas skyline is shown in the background intro, I am going to give it a couple more weeks before I make my final decision to take it off my Tivo schedule

    Comment by Eggman -

  76. Mark –

    I would like to see a post on time management from your perspective. Can you please take the time to share your thoughts? I know you are running more than one business, have a family, and others are constantly in demand of your time. I’m sure a lot of us would like to see how you handle it all.

    The interview is great. Success leaves clues, and thanks for leaving some more. And one more thing….when do we get to hear about the Dampier deal from your perspective?



    Comment by greg -

  77. If cuban can dunk, I can make 50 foot jumpers with my eyes closed.

    Comment by Manuel -

Comments are closed.