How Being A ‘Lousy Employee’ Fueled Mark Cuban’s Success: “I Was A Know-It-All”


The entrepreneurial journey of Mark Cuban, the celebrated billionaire investor who is set to sell a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks, is a tale of resilience and self-discovery.

In a candid interview with Wired last month, Cuban shared insights into his early realization that traditional employment was not his calling, stating, “I was never going to be good at working for someone else.”

From a young age, Cuban was engaged in various entrepreneurial activities, starting at 12 years old. His ventures ranged from door-to-door sales of garbage bags to offering dance lessons.

The turning point came in his mid-20s when Cuban established his first significant business, MicroSolutions. Despite facing daunting challenges and experiencing intense fear due to initial failures, Cuban remained steadfast, driven by his self-awareness of being a poor fit for conventional employment.

He reflected on this period, saying the business initially had “no sales” and that his anxiety was “through the roof.”

Cuban’s journey was also marked by several instances where his drive and initiative were misconstrued as insubordination, leading to his dismissal from positions, including one at a software store in Dallas and another at Mellon Bank.

The billionaire said he had faced job terminations on several occasions by that point, with his most recent dismissal taking place at the Dallas store. In a 2017 podcast interview, he recounted a moment of initiative when, without informing his boss, he successfully closed a significant sale, securing a $10,000 check for the store.

Recalling one such incident, Cuban said to CNBC in 2017, “I figured when I came back he’d be thrilled to death, right? Fired me on the spot.”

“I was a lousy employee because I was a know-it-all,” he told Wired. “I was an entrepreneur at heart, and I always thought I had a better idea for how to do things.”

These experiences solidified his belief in his entrepreneurial spirit and led him to persevere with MicroSolutions, which he sold for $6 million in 1990.

This success was a precursor to Cuban’s next venture, the audio streaming company, which was acquired by Yahoo Inc. in 1999 for an impressive $5.7 billion.

Cuban credited his sales acumen as the cornerstone of his success, a skill he believes is essential in any field.

He emphasized the importance of understanding and meeting people’s needs, a philosophy he shared in a TikTok interview last year.

Mark Cuban’s entrepreneurial journey is a testament to the power of self-awareness and persistence. Despite facing setbacks and rejections, he stayed true to his entrepreneurial spirit and ultimately achieved remarkable success. His story serves as an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs and highlights the importance of following one’s passion and taking calculated risks.

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