The Sport of Business

The Sport of Business.

I can’t go more than a week without shooting baskets. There is something about the feel of the ball coming off my hand, and the sound of the ball going through the net. It just feels good.

If I’m just standing in the gym, I can shoot pretty well. Playing in a game. Well it’s not quite what it used to be. I used to have a spin move that would work for me no matter who I was playing against or what level they were at. If I could get a pick and the defender went under, I didn’t have to think about it, I could hit the shot. These days, my mind knows what to do, but my body just laughs at me. Put me up against 20 year olds, and I won’t embarass myself but it’s only because I know how to set a pick and hit an open,a very wide open jumper, and spend the rest of the game getting out of the way.

I love to compete. I always have. Playing basketball was just something I had to do no matter how good I was and its something I will always do, no matter how old I get. It gives me a chance to blow off steam. It gives me a way to refocus.

But no matter how much I love to play the game or how involved and competitive I getduring aMavs game, it’s only a minor release. Real competition comes from the sport of business.

In sports, you know who your opponents are. You know when you are going to play a game. You know pretty much how long the game will last. It’s mentally and physically exhausting if you are at the top of the game, but it still pails at the effort required to be successful in business.

The sport of business isnt divided into games. It’s not defined by practices. It doesn’t have set rules that everyone plays by.

The sport of business is the ultimate competition. It’s 7x24x365xforever.

I love the sport of business. I love the competition. I love the fire of it. It’s the feelingof the clock winding down, the ball is in your hands, and if you hit the shot you win…all day, every day.

Relaxing is for the other guy. I may be sitting in front of the TV, but I’m not watching it unless I think there is something I can learn from it. I’m thinking about things I can use in my business and the TV is just there.

I could take the time to read a fiction book, but I don’t. I would rather read websites, newspapers, magazines, looking for ideas and concepts that I can use. I spend time in bookstores because 1 idea from a book or magazine can make me money.

I’m not going to go to dinner with you just to chat. I’m not going to give you a call to see how you are. Unless you want to talk business. Other guys play fantasy sports. I fire the synapses to get an edge.

That’s what success is all about. I’ts about the edge.

It’s not who you know. It’s not how much money you have. It’s very simple. It’s whether or not you have the edge and have the guts to use it.

The edge is getting so jazzed about what you do, you just spent 24 hours straight working on a project and you thought it was a couple hours.

The edge is knowing that you have to be the smartest guy in the room when you have your meeting and you are going to put in the effort to learn whatever you need to learn to get there.

The edge is knowing is knowing that when the 4 girlfriends you have had in the last couple years asked you which was more important, them or your business, you gave the right answer.

The edge is knowing that you can fail and learn from it, and just get back up and in the game.

The edge is knowing that people think your crazy, and they are right, but you don’t care what they think.

The edge is knowing how to blow off steam a couple times a week, just so you can refocus on business

The edge is knowing that you are getting to your goals and treating people right along the way because as good as you can be, you are so focused that you need regular people around you to balance you and help you.

The edge is being able to call out someone on a business issue because you know you have done your homework.

The edge is recognizing when you are wrong, and working harder to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

The edge is being able to drill down and identify issues and problems and solve them before anyone knows they are there.

The edge is knowing that while everyone else is talking about nonsense like the will to win, and how they know they can be successful, you are preparing yourself to compete so that you will be successful.

That’s what makes business such an amazing sport. Everyone plays it. Everyone talks about how good they are or will be at it. Just a small percentage are.

Every single day someone has an idea. Every day someone talks about some business they want to start. Every day someone is out there starting a business whose entire goal is to beat the hell out of yours. How cool is that.

Every day some stranger from any where in the world that you have never met is trying to come up with a way to put you out of business. To take everything you have worked your ass off for, and take it all away. If you are in a growing industry, there could be hundreds or thousands of strangers trying to figure out ways to put you out of business. How cool is that.

The ultimate competition. Would you like to play a game called Eat Your Lunch. We are going to face off. My ability to execute on an idea vs yours. My ability to subvert your businessvs your ability to keep it going. My ability to create ways to remove any reason for your business to exist vs your ability to do the same to me. My ability to know what you are going to do, before you do it. Who gets there first? Best of all, this game doesn’t have a time limit. It’s forever. It never ends. It’s the ultimate competition.

It’s the sport of business. It’s not for everyone, butI love it.

I’m fortunate. I have done well enough financially thatI don’t have to play 24x7x365. I can and have cut back to 18x7x365. Family first now.

But in those 18 hours, you can bet I’m competing, and loving it.

But that’s me. You have to figure out what works for you.

106 thoughts on “The Sport of Business

  1. Pingback: How To Get Rich By Mark Cuban « Prosperity Junky

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  4. Once more the pattern emerged as Frazier loosed all of the fury, all that has made him a brilliant heavyweight. He was in close now, fighting off Ali’s chest, the place where he has to be. His old calling card-that sudden evil, his left hook-was working the head of Ali.

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  5. I look at basketball players in the NBA, and watch them shoot foul shots. There is the player who misses 50% of the time at the line, and then there is the guy who never misses. However, sometimes the guy who is 50/50 at the line can be a great rebounder. It just goes to show you that his competition to shoot foul shots is a personal competition within to make more foul shots.

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  6. Hello!

    You (and the many, many others here who have praised your blog) have missed on the purpose of life. As Rick Warren says in his Purpose-Driven Life book, “It’s not about you” (or any of us). If you “succeed” in business, it won’t last forever and is certainly not all due to you. For some reason, God has blessed you with wealth. I recognize that you have spent some of your wealth to help others, and I commend you greatly for that. But your wealth came because God blessed you. Your challenged is now to use it to help others, and not to brag about your own brilliance. In that way, you can bring glory to the one who blessed you. Best wishes.

    Comment by tadalafil -

  7. Your view on the sport of business reminds me of objectivism so famously introduced by Ayrn Rand’s in “Atlas Shrugged”. According to the FT, Eddie Lampert (K-Mart chairman) gave free copies of the audio version away at a recent meeting when he released he was taking over Sears.


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  9. i like the blog!


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  10. good!

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  11. Awesome article, you got me all pumped MC.

    Comment by Avin Samtani -

  12. This is my website –

    Comment by the online sports bettor -

  13. Mark,
    I have been in business for myself for long time and I have been very sucessful both financially and personally (Great Family). I must say this was one of the best articles that I have ever read. I am much older than you but this could have been written by me. I was just never that eloquent. Now my work days are about 4 hours per day. What you said in this article is very much fact and I beleive it totally. Thanks again. David

    Comment by David -

  14. ok, i’m sorry – well since i want to “be like mark” so much I guess I shouldn’t waste time writing things on the internet, he would NEVER do that….

    Comment by Andrew -

  15. if you are reading this post, you will never be like Mark. why on earth would you have stumbled through all of this rehash. Go do something with your life like Mark has.
    Play FORWARD.

    Comment by dale -

  16. Burning out soon? I don’t think you understand… I have the same mindset as Mark Cuban, and burning out isn’t an option. Of course, you have to take a step back from time to time to keep focused, but you can’t let yourself burn out, because if you did then you would be putting you competition at an advantage, an that can’t happen.

    Comment by Andrew -

  17. Mark – with 18x7x365, do u have a life?

    u say family first – but they get 6x7x365 outta ur time – is it good enuf for them?

    watch for burning out soon.. good luck.

    Comment by Sriram -

  18. I’d rather be Warren Buffet. He has more money and drinks cherry cokes with his steaks 😛

    Comment by csr -

  19. A colleague of mine sent me this web page after I work one of those crazy shifts. I sent him my comments and he suggested that I post it here – so here you go. Take care everyone.

    Nice. I always believed that people who play or have played sports, a team sport preferably, make very good employees. For one thing they have a higher than average understanding of teamwork, cooperation and the importance of their role. Second, they compete and do what it takes to win.

    I also think that you should have a vision of the kind of player/employee you’d like to be then work your way to get to that point or get that kind of reputation. The vision that I have for myself when I played sports and now as an employee is the same: a clutch performer (when it counts the most I want to be in the middle of the action), reliable/versatile (I’m willing try anything to win), a smart player (thinking of the big game and not just the little plays, looking for opponent weaknesses, making the right decisions and etc) and be a workhorse (I’ll always get back up and move forward). I’m not the flamboyant striker of the team but I’m the quiet, dependable middle-fielder who executes the fundamentals, play at both ends and makes the important passes to the strikers. 🙂

    Comment by Nathan F. -

  20. This is the best article I have read yet. Everyday someone out there is looking to take what you have. People don’t admire billionaires, professional athletes, and movie stars. They want what they have fame and money. Few people have the drive and determination that it takes to suceed. Your comments are a cross between Donald Trump and Pat Croce. You deserve everything you have achieved. Your comments have inspired many.
    As far as those that are not inspired they realize they don’t have the drive that it takes to reach your level. .

    Comment by Brian McCafferty -

  21. I challenge you to a 3-point or free throw contest when you are in Miami, Florida. You pick.

    Knicks fan for life,


    Comment by Scott H Fishman -

  22. One of the things I would do to point out how you have to be aware of what’s important is, when I would interview for a job as a computer programmer, is I would ask the recruiter a question. I would say, “For say, a professional sports team, like say a football team like the Redskins (I live in the Washington, DC metro area, so that’s familiar to everyone), what is the most important thing they need to do each year?”

    I’m not even interested in sports but I knew the correct answer, which essentially nobody could ever give me. Invariably the response would be that they needed to win, or that they needed to get to the playoffs or the superbowl, or whatever. I pointed out that’s not the most important thing for any sports team.

    The most important thing for any professional sports team is to make a profit. If you have a fan base that loves the team and you sell tickets, sky boxes and broadcast rights, it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, as long as you remain profitable. In fact, I know there are teams that regularly lose or don’t win a lot that people still support.

    My point in asking it was to show that, regardless of how good I can do my job, if the company doesn’t make money, I don’t. So I want to make sure that what I do helps assist in that process.

    But the fact is, if you ran a professional sports team, won every game consistently, and the owner didn’t have the money or the desire to keep subsidizing it, a team that loses money will soon be disbanded. All the other things – wins, championships, and anything else – can be accomplished through changes in personnel, strategy or tactics.

    But if the team keeps losing money it doesn’t make a dime’s bit of difference how good they are, either the owner needs the tax losses (as in the movie “Slap Shot”), the owner will sell the team and the new owner will make it change or close the team down, or the owner will change the team so it stops losing money, or close it down if he can’t. No team, no matter how good it is, will operate for long if it consistently loses money. And a team that consistently makes money is going to keep operating year after year even if it loses games often. And that is something a lot of people – even some that are involved in professional sports – seem to have forgotten.

    Paul Robinson

    Comment by Paul Robinson -

  23. Impressive post although I think that, especialy during fast innovation times as again these years, it is often wise to sit and do some prospective thinking. I wrote a book called 2010 Virtual Future (in french only at this time:) and to achieve this you need to immerge yourself.

    I like the image that Stark, a French designer, uses: he compares himself to a whale with an open mouth absorbing the krill that feeds it. Hecktic activity is often a business need but vision requires also quite&calm thinking…

    Comment by Malo Girod de l'Ain -

  24. God, I am so glad I’m not afflicted with your insufferable obssession. I am happy, content, financially well off, and most of all… balanced in life. I wouldn’t trade places with you for any amount of money.

    Anyone who has multiple billions to his name and still obssesses 24/7/365 (sorry, now only 18/7/365) about how to get more and screw others out of theirs, in my opinion is, literally, mentally ill.

    Comment by Todd -


    Comment by GAV -

  26. Mark,
    You (and the many, many others here who have praised your blog) have missed on the purpose of life. As Rick Warren says in his Purpose-Driven Life book, “It’s not about you” (or any of us). If you “succeed” in business, it won’t last forever and is certainly not all due to you. For some reason, God has blessed you with wealth. I recognize that you have spent some of your wealth to help others, and I commend you greatly for that. But your wealth came because God blessed you. Your challenged is now to use it to help others, and not to brag about your own brilliance. In that way, you can bring glory to the one who blessed you. Best wishes.

    Comment by Craig Scott -

  27. WOW! I am impressed!
    Thanks for the inspirational words! To me, you are a true hero (who occasionally wears a clown suit). Some people can’t understand you? I think your an awesome role model!

    Comment by GAV -

  28. Lets skip the family issue here and take a closer look at his description of the drive of competitiveness,- that to me is the message – Its what business is all about : competition + intellegence, mix academia cause it helps too. Musicians/artist sometimes find themselves not being with their families for years, searching for the golden lacque and chinese workers come into big cities for work monday to friday, no family, i’ll search for the blog about your comments of replacing your staffs if they don’t like their pay cause thousands are lined up –
    thats disturbing.Stress the famous word for: Bored. Reason? NO challenge-
    I say keep on keeping; don’t step on toes bruv.

    Comment by Pedro Okojie -

  29. Lee Iacocca said it best: “The harder I worked the luckier i get”

    Confuscious also said it best: “Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life”

    The people who are sitting here talking about how you need to get a life or stop working as much will never understand where you are coming from.

    As a 21 year old entreprenuer who is graduating from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School in 3 years, running his first successful company, and in negotations to purchase a 5 million dollar business. I completely understand the truths you speak of.

    At first I thought I was being egotistical to think that I had almost all of the same qualities you spoke of, but then I asked my girlfriend to read it and she thought it was a description of myself.

    Next time you are sitting next to Les say hi to him for me. He’s my professor and I was the one that suggested he should contact you.



    Comment by Steven -

  30. An excellent post! I like it! Although I am not in the “Sport of Business” (yes, you are right, it’s not for everyone), I feel your full passion in it!

    Comment by Kevin Yuen -

  31. A very interesting post. It was enlightening to read how Mark Cuban thinks, since I’m the polar opposite when it comes to business and competition. Yet, it’d be a much different world if some people hadn’t worked 24x7x365xForever on their passion/business. The world needs people who will sacrifice everything else to do the big jobs.

    Comment by Hank Silvers -

  32. Yes – you da’ man. Intensity. That’s all we’re talking about here. Work hard, play hard. And intensity usually wins out, because focus leaves little room for doubt or stress.

    As for posting#50 and ‘All work and no play make Jack a dull boy'” … who says work can’t be fun? If you love what you do, and the people you love always love you right back for everything you do, that’s plenty of balance.

    Comment by macthom -

  33. Mark…you da’ man. You got the edge!!!

    Comment by Bo Bice -

  34. LOL its funny that everyone has taken the comments on time spent with family and turned it into an issue.

    I think what needs to be focused on is commitment to what Mark is commited to doing in building his business. Is the fact that he’s a billionaire the reason everyone wants to comment on the time spent with family.

    Get over it and get back to work on feeding your own family.

    Comment by Daniel Smith -

  35. I guess his family gets to watch him sleep for those 6 hours. Thats sad

    Comment by vince -

  36. I have discovered in my 74 years of living my life that if you want to succed in life is do it yourself. When I read an article in the Dallas Morning news about Casino Gambling in Texas my first thought was to send you an email to let you know about that article and then I realised that you probably already knew about that article. My intentions were selfish and I was looking for a handout of money from you to help me in my quest for creating my own business. I don’t want to bore you with my intentions so I will just say ” If you want to start a business with God on your side,the best way is do it yourself”.

    Comment by Billy Earl Taylor -

  37. Your “family” must feel so special!

    Comment by Carter Tracht -

  38. “That’s what makes business such an amazing sport. Everyone plays it. Everyone talks about how good they are or will be at it. Just a small percentage are.”

    I can’t argue with the fact that you are a good business man and the fact you have started and sold at least 2 very profitable companies speaks for itself. In this I admit, although it eats me up inside to do so, you have demonstrated superiority and excellence.

    Your comment above speaks mountains about the fact that those that can do and those that can’t talk about it and wish they could.

    I am currently one of those that talk about it and have not yet figured out how to break through… granted my sole income comes from my own business… but I would not call it a success yet …

    … and to all you other jabber jaws that laugh at me for admitting it and say you are doing it…. How many employees do you support and what is your positive balance sheet number? I am not talking about weekend warriors that have a second job and a full time salaried job that supports them… I am talking about owning your own business as your sole source of income. 99.999% of you guys in this column talk the talk but don’t walk the walk…

    I commend you on your success in taking a vision and making it a profit engine….

    I literally have the vision, the patents, and future of eCommerce Television as confirmed in meetings with Microsoft, TiVo, MSO’s like Viacom such as MTV … all agree things will be done the way I have patented. Some even offered to purchase my patents…but they all refuse to let a small company play in their sandbox…

    Instead they are designing separate solutions which will require me to sue them for patent infringement… if I ever have the resources…

    What is my point in all this… it is that even with you… strategic funding and partnerships have been a big part of your success. In a documentary on you it talks about how you started by flying and meeting with over 26 future business partners which led to the financing of That is where you are different from all of us… in being successful in going that extra .099% in making a good idea and business plan a reality… In that you have no equal… I will give you that…

    The future is still to be seen with HDNet… but I must I would not invest anything into it with your current direction….

    One final note… Although I admit I envy your ability to create the deal….

    When you are old and about to pass on…. You won’t say… I wish I had worked harder or been successful at this deal or that deal…. You will say…

    I wish I spent more time with my family…

    Comment by Webglue -

  39. I love the post. Probably because I think the same way. I can’t remember the last time I read a fiction book, I stay in bookstores reading and the rest of the time out on the street passing out flyers for my business.

    In some ways, connections help. In some ways, money helps also (obviously) I am a 31 y.o. Black guy who started with less than zero. I can only build my business with my brain, and my feet. Until I have the cash or the people, I’ll do the best I can.

    Also in some ways basketball gives me peace – it’s only you and the ball, and the sound of the the ball going through the net. Nothing’s as peaceful as that. When I buy my first house, you can best believe that no matter the size I will have a hoop with a light nearby to play whenever I want.

    Comment by Mike Davis -

  40. I don’t have 1% of money u have so I guess I don’t have right to speak @ your edge talk. But what we have seen, you edge some how is failing. After yahoo acquisition, I don’t see any news stating how your wealth has grown or for that matter business has grown. You will certainly have those fig, just state that you have grown 7-8 or 80% every year in wealth (Ultimately what it comes down to). Just let us know that no. We can say that edge is working.
    Great post though, very inspiring for newcomers like me, also your articles on days you spent before building microtech or microsolutions.

    Comment by Kedar -

  41. Awesome post Mark. It is weird how business can be almost like an addiction.

    I realized that the other day when I could not sit through a movie without thinking business.


    Comment by Derrick -

  42. Awesome.

    Comment by Kevin Glennon -

  43. Mark’s the guy who throws up brick after brick and feels successful because the team won the game.

    I’m the guy who knows the ball has a 70% chance of coming off the rim on the opposite side, grabs the rebound and hits the open sales guy who finds the net.

    After the win, Mark and the sales guy go off to the bar to discuss their victory while I go home to my three kids and read a bed time story.

    We all have roles…

    Comment by PSC -

  44. Mark, once again you freaking rock my world and show me how much emphasis there is on the word “business” in my world of show BUSINESS.

    I hope you don’t mind that I snag some of this post to put in my blog, (giving you credit of course), and sharing how it relates to acting & modeling for my other pals in the entertainment field.

    “The edge is knowing is knowing that when the 4 girlfriends you have had in the last couple years asked you which was more important, them or your business, you gave the right answer.”

    I so relate. I can honestly say that I really haven’t had a date in about 4 years. It’s not that I’m unattractive or have a crappy personality, it’s just that when a guy finds out he’s going to be second to my acting career, the conversation usually ends there. I didn’t move 2500 miles away from my family to find a boyfriend. I moved 2500 miles from home to succeed in my business.

    Comment by Amy -

  45. as has been said about aging atheletes,

    “your mind is writing checks that your body can’t cash”

    Comment by cbgb -

  46. Someone asked what business advantage Mark gets from this blog. Other than those mentioned in Post #40, he also gets the advantage of being able to speak directly to fans and the media. He’s not going to be misquoted or misrepresented when everybody can go read his comments from the same source.

    Comment by Tim -

  47. Your view on the sport of business reminds me of objectivism so famously introduced by Ayrn Rand’s in “Atlas Shrugged”. According to the FT, Eddie Lampert (K-Mart chairman) gave free copies of the audio version away at a recent meeting when he released he was taking over Sears.

    Comment by TJ Hellman -

  48. Perhaps sometime you would write about how you define success. Can you really quantify success? Is it really all about numbers? I suspect it goes much deeper than that for you and for a lot of people. There is the joy of competing with others and then there’s the incomparable feeling of striving to meet your own high goals and standards.

    Comment by Martha -

  49. Mark,

    Your honesty is so cool and to the point. We all grow up playing competitive board games and sports. The indoctrination with the rules starts early and I say, “play or be played”. Seems like you’ve invited everyone to find their game and be the best at it. AND you’ve been able to communicate clearly the psychological aspects of the adult game.

    Those who are not as strong in the competitive spirit and stronger in friendship don’t get the accolades and recognition (Yao vs. Shaq) in the competitive game. There’s more than one circus in town (so to speak). TV commentators say that Yao needs more Yang and I too say Yao “I love your Yin” and yeh in the game “give it all your Yang” if you’re gonna be the one holding the trophy. Shawn are you listening.

    And I say, there’s plenty of opportunities to be kind & generous in the game of basketball. Just bring your heart to the table (Michael Jordan).

    So, Mark, it’s cool that you speak your heart/mind and know your game. I see you’ve invited everyone else to do the same. I accept your challenge.

    See you at the SEA in SAC on March 24th.


    Comment by Raju -

  50. Joy,

    Face to face with a worthy opponent.

    I think we were made for that.

    Nice work,


    Comment by Allan -

  51. Mark,

    I loved your rant! I assume this partly has to do with the blowing off steam part you mentioned.

    I agree with you on every point about living on the edge, but I have a question? Does luck have anything to do with success? I can play the game all I want, and I know that eventually I will succede, but does my degree of success depend on a little luck or is it all as the famous Napolean Dynamite would say “Mad Skills”?

    Know your busy, thanks for another great post,

    Comment by Stephen Stull -

  52. Re work-life balance.

    For me it is about paying the price – first determine what the price is and then decide if you want to pay it. Often, if you get creative you can set things up so that you get most of what you want and balance work and play.

    Comment by peter -

  53. Some of us do our best thinking about our work in the shower, in the car, on a plane – I do, thank God for my Vaio…I liken it to the songwriter who constantly has paper and pen at hand to capture ideas that just BOOM, hit them. Brainstorming is what it is all about. Call it work obsession as some do, but thats what makes you realize you are truly doing what you are meant to be doing, enthusiasm and excitement about projects, meetings and business endeavors, are to me, just as satisfying as the monetary rewards that stem from them. My best work thinking comes every day in the shower…strange, but true. Not so much obsessed, but enthused and if you’ve got that under your belt, well then, the possibilities are simply endless…again, it is like the songwriter writing a hit – you stop thinking about the next verse and that piece of paper winds up in the trash can, or falls by the wayside. What good is a blank slate? Enthusiasm is a key element to success – you simply have to have it to succeed. It is the ultimate high.

    Comment by Jennifer -

  54. I get a feeling that all the people bashing Mark on his overzealousness about business are either a)women or b)people who have accomplished little financially. For many, the focal point in the life is their family, and that is in fact the norm for most people. But it is ones like Mark who achieve truly special things the business world and bring us special products by working 24×7, just like Barry Bonds and David Beckham thrill the world with their incredible atheltic talent.

    The reason we have so many amazing things…cars, computers, internet… at our disposal is the spirit and work ethic of entrepreneurs. Without this, we would be a backward nation of life-loving people, as opposed to one that leads and inspires the rest of the world. You can love life and live it as as you wish, but do not criticize the people that allow you to fall back and enjoy it.

    Comment by Charley -

  55. Focusing 24/7/365 on the game of business is easy if you dream about business while you sleep. You don’t have to have a bad life and neglect your family in order to be focused on business as some are suggesting in these comments.

    I have dreams about options spreads and C++ code all the time while I’m sleeping next to my girlfriend at night. When I’m rollerblading with her in the evening, we’re enjoying a little quality time, but at the same time I’m also checking out real-estate…noting which houses have come onto the market, etc…

    Comment by Cowan DuBose -

  56. Really inspirational stuff.

    If you want to do well in life, you have to have a good degree of determination and flat-out cold-heartedness towards competitors. It’s true that there are many individuals, even moreso now due to globalization, that are looking to clobber you and gobble up your market share. These people don’t smile and give you flowers, and you should show the same courtesy to them.

    Many of the successful people in the world don’t get ahead by being nice to EVERYBODY.

    Comment by Bryan -

  57. Mark, very interesting blog. It’s no wonder, with commentary like this, you have achieved such success to date.

    However, as a famous philosopher, Jack N, wrote, in fact wrote many times, “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”.

    Also, make sure you use those freed up 6 hours of the day to attend your kid(s) baseball game or recital, otherwise you will be looking for a new family.

    Comment by Adrian Miller -

  58. “The edge is knowing is knowing that when the 4 girlfriends you have had in the last couple years asked you which was more important, them or your business, you gave the right answer.”

    I take it you imply “your business” is the right answer.

    Am I the only one that finds that really SAD? Life shouldn’t be about living so you can work, it should be about working so you can LIVE.

    Comment by Jason (Go Pacers) -

  59. Great article this. Helped me get fired up for a great performance in my game today.

    Comment by Ed Voice -

  60. Mark,

    Great comments and insight as always. There is a big difference in playing for fun (be it business or basketball) and playing to win. I learned that playing in Hoop-It-Up. If you are playing for fun, you will go home early. Thanks again.

    Comment by Glen Wilson -

  61. “It’s not who you know. It’s not how much money you have.”

    In the comments, some have disagreed with this. At first, it may seem that these are key, but the are NOT. You have to go deeper to find the root. If you have the drive, the motivation, then these are simply obstacles to overcome.

    Comment by Chris Hamoen -

  62. I happen to be one of the luckiest people in the world. I work for a company and a person that let’s me fully exploit my love for being on the “edge”, dreaming, executing, creating new markets and combinations. It’s the one thing, like Marcus Buckingham says, allows me to, not just excel, but love excelling.

    For someone who doesn’t understand this concept of “edge”, it’s something very difficult to decsribe to them … almost like a foreign language. For instance, I could easily take a “job” that pays a nice, comfortable salary. But I would not be happy or feel fulfilled in such a role.

    Comment by Scott Jones -

  63. Great post.

    Imagine what it would be like for everyone else to be constantly watched, critiqued and rated by the viewing public.

    I have massive respect when I see these players performing so well under such pressure.

    Comment by Peter -

  64. Mark,

    How oldfashioned you are. Like in medieval ages – beat or be beaten. IMO it’s not always the case. In “modern” and fashionable ways of doing business they always tell you to put yourself (and your opponent/cooperant) in a “win-win” position. Then you can still have the edge, but you leave youself a chance to “milk the cow” one more time. Outsmart them but do it quietly & do not let them notice. Do it just as our fiscal authorities do – make them pay taxes, but do not leave’em broke so they’ll pay more taxes in the future.
    You do not have to always leave burned ground, like Sas tribes used to ?
    And coming back to your basketball skills. You used to have “The move” (maybe even The Shot ;-), but now reality bites and you step back and let others do the job ? No way ! I used to be quite decent SG. But I tore my Achilles tendon, so I’m not quick anymore, I do not jump any high. But did I step back ? No way ! I just shifted to PG and make things happen differently. You do not have to be Parker-type of PG to be succesfull. You do not have to penetrate all the time. With changing environment you change your ways and if you do it smart you can be even more productive/succesfull. “Adjust” is a key word in sports and generally in life. So do adjust and stay productive.
    That also applies to your franchise. Give Dirk a break and let him rest his knee. Do not play him +40 every game and it will pay off in playoffs when you’ll have your ultimate challenge for the season.



    Comment by L'e-szczur -

  65. Did I get post #41?…If I didn’t I tried to at the start of my writing..It’s an important number to me..Remember a guy named Piccolo..Yeah, #41 for the Chicago Bears…Another important number for me is #241…Meaning 2 for 1…That’s what my invention is all about..Thanks for your insight Mark, and just wanted to take time to honor someone not with us here anymore on earth but his spirit and drive live within all of us..Do good things, hopefully my invention will help others, too..One for the Pic!..And Gale Sayers, too!..#40…

    Comment by ShadNet -

  66. “[The professional businessman] is the great liberator, who in the short span of a century and a half has released men from bondage to their physical needs, has released them from the terrible drudgery of an eighteen-hour workday of manual labor for their barest subsistence, has released them from famines, from pestilences, from the stagnant hopelessness and terror in which most of mankind had lived in all the pre-capitalist centuries and in which most of it still lives today in non-capitalistic countries.”

    [“For the New Intellectual,” For the New Intellectual, 27.]

    Comment by karl meisenbach -

  67. Re: #37

    “What business advantage does Mark get from this blog?”

    If you’ve been keeping up with the posts, you’d know that Mark is an investor in Weblogs, Inc. The company that owns this blogging network.

    When Google buys Weblogs, Inc. someday, you’ll understand one of the reasons he maintains this blog.

    Comment by KC -

  68. Interesting commentary, Mark. You’re of course a good business person. I’m impressed with people who work hard like you, and write a blog that’s motivating, but sometimes the competition is not against another, it’s a competition within oneself. If you’re an artist, a writer, musician, talented programmer, you’re not competing against others, or even an athlete, you’re not trying to put the other guy out of business, you’re trying to make your business the best. You’re also competing against yourself when you’re an artist or creative person, as your work is different and unique from the other person’s. Your commentary was your own words, and your thoughts, and your experiences. Sometimes people work very hard at something, but just aren’t as lucky or as fortunate as the person that it may come easy to, but they still make it through their struggles successfully.

    I look at basketball players in the NBA, and watch them shoot foul shots. There is the player who misses 50% of the time at the line, and then there is the guy who never misses. However, sometimes the guy who is 50/50 at the line can be a great rebounder. It just goes to show you that his competition to shoot foul shots is a personal competition within to make more foul shots. Of course he wants to make them, but he’s not going to put the other guy out of business, he just may sit on the bench more, and then the other player will spend more time.

    There are a few ways to look at it, and it’s great to see that you’re well on your feet with this.

    Also, success is a TEAM effort, no matter how you put it. The guy who sells (whatever it may be product) is out to sell more than the next, but the people on his team are ultimately his customers. If he doesn’t get the customers, even when his product may be very good or excellent, it doesn’t help out.

    Also, it’s great to have money, but money does not buy happiness with your family. However, everyone who is a billionaire is supposedly happier than those who are millionaires. If you make it on the billionaire list, you might as well be proud of yourself.

    Comment by Eric -

  69. Mark, I’ve owned my own business, cabinetmaker, partner, 12 employees, for thirty years. Business success is how you define it. I have no idea if you have made more money with the Mav’s as the laker owners have with the Lakers. I started watching in ’68. I don’t watch basketball to see who makes the most money. Out.

    Comment by Norman Johnson -

  70. What business advantage does Mark get from this blog?

    Comment by Sky -

  71. Ive spent a lot of time with family. Id rather have money.

    Comment by Scott Sewell -

  72. I wanted to thank you for the article on the sport of business. It provided me more inspiration… I started my business (Sonic Electronix) at 17 and I continue to work constantly. My (ex)girlfriend just broke of with me because I put my business first. I found it somewhat depressing because she was my first, but after reading your blog, I found more inspiration.

    I currently live at my place of business (not for financial reasons, but because I want to be HERE always). I am 22 now, and I know I will not (and cannot) slow down. My competition drives me to be better. Success drives me to become bigger. I want to dominate my industry and step into other industries.

    My family thinks I work too much. My friends think I have no life. I think they are the crazy ones… When I am eventually at MY “18x7x365” life, I will be able to reminisce on the things they said.

    In conclusion, I just wanted you to know there are other “crazy” guys out there like you. Perhaps someday, I will be the one who turns the Clipper franchise around like you have done with the Mavericks. At that time, we can discuss business ideas at a nice dinner.

    Have a great day buddy. I have to go back to work now…

    Comment by Nathaniel Victor -

  73. Although I greatly appreciate the value of hard work, there is an awful lot to be gained from slacking. The point is that not everyone is a businessman, and probably, not everyone should be. Whether business itself is competition or an art or some mix depends on who you are and what you want to get out of it, how you measure value. What was I saying? Ah, nevermind, I never stick to the plan anyway.

    Onward I slouch towards the peaks of slackerdom and mediocrity.

    Comment by wd -

  74. Mark, you take yourself too seriously. 100 years from now nobody will give a damn.

    Comment by Nick -

  75. Mark,

    True as far you went, but you stopped short of the logical conclusion that a businessperson much reach if (s)he is to be a true champion in the sport today.

    As you imply, a true champion doesn’t duck contenders.

    But today the playing field is not level.

    As such, not all would-be contenders can have their chance.

    Today, then, the aspirant to the status of true champion knows that the competition for him/her is on the playing field where the work is being done to level the playing field for all.

    The field, in other words, where the work is being done to fulfill the promise of for-profit customized education and career services (CECS), because, over time, loan programs run by CECS providers will, as nearly as may be, democratize educational and economic opportunity for all people.

    This being said, if anyone needs me, I’m the guy in the middle of the CECS ring.

    And if anyone wants a little feel for what it will be like to enter this ring against me, (re-)read the Sports Illustrated article on the 3rd Ali-Frazier fight.

    The key excerpt:

    “Came the sixth, and here it was, that one special moment that you always look for when Joe Frazier is in a fight. Most of his fights have shown this: You can go so far into that desolate and dark place where the heart of Frazier pounds, you can waste his perimeters, you can see his head hanging in the public square, may even believe that you have him, but then suddenly you learn that you have not.

    Once more the pattern emerged as Frazier loosed all of the fury, all that has made him a brilliant heavyweight. He was in close now, fighting off Ali’s chest, the place where he has to be. His old calling card-that sudden evil, his left hook-was working the head of Ali. Two hooks ripped with slaughterhouse finality at Ali’s jaw, causing Imelda Marcos to look down at her feet, and the President to wince as if a knife had been stuck in his back. Ali’s legs seemed to search for the floor. He was in serious trouble, and he knew that he was in no-man’s land.”

    Good luck to you all 😉

    Comment by Frank Ruscica -

  76. Reminds me of Tony Robbins ” get the edge ” was that an inspiration to you? although you took it in a new direction, I dug it a lot. I learn from you in the same way you learn from others, it’s a push pull effect, and i’m glad you’re who you are..

    There’s an old saying I like.

    ” you wouldnt care so much what people think of you, if you knew how seldom they did “

    Comment by Ian Morrison -

  77. >>>>”I may be sitting in front of the TV, but I’m not watching it unless I think there is something I can learn from it. I’m thinking about things I can use in my business and the TV is just there.”

    Great line – couldn’t be more on target.

    Of course, I wish more folks would employ that understanding when designing certain TV shows.

    Comment by Matt Rutledge -

  78. Where is the line between hard work/dedication/commitment and pathology?

    I found this post to be very creepy, and shockingly reminiscent of those unfortunately familiar newspaper stories which detail the monomaniacal obsession of some stalker or serial killer.

    Mark, you are “motivated,” but have ever asked why?

    Comment by PL -

  79. It amazes me… people taking a business post out of context to mean “the billionaire” doesn’t love his family.


    You have provided more for your family than most people can imagine. The priceless gift of “an example of the American Dream”.

    Most “men” and I use the term loosely are coming home from their hard day at the pris… um I mean office and spend their evenings watching the latest episode of the “Apprentice”. Rather than making “it” happen for their families

    This post is an inspiration for those of us who are Entrepreneurs and take it within the spirt and context it was delivered. Thanks!

    Comment by Tim -

  80. The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”

    “Once a man has made a commitment to a way of life, he puts the greatest strength in the world behind him. It’s something we call heart power. Once a man has made this commitment, nothing will stop him short of success.”

    “Unless a man believes in himself and makes a total commitment to his career and puts everything he has into it-his mind, his body, his heart-what’s life worth to him?”

    Vincent T. Lombardi

    Comment by T.P. -

  81. Thanks for the post Mark.

    There are people who have the Edge and people who wouldn’t believe “an edge” existed if it bit them on the ass.

    How many times have you tried to get a friend on the right path, but when you point them in the right direction and give them all of the tools they need to become successful, they drop the ball?

    You can’t teach someone to have the Edge. You’re either born with it or not.

    Comment by KC -

  82. I think some people are taking this statement way out of content. Mark Cuban is not saying that success means that you have to sacrifice family time. I look at it, after accomplishing success you should have all the time in the world for your family.

    Business is a game its about winning and getting to the next level. You start this game from the day you are born. Your father and mother start hopping that you become better than them. Then in school they start teaching you to work hard and stay in school and go to college so you can be successful. So if you believe it or not your playing the game, your telling it to your kids, your thinking about it everyday success, success, success.

    Some people do work 7x24x365xforever. You have to work hard to get to the next level. There’s plenty of room at the final level you just got to want it bad enough. Some people need to sleep to get energy but I get energy from working on my business I can start to get sleepy after I come home from work (the one that pays the bills for now) but the minute I start to work on my business I get energy from it. I work and travel all over the country and I’m starting my own business. All I do is think about my business when I’m at work, eating, sleeping I think about it 24/7 but I work it hard because when I make it successful I will have accomplished something that I have dreamed for a along time. And its not just going to benefit me but my hole family.

    A smart man told me once that “Its better to have a bad business than a good job” I never thought it made much sense but I rather have a bad business than a good job because a good job will only be so good but a bad business will have the potential to be great and then you will have both.

    Comment by Tony -

  83. Most impressive. That blog actually gave me chills. What a freaking adrenaline rush! I may print that out and frame it. Definitely put that one in your book.

    Comment by Shoe -

  84. An insightful blog. I just hope in your spirit of competition you really DO put your family first. You can earn all the money in the world, you can make the greatest deal in the world, you can win the greatest game in the world, but in the end, all you really do have is your family.

    Comment by Theresa -

  85. I genuinely like Mark from what I’ve seen on TV and read (and who posting to this blog knows him any better than that?), but please notice the ones who are gushing on this post are all “graduating in 3 years”, and “in 20 years, when I make it”.
    Well, as one who has graduated and is about to eclipse the 20 year mark, I feel confident in saying that if Mark really is putting in 18x7x365, he may (definitely) have more money than I’ll ever see, but I am a richer person. I gave up a minor league baseball career, making enough money to set me up for life, because my family deserved to be number one. The time I am spending with them is far more valuable.
    Mark is a GREAT businessperson; there is no doubt about that. I truly understand the win at all costs attitude, and the drive and motivation it takes to get there. I do take issue with the idea of having to subvert the competition and constantly being paranoid about them doing the same to you. How about building your business into the best, instead of destroying another’s dream?
    And yes, he can buy his family almost anything they want without batting an eye, but it’s that business drive that is taking away from his family that which can never be bought or replaced. Time.
    What happens to you when it’s over? They put you in a box and you fade into memory, like everyone that came before you and everyone that will come after you. I know Mark loves his family, and I hope when he is gone that they have something to remember him by other than a fat bank account.

    (Before you flame me, please remember this comment is based only on what came directly out of Mark’s computer, and his post was taken at face value.)

    Comment by J -

  86. A-men to Cuban, da man with da plan.

    And to brother Ian,

    Money and connections are very helpful, but they ain’t the bottom line – not by a longshot. If they were, big businesses would never fall prey to smaller businesses, and start-ups with tons of VC-backing would never fail.

    At the risk of sounding like a total suck-up, I must say, without equivocation, that Mark Cuban is my favorite billionaire businessperson – by far. Mainly because he did – and continues to do – exactly what I want to do. He’s a new media mogul who views free markets and technological innovations as positive and useful. In other words, you will never see Cuban talking like the RIAA/MPAA. While he’s clearly all about business, he’s never about monopoly, and there is a difference.

    Monopolies are like governments; they never welcome competition.

    Now, the only thing he said in this blog that I find problematic is his view that business is essentially “various companies in a constant fight to take out each other” – so to speak. I’m not convinced that’s true in the larger scheme of things.

    Entrepreneurs start businesses because we sense poorly served markets, and we all think we possess the best solution. That is our PRIMARY motivation.

    Ergo, the free market, at its best, is more of a HEALTHY competition among various companies. Now, in that process, certainly, “weaker” companies are often destroyed, but that’s more a by-product of the process, not the central goal.

    And frankly, that’s the way it should be. If your business has become increasingly irrelevant, you shouldn’t be encouraged to continue until you become relevant again.

    That’s a little different from the notion that companies are solely or mainly concerned with destroying each other. Admittedly, my disagreement with Cuban may be technical at best, but I think it’s an important distinction.

    Comment by Charles -

  87. Mark –

    It’s funny you look at business as a sport, I see it so much more as an art. Every artist has to have the dedication to their work that you’ve outlined above. However, from my chair the time they’ve devoted to their trade, business in this case, isn’t because of a desire to win, but a desire to perform their art, business, to the highest of their ability.

    I think you have proven your merits in the art of business, but I dispute some of the comments you’ve said above. You talk about treating people the right way but on a previous entry you mentioned how you don’t pay mavs employees that high of a wage. You said if someone wants to complain about $$$ they can leave and you’ve got people lined up to fill their spot. I don’t think viewing people in that manner is treating them well, but I suppose until I have my own 1,000,000,000 (geez that’s a lot of zeros) I’ll have to yield to you.

    Hope you caught the Nuggets score tonight, just took down the Duncan-less Spurs, only the third home loss in San Antonio all year, oh and the Nugs 8th straigh! Playoffs here we come…

    Comment by Alex -

  88. “I’m not going to go to dinner with you just to chat. I’m not going to give you a call to see how you are.”

    Dude, come on. Listen to what you’re saying.

    The edge is . . . one-dimensional.

    The edge is . . . lonely.

    Comment by Ray Balestri -

  89. Nice Article, Donald.

    Comment by Tim -

  90. That was a great entry. I totally agree. I love basketball. Business is definitely a game or sport too. I really don’t like to read fiction books, but I love to read nonfiction books, articles, websites, or other things that could give advice and ideas. It’s also true to treat people with respect and kindness.

    Comment by Jeff -

  91. That was such an awesome entry. In finishing up college in 3 years and now cramming a 2 year masters into a year, I always found myself driven–but I’ve found that no man is an island. It needs to be refreshed; its like-minded friends around me that keep me going when i go through the ups-and-downs, and its thinking about inspiring examples that gives me new ideas and rejuvenates my spirit.

    I appreciate drive, and tenacity. Its moments like these–reading entries like these–that only serve to spur me on further. Rock on.

    Comment by Ryan Tan -

  92. Mark, great post but I would tend to disagree with one important point:

    “It’s not who you know. It’s not how much money you have.”

    Yes, it absolutely IS who you know and more importantly how much money you have. All the edge in the world wont help you without those, especially the money.

    You should not loose sight of that, you have to network and you have to get access to capital. These are what help you put your ideas and edge into action.

    Comment by Ian Wilson -

  93. That was such an awesome entry. In finishing up college in 3 years and now cramming a 2 year masters into a year, I always found myself driven–but I’ve found that no man is an island. It needs to be refreshed; its like-minded friends around me that keep me going when i go through the ups-and-downs, and its thinking about inspiring examples that gives me new ideas and rejuvenates my spirit.

    I appreciate drive, and tenacity. Its moments like these–reading entries like these–that only serve to spur me on further. Rock on.

    Comment by Ryan Tan -

  94. Mark, Here I am brainstorming for my Start up and I thought what does Mark have to say today?Man you are a true motivator.
    Like the gentleman in Europe these are definitely my fav. Blog entries..

    Comment by Sean J Meehan -

  95. you call working 18X7X365 family first? I feel sorry for your family.

    Comment by Becky -

  96. mc, you write, “The edge is knowing that people think you’re crazy, and they are right, but you dont care what they think.”

    my question – why would they be right to think that??

    i’m thinking ‘they’ have chosen a philosophy to live their life, as you have chosen yours, and the freedom to choose is great so man can live, explore, choose, think and know why he chose a particular philosohy to live by….

    and to not care about what others think, because you have already done your own thinking on the subject and are confident in your actions.

    i love your comments this week in the Dallas Morning News related to the Jim Gray incident – ” That’s just not the way to do business” as a response to those who said to you that we should just expect misrepresentations from reporters on live television.

    and i don’t know about everybody else, but i’m not 24X7 because i’m no good without my sleep, and yea, maybe i dream about a good idea for work, and sometimes i get my best ideas in a hot shower, or on a plane ride home from a sales trip, the key i think , and what you wrote about, is the focus, the ability to think rationally and reasonably through all sides of a business issue and take action that builds a business…and that’s when i get the satisfaction, or the high, in the sport of business..

    Comment by karl meisenbach -

  97. How Cool is that.

    Comment by Dirty Muffin -

  98. another classic Mark Cuban post.

    Comment by b -

  99. Silly observation really but, when you say 24x7x365 don’t you mean 24 (hours) x365 (days) and not 24 (hours) x 7 (days) x 365 (days)? But I tend to take a literal view.

    Comment by Michael Slade -

  100. Why I like your blog? Because of entries like this. I needed motivation, and now I have it again. Thank you.
    (20 years from now when I write what motivated me when I was just starting with my business, I will write :Mark Cubans weblog)

    Comment by 21 year old start-uper from europe -

  101. Mark you just described exactly the path to success in academia and science.

    You work 24/7 and push forward one idea after another.

    You try to find smart people to work with.

    And you never stop: if you stop, somebody else will get ahead.

    The prizes are different: no big financial rewards for academics, but the game and its strategy are virtually unchanged otherwise.

    Comment by Itatsumaki -

  102. Sounds like you have to relax a little bit. For example go read a book by Wiliam Gibson or Philip K. Dick. Maybe you’ll enjoy it, and maybe you’ll learn how reality and imagination are always overlapping and driving innovation, especially in technology.

    Comment by Stephen Castellano -

  103. Mark,

    What about winning by co-opting – that is, rather than either/or you/them winning by bringing others into the fold with you to share in a joint vision of the future and how to get there.

    i.e. one common exit strategy, which you used very successfully in the past, merger with another firm ( with Yahoo!)

    And on a related point – “its not who you know” – perhaps, but more than “who” you know might be said to be who you can bring in, work with, share with – i.e. the difference between a deeply connected person and one who is not, is if given the same great business idea, the deeply connected person often can make a few phone calls/send a few emails/write a blog post and in a short while start implementing the idea and spreading it.

    The person without connections has to form each link needed – resources, publicity, people, clients, partners etc.

    Both routes are viable, and indeed the lessons learned on the way may often mean the later grows the longer lasting and more successful business – but very often the former (the connected person) has a significent and very real resources and time advantage.

    I would ask you to consider – what do you do today when you encounter a great business idea? Is it different than what you did 20+ years ago when you were first starting out? I would guess that it is.

    – you likely today can give a new business idea great financial resources than previously

    – almost certainly you now know people (or people who know people) in whom you can entrust a new idea if it is not one you plan on personally running on a day to day basis

    – very likely you know people who can be initial customers of the business idea, people who will very importantly also give you honest feedback/criticism of the business and make it better

    And when the business idea needs something – office space, legal advice, financial advice, marketing, technical work etc – you probably have a roster of people and firms you turn to on a regular basis for those services – and to whom you turn to for your new businesses.

    We’ll be exploring issues of social networks as part of MeshForum, the conference on networks I’m organizing in Chicago May 1-4th, feel free to email me if you (or your readers) would be interested in attending.


    Comment by Shannon Clark -

  104. Not to be critical, just helpful:
    >I used to have a spin move that would work for me know matter who I was playing against

    Maybe you mean “no matter”?

    Comment by Scott Plumlee -

  105. If I can’t compete, I move on. I do things because I enjoy them, and if I can’t get better on my way to being the best, I find better things to do. I’ve been picked last, and hit the game winner. I have walked into a room incognito, and left the king. Having all the cards and showing your hand only when necessary, there’s no feel like it. They know you are the best and there is nothing they can do about it.

    Good points.

    Comment by Troy Overton -

  106. Nice point of view. I always believed that I was competing with you even know I know very little about you. Now I understand it better. Your drive to do EVERYTHING better seems to be the baseline of this competition. And yes, my girlfriends are sick to death about me talking business.

    Comment by Mike O'Krongli -

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