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The following is a conversation with Mark Cuban, a multi billionaire businessman, investor and star of the series Shark Tank, longtime principal owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and is someone who is unafraid to get into frequent battles on x, most recently over topics of DEI, wokeism, gender and identity politics with the likes of Elon Musk and Jordan Peterson. And now a quick few second mention of each sponsor. Check them out in the description. It is in fact the best way to support this podcast. We got listening for, well, listening to things like research papers cloaked for protecting your personal information notion, for taking notes and collaborating on those notes with your team, asleep for naps and shopify for shopping or creating shops on the Internets. Choose wisely, my friends. Also, if you want to work with our amazing team where I was hiring, or if you just want to get in touch with me, go to contact and now onto the full ad reads. Never any ads in the middle. I try to make these interesting, but if you must skip them, please do check out our sponsors. I enjoy their stuff. Maybe you will too.


This episode is brought to you by listening an app, a website that allows you to listen to academic papers, listen to a bunch of stuff. I think you can listen to emails, to websites, all of that, that aspect of it. I should probably to listen to emails. I wonder how that would work. They have a chrome extension, but I don't think it's through the chrome extension. Anyway, the way I use it. And I think the original use case, which I think is awesome, is listening to research papers. And this includes super super technical papers or more narrative driven philosophical papers. Like for example, you can take the Turing paper on the Turing test. Obviously the paper title is not the Turing test. I think it's called computing machinery and intelligence. And of course you can go to super technical papers and I use it for that as well. I often do the following I'll print out the paper because the haptic feedback of a sheet of paper is really powerful for me. So I'll take notes on that with a highlighter, with a pen. I will also take notes on a PDF, and I will also listen to it over and over and over.


So for me, the process of reading an academic paper is one that requires returning to it over and over and over again unless I'm doing a quick skim. So for skimming I can look at the PDF and quickly skim and then listen to certain parts that I find useful. So sometimes related work is really powerful because it summarizes in a nice way where the field stands. I'll listen to that. Sometimes the abstract is going to to listen to, sometimes the abstract introduction related work, jumping to the conclusion. If there's a method in the paper, you listen to that. Anyway, I will basically use the listening function while I'm walking over to get some coffee or I'm going to run and I'll listen to different parts of a paper to get a sense of what that paper contains and the main idea and so on that can build on or as I said, to review a thing I've already returned to many, many, many times, and I have a large number of favorite papers that I've returned to many times. It's super easy to upload a paper. They have really nice AI voices that pronounce stuff well, and also just the at the sentence paragraph level.


The kind of narration style they have is really, really nice. And obviously Sai improves. They will keep improving. So jump on board now and enjoy this whole process. I highly recommend it. Normally you would get a two week free trial, but listeners of this very podcast get one month free. So go to lex. That's lex. This episode is also brought to you by cloaked. As I mentioned last time, it's a thing that I always thought and hoped would exist, and now I know it exists and it is awesome. It's a platform that lets you generate a new email and a new phone number every time you sign up for a website so you can hide your actual email and your actual phone number from the world. I think of it as a kind of privacy layer that protects you from the wild, wild west of the Internet, where many, many services and companies desperately want your data. And the in the contact, the way to contact you so cloaked allows you to take the power back to give you some control of this relationship to where your email remains a private email address.


But this aspect of it is just a kind of super awesome feature. It's also a password manager, and I highly recommend you use a password manager. So this is combined password manager and the ability to generate as part of the, you know, the usual generation of a new password when you set up to a thing. It also generates emails and phone numbers, and soon I read, which is interesting, they can generate credit cards. Sometimes places require credit cards for a sort of quote unquote free trial. So if they can actually pull that off, which I don't know how they're going to do, it's pretty awesome. And in general, I'm just a big supporter of companies innovating how to maintain people's privacy in this Internet age where there's so much money to be made from people's data. So it's an interesting sort of technological and business challenge of how to protect the data. Hats off to cloaked for doing a great job. Plus, the interface I should mention is super nice, which is really important because the kind of signup process to a new website should be effortless, and cloaked doesn't get in the way. Go to Lex to get 14 days free or for a limited time, use code Lexpod when you sign up to get 25% off an annual cloak plan.


This episode is also brought to you by notion, a note taking app that I've been using forever, but they have awesome team collaboration tools. Man, it must be forever ago that I first saw notion recommended to me, but it was always the cool kids that were using notion. And when I started using notion is the first time I really sort of deliberately updated my note taking process to be more 21st century like, sort of use technology for the first time. So I'm really happy I did that. Obviously now with the new wave of large language models, notion is probably the best integration of large language models into the note taking process that I've seen. It can do all kinds of stuff, like summarize text, it can generate the first draft of text, it can do bullet points, all that kind of stuff. Now, for the team collaboration part, you can ask it questions about the stuff it knows, and it can look across all the documents, the notes, the wikis, the projects, and it can answer questions based on everything it knows across those documents, and it can generate sort of summaries and reports about those documents.


So I think it's an incredible team collaboration tool in that regard. You can try notion AI for free when you go to lex. That's all lowercase lex to try the power of notion AI today. This episode is also brought to you by eight sleep and the beautiful, wonderful power of naps. I'm now back in Austin. I was traveling a bit, and it's one of the things I really look forward to when I come back home. It's a cold bed surface with a warm blanket. You can control the temperature of the bed on each side separately. A nice nap is truly heaven. I could be in the worst mood, and a nap just kind of helps that mood, whatever that is, to dissipate, to just disappear into the ether. Wherever my mind goes, it returns quickly, refreshed, renewed, and ready to take on the day. Once again, I'm a huge supporter of nap. I don't care. I don't care what anybody says. Naps are huge. Actually, it's funny to mention that when I was at Google, they have these nap pods. I'm sure a lot of tech companies have nap pods. I feel like Google invented the nap pod, but I think a lot of people weren't sort of confident enough or were a little bit embarrassed to use the Napod.


I did, too. It felt kind of weird. So I would just like put my head down on the desk and sleep right at the desk. I really didn't care. But when I did use the navPods, they were pretty epic because it kind of keeps out the rest of the world. So there's a sense of privacy in it. It's pretty cool, but nothing compared to eight sleep. You can check it out yourself and get special savings when you go to lex. This episode is also brought to you by Shopify, a platform designed by anyone to sell anywhere, anything with a great looking online store. Even I, friends can figure out how to do it in a few minutes. I create a store like store I think it is, where there's a bunch of shirts. Now, that store is super minimalist, and I'm a big fan of minimalism, but you can get super fancy, and it integrates with a lot of third party apps. I use it for on demand printing of the shirts. So it's a, it's another service that does the printing and the shipping of the shirts so you don't have to think about anything.


It could sort of outsource all of it. But, you know, you can use Shopify to basically sell anything. And it's cool to have this thing that enables the efficient, accessible way of creating a node in the capitalist machine, in the capitalist network, the living, breathing network of capitalism, where the invisible hand of the market does its work. Yes, there are downsides to capitalism, but there's a lot of upsides, given the power to the individual creators and the makers, the builders, to build and sell their stuff. I love it. One of the most beautiful things that humans can do is to create, and I will continue to celebrate their ability to create. And I'm glad Shopify is making it easier for them to make money off of their creations. Sign up for a $1 per month trial Lex. That's all lowercase. Go to Lex to take your business to the next level today. This is the Lex Friedman podcast to support it. Please check out our sponsors in the description. And now dear friends, here's Mark Cuban. You've started many businesses, invested in many businesses, heard a lot of pitches privately and on Shark Tank.


So you're the perfect person to ask what makes a great entrepreneur?


Somebody who's curious, they want to keep on learning because business is ever changing. It's never static. Somebody who's agile because as you learn new things and the environment around you changes, you have to be able to adapt and make the changes. And somebody who can sell because no business has ever survived without sales. And as an entrepreneur who's creating a company, whatever your product or service is, if that's not the most important thing and you're just dying and excited to tell people about it, then you're not going to succeed.


But it's also a skill thing. How do you sell? What do you mean by selling?


Selling is just helping. I've always looked at it about putting myself in the shoes of another person and asking a simple question, can I help this person? Can my product help them? From the time I was twelve years old, selling garbage bags door to door and just asking a simple question. Do you use garbage bags? Do you need garbage bags? Well, let me save you some time. I'll bring them to your house and drop them off to, you know, streaming. Why do we need streaming when we have tv and radio? Well, you can't get access to your tv and radio everywhere you go. So we kind of break down geographic and physical barriers and, you know, cost plus drugs, you know, what's the product that we actually sell? We sell trust. In a simplistic approach, we buy drugs and sell drugs but we add transparency to it. And bringing transparency to an industry is, is a differentiation and it helps people.


Trust in an industry that's highly lacking in trust.




Okay, so what's, what's the trick to selling garbage bags? Let's go back there. Twelve years old. What I mean, is it just your natural charisma? I guess a good question to ask. Are you born with it or can you develop it?


Oh, you can definitely develop it. Yeah. I mean, because selling garbage bags door to door was easy, right? It was like twelve year old Mark going, hi, my name is Mark. Do you use garbage bags? You know what the answer is going to be, right? Can I just drop them off for you once a week? Whenever you need them, you just call and I'll bring them down. Sure. So that was easy.


But I'm sure you've been rejected.


Oh yeah, of course not. Everybody says yes.


What was your percentage?


I don't remember, but it's pretty close to 100%.


So that's why you don't remember.


Yeah, right. Because who's going to say no to a twelve year old kid who's going to save time and money? But you know, typically my career where I've started companies, it's to do something that other people aren't doing, whether it was connecting PCs and to local area networks and at micro solutions. And, you know, the salesmanship was walking into a company and just saying, look, talk to me and I can help you improve your productivity and your profitability. Is that important to you? And the answer is obviously always yes. And then the question is, can I do the job and can I do it cost effectively? And so you didn't have to be a born salesperson to be able to ask those questions, but you have to be able to be willing to put in the time to learn that business. And that's the hardest part.


I'm sure there's a skill thing to it too. And like how you solve the puzzle of communicating with a person and convincing.


Them, yeah, I mean there's skill from the perspective that I read like a maniac. Then, like now, you can give me an example of any type of business and it'll take me 2 seconds to figure out how they make money and how I can make them more productive. And I think that's probably my biggest skill, being able to just drill down to what the actual need is, if any, and then from there being able to say, well, if this is what this company does and this is what their goal is, how can I introduce something new that they haven't seen before? And is that a business that I can create and make money from?


So figure out how this kind of business makes money in the present and then figure out, is there a way to make more money in the future by introducing a totally new kind of thing.




And you can just do that with anything?


Pretty much, yeah.


And you think you're born with that?


No, I worked at it because, you know, going back to what I said earlier about curiosity, you have to be insanely curious because the world is always changing. My dad used to say, we don't live in the world we were born into, you know, which is absolutely true. If you're not a voracious consumer of information, then you're not going to be able to keep up. And no matter what your sales skills or ability are, they're going to be useless.


What'd you learn about life from your dad. You mentioned your dad.


My dad did upholstery on cars. You know, got up, went to work every morning at 07:00 came back five or 607:00 exhausted. And I learned to be nice. I learned to be caring. I learned to be accepting, just, you know, qualities that I think he really tried to pass on to myself and my two younger brothers were just be a good human, you know, and I think, you know, he didn't have business experience. So as I got into business, he would just, you know, say, sorry, mark, I can't help you. You know, I don't understand what you're doing. You never went. Neither one of my parents had gone to college. You've got to figure it out for yourself. But he was also very insistent that, you know, he worked at a company called Regency Products where they did upholstery on cars, and he would bring me there to sweep the floors. Not because he wanted me to learn that business, because he wanted me to learn how back breaking that work was. I mean, he lost an eye in an accident at work. A staple broke, and he. The only thing he wanted for my brothers and I was for us to never have to work like that, to go to college, to figure it out.


You said to be nice. That said, you also said that you, when you were first starting a business, you were a bit more of an asshole than you wish you would have been.


Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. Because I was more of a yeller. I was, you know, I didn't know.




Yeah. What you see on the sidelines, you know, with me at a Mavs game, maybe a little bit. But I also didn't have any patience for somebody I thought wasn't using my kind of common sense. Right. Because I was always on the go, go, go, particularly when I was younger, just trying to be successful, trying to get to the point where I had independence. And I would tell this to people, you know, either you're speeding up and getting on the train, or, you know, we'll stop and drop you off at the next station, but let's go where you go.


Did you have trouble with the hire fast, fire fast part of running a business?


Yeah, always. Because I hated firing people, because it meant, one, it was an admission of mistake in the hiring, and two, the salesperson to me always wanted to come out ahead, and I was always horrible at firing, but I always partnered with people who had no problem with it. So I always delegated that.


Well, that's the tricky thing when you're working with somebody and they're not quite there. And you have to decide, are they going to step up and grow into the person that's the right or they're not. And in that gray area is probably where you have to fire.


Was hard. Yeah, for sure. Because it's obviously a failure somewhere in the process. What did we do wrong? And when I would interview people for jobs, I think 99% of the people I've ever interviewed I've wanted to hire because in my mind it was like, okay, I can figure out how to make this person work. And then they wouldn't. And people at the company be like, mark, you suck at this. And so I always delegated to hiring.


Yeah, I mean, I'm the same. I see the potential in people. I see the beauty in people and which is, which is a great way to live life. But when you're running a company is a different thing.


It's different. And you got to know what you're good at, what you're bad at. Right? I was good at, I was a ready fire aim guy. And I always partnered with people who are very anal and perfectionist because where I could just go, go, go. They would keep me inside the baselines.


They would do the due diligence or.


Just, yeah, the detail work, the dot, the I's and across the t's.


What does it take to take that first leap into starting a business?


That's the hardest part. It really depends on your personal circumstances. Like, I got fired. I mean, I was sleeping on the floor, six guys in a three bedroom apartment. So I couldn't go any lower. So there was, yeah, there was no downside for me starting a business. And it was just like, you know, I was 25 when we started micro solutions and, you know, I just gotten fired. And it was like, look, I'm a lousy employee. I'm going to just start going to some of my prospects that I had at my job and asked them to front the money that I needed to install some software and found this company, architectural lighting, who put up dollar 500 for me. That allowed me to buy software and have 50% margins. And that's how I started my company.


But, like, by way of advice, would you say? I mean, it's a terrifying thing.


Yeah. I mean, you've got to be in a position where you're confident. I get emails and approached by people all the time. What kind of business should I start? That tells me you're not ready to start a business either. You're prepared and you know what? You don't in the United States with the american dream, everybody kind of always looks at themselves and say, okay, I have this idea. And then you go through this process of saying, okay, you talk to your friends or family, what do you think? And then almost always, oh, it's a great idea, right? Then you go on Google and you say, oh, my God, no one else is doing it without thinking. Ten companies had gone out of business trying the same thing. But, okay, it's on Google. And then people stop, right? Because that next step means, okay, I have to change what I'm doing in my life. And that's not easy for 99% of the people. Some people look at that as an opportunity and get excited about it. Some people get terrified because it's, okay, maybe I'm comfortable, maybe I have responsibilities. And so whatever your circumstances are, if you want to take that next step, you have to be able to deal with the consequences of changing your circumstances.


Circumstances. And that's the first thing, you know, do you save money? You know, so you have, you know, if you have a job, do you have a mortgage, do you have a family? You've got to save money. You can't just walk, you know, I mean, they've got to eat and they've got to have shelter. But on the other side of the coin, if you've got nothing, it's the perfect time to start a business. Yeah.


Desperation is a good catalyst for starting a business. But in many cases, the decision, as you're talking about you're going to have to make is to leave a job that's providing some degree of comfort already. So I suppose when you're sleeping on the floor and there's six guys, it's a little bit easier.


It's really easy, right? When you get fired and you don't have a job, you know, and you're looking at bartending at night to try to pay the bills. And so it wasn't hard for me. But to your point, it really comes down to preparation. You know, if it's important enough to you, you'll save the money, you'll give up, you know, whatever it is you need to give up to put the money aside. If you have obligations, you'll put in the work to learn as much as you can about that industry so that when you start your business, you're prepared and you can always, you know, at night, on weekends, whenever you find time, lunch, start making the calls to find out if people will write you a check, you know, or transfer you money to buy whatever it is you're selling. And by doing those things, you can put yourself in a position to succeed. It's where people just think, okay, you know, Geronimo, I'm leaving off the edge of a cliff, and I'm starting a business.


That's tough, but sometimes that's like, the way you do it, though.


There's always examples of any situation or scenario. Right, right.


But, I mean, anecdotal evidence for everything.


Yeah, but if you're. If you're going into a new business, you're gonna have competition, unless you're really, really, really, really lucky, and that competition is not gonna just say, okay, let Lex or Mark just kick her ass. And so you've got to be prepared how you're gonna deal with that competition.


What do you think that is about America that has so many people who have that dream and act on that dream of starting a business?


You know, I think we've just got a culture of consumption and more. You know, and to get more, you've got to. Creating a business gives you the greatest potential upside and the greatest leverage on your time, but it also creates the most risk.


So that capitalist machine, there's a lot of elements, by contrast, the respect for the law. Like, an entrepreneur can trust it. If they pull it off, the law will protect them. There won't be a government.


Hopefully, that's still the case.


Yeah, yeah.


There's always other countries. Right, right. So us versus other countries. Like Joe Biden, of all people, said to me, it was at an entrepreneurship conference that when he was vice president, he had put together, and we had gone up there from a bunch of us, from shark tank, to talk to young entrepreneurs from around the world. And he said to me, mark, the one thing that separates. I've been to every country around the world, and the one thing that separates us is entrepreneurship. We're the most entrepreneurial country in the world, and there's no one else who's even close. And when you look at the origin of our biggest, you know, the biggest companies in the world, for the most part, there's an american origin story somewhere behind there. And I think, you know, that just gets perpetuated on itself. We see those Horatio Alger stories. We see examples of the Jeff Bezos of the world, the Steve Jobs of the world, and those are the types of people we want to copy.


Yeah, we want to be really careful and try to really figure out what that is, because we don't want to lose that, for sure. We want to protect that, whatever. And that's a lot of the discussions about what's the right way to do government, big government, small government, what's the right policies, but also culture, like who we celebrate. One of the things that troubles me is that we don't enough celebrate the entrepreneurs that take risks and the entrepreneurs that succeed. It seems like success, especially when it comes to wealth, is immediately matched with distrust and criticism and all that kind of stuff.


Yeah, it's changing for sure, because you can go back just twelve years, right? Traditional media dominated, let's just say through 2012. That was the peak of linear television. You know, newspapers weren't as strong, but they still had some breadth and depth to them. And then social media comes along and everybody gets to play in their own sandbox and share opinions with people who think just like them and that, and it also gives them the opportunity to amplify those feelings. And I think that's where celebrating entrepreneurs really started to subside some. There were always people who were progressive that were like, billionaires are bad or millionaires are bad, depending on the time period. But you didn't really see it on an ongoing basis, right? It wasn't going to be on the evening news. It wasn't going to be in the front page of the newspaper. It was going to be if you read a book and someone talked about it, or you read a magazine and there was an article talking about this progressive movement, or that progressive movement, whatever it may be, or political parties. But now all of that is front and center on social media and we're.


Trying to figure it out, how we deal with the mobs of people and the virality of it all. I think we'll find our footing and start celebrating greatness again.


Well, I mean, that's the whole reason I do shark tank.


That's true. That show celebrates the entrepreneur.


It's the only place where every single minute of every single episode, we celebrate the american dream. And the reason I do it is we tell the entire country and it's shown around the world even. We're amazing advertising for the american dream. I don't even know how many countries, but every time somebody walks onto that carpet from Dubuque, Iowa, or ketchum, Idaho, you know, that sends a message to every kid who's watching seven, 8910, twelve year old kid, that if they can do it from Ketchum, Idaho, you can do it. If they can have this idea and get a deal or even present to the sharks and have all of America see it, you can do it. And that, I mean, I'm proud of that. The 15 years of that is just, it's just been insane, you know, now kids walk up to me and go, yeah, I started watching you when I was five or ten and I started a business. Cause I learned about it from shark Tank. And so, you know, I think, you know, we're being, it celebrates it and we convey it and I don't think it's going away, but there are different battles we have to fight to support it.


Yeah, I love, even when the business idea is obviously horrible, just the guts to step up, to be there, to believe in yourself, to really reach. I mean, that's what matters. I mean, because like some of the best business ideas are probably, maybe even you and Shark Tank will laugh at.


Oh, for sure. Yeah. Without question, the good ones. We're not going to recognize every good one. And then sometimes we'll just motivate people to work even harder to get it done because of what we say to them. And that's fine, too. You know, there's been great success stories that we said no to.


What stands out as like a memorable business on, you've been pitched on shark Tank. What's the best one that stands out in memorable.


There's no best one. Right. They're all different. They're all best in their own way, I guess, the stupid ones. And, you know, we haven't had any, you know, world or world changing earth shattering ones. Right. Because those aren't going to apply to shark tank. They don't need us. Right. You know, so we typically get businesses that need some help at some level or another. But there's ones I've passed that I wish, like spike ball. Do you know what Spike, so it's this rebounding net that you can put on the beach and you have these yellow balls and you play a game of, you know, it's just a competitive game, but they're killing it. So if you go to beaches in New York or LA, you'll see kids playing it all the time. And it was a fun game that I wish I had done a deal with. There's, and there's been others.


And you passed.


And I passed. They were getting some traction and they wanted to create leagues, spikeball leagues. And they wanted me to be the commissioner, and I don't want to be a commissioner of a new spike ball league.


So you have to kind of have this gut feeling of, will this scale, will this click with. Course.


Yeah. Can it be protected? Is it differentiated? Is it something that makes me think, you know, why didn't I think of that? Or is it just a good, solid business that's going to pay a return to the founder and may not be enough of a business to return to an investor.


Yeah. And I guess the question you're trying to see, will this scale, there's promise. Will the promise materialize into a big thing?


Well, see, I don't even care if it's going to be a big thing. Right. Because it's all relative to the entrepreneur. We had a 19 year old from Pittsburgh, Laney, who came on with this simple sugar scrub, and there was nothing outrageously special about it. I didn't see it becoming a hundred million dollar business. I thought it could become a two, three, $5 million business that paid the bills for her and that that was good enough. And, you know, six months after the show aired, she called me up. She goes, Mark, I've got a million dollars in the bank. What am I going to do? I'm like, enjoy it. Put aside money for your taxes and go back to work. You know? And so it doesn't have to be a huge business. It's just got to be one that makes the entrepreneur happy.


But then there's the valuation piece. I mean.




Do. Do a lot of the entrepreneurs over value? Of course.


Yeah. I mean, that's. That's the nature of it. Right. I mean, and that. That's really where the biggest conflicts in shark tank happen. That's an evaluation. They, you know, they. They think this is the best business ever. You know, there we had one lady couple that came on, and they had this scraper for cats tongues. Right.




Bizarre. Most. One of the most bizarre pitch ever. I love it. You know, and they had this insane valuation, and it was on because it was corny and fun tv, not because it was. It was a good business.


Oh, really? Okay. You didn't see the potential?


None. Yeah, none.


There's a lot of cats in the world market.


Yes, there are. They'll go do very well without me.


So how do you determine the value of a business, whether it's on shark tank or just in general?


It's actually really easy. Right. So if you take, just to use an example, a business that's valued at $1 million, and I want to buy 10% of that company for $100,000, then in order for me to get my money back, they've got to be able to generate $100,000 in after tax cash flow that they're able to distribute. Can they do it or can they not? And if it's $2 million value, whatever the valuation is, that's how much cash after tax cash they have to generate to return that money to investors. Or the other option is, do I see this as business potentially having an exit? Do they have some unique technology, or do they have something specific about them that some other company would want to acquire? Then the cash flow isn't, as, I don't want to say important, but isn't going to guide the valuation.


And how do you know if a company is going to be acquired? So it's a technology like the patents, but also the team.


Yeah, it could be any of the above. Right. It could be a super products company that, um, I think is going to take off.


And how do you know if they can generate the money? What's that?


Well, that.


You made it sound easy, you know?


Yeah. I mean, is, can the person sell? You know, and if not them, can I do it, or someone on my team do it for them?


So you're looking at the person.


Yeah, for sure, yeah. That's where Barbara Corcoran's the best. She can look at a person and hear them talk for 20 minutes and know, can that person do the job and do the work?


Can you tell if they're full of shit or not? So, one of the things with entrepreneurs, they're kind of, like we said, over valuing. So they're maybe overselling themselves, but also they might be full of shit in terms of their understanding of the market or also like. Or exaggerating what they're thinking. Do all that kind of stuff. Can you see through that?


Yeah, for sure. Just by asking questions, you know, so if they are delusional at some level or misleading at another level, I'm gonna. I'm gonna call them on it, you know, so you get people trying to sell supplements that come on there, and it's a cure for cancer or whatever it may be, or there's this latest fad that, you know, increases your core strength without doing any exercises, you know, shit like that. I'm just gonna bounce. I'm gonna pound on them. Right.


See, I still love that. I still love the trying to.


No, you know, give them credit. Right. Because they know all of America is going to see it, and they deluded themselves to believe this story so strongly.


I mean, there's a delusional aspect to entrepreneurship. Right. Like, you just.


Honestly, that's a great question. Do you have to be ambitious and, you know, set aside reality at some level to think that you can create a company that could be worth ten, 100, a billion dollars? Right. Yeah. At some level, because you don't know. It's all uncertainty. But I think if you're delusional, that works against you because everything's grounded in reality. You've got to execute, you've got to produce. You know, you can have a vision. Right. And you can say, this is where I want to get to, and that's my mission, or this is my driving principle, but you still got to execute on the business plan, and that's where most people fail.


Yeah. You have to be kind of two brained, I guess. You have to be able to dip into reality when you're thinking about, like, the specifics of the product, how to design things, how to, like the, you know, the first principles, the basics of how to build the thing, how much it's going to cost, all that.


Yeah, I mean, because if you can't do the basics, you're not going to be able to do the bigger things. And at the same time, you've got to be. One of the things that entrepreneurs do that I always try to remind any that I work with on is we all tend to lie to ourselves. Our product is bigger, faster, cheaper, this or that, as if that is a finite situation that's never going to change. Right. And there's always somebody, I call them leapfrog businesses. There's whoever's competing against you. If you do a, B or c, they're going to try to do c, D and E. Right. And you better be prepared for that to come because otherwise they're out of business, too. So you're never in a vacuum. You're always competing against sometimes an unlimited number of entrepreneurs that you don't even know exist who are trying to kick your ass.


And the tricky part of all this, too, is you might need to frequently pivot, especially in the beginning.


Hopefully not.


So you think, like, in the beginning, the product you have should be the thing that carries you a long time.


Yeah, because, I mean, that's your riskiest point in time. Right. And so if you've done your homework, which includes going out there and testing product market fit, you should have confidence that you're going to be able to sell it. Now, if you didn't do your homework and you go out there and you sell whatever it is, then, and you've raised money or whatever just to pivot, you've already shown that you haven't been able to read the market. And so it's not that pivots can't work and always don't work. They can, but more often than not, they don't you pivot for a reason? That's because you made a huge mistake.


Well, I also mean like the micro pivots, which is like iterative development of a thing.


Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. That's not. Yeah, just iterations. Yeah. You know, entrepreneurship being having any business is just continuous integration. Continuous. Your product, your sales pitch, your advertising, you know, introducing new technology. How do you use AI or not use AI? Where do you use it? What person's the right person? There's, there's just a million touch points, you know, that you're always reevaluating in real time, that you have to be agile and adapt and change.


But especially in software, it feels like business model can evolve really quickly, too. How are you going to make money on this?


Yes, software for sure, because, you know, anything digital, because it can change in a millisecond.


Speaking of which, how did you make your first billion?


So my partner, Todd Wagner and I would get together for lunches, and we were at California Pizza kitchen in Preston Hollow in Dallas, and he was talking about how we could use this new thing called the Internet. This is late 94, early 95, to be able to listen to Indiana university basketball games, because that's where we went to school. He was like, look, when we would listen to games, we would have somebody in Bloomington, Indiana, have a speakerphone next to a radio, and then we would have a speakerphone in Dallas and six pack or twelve pack of beer. And we sit around listening to the game because there was no other way to listen to it. So I was like, okay, my first company, Microsolutions, I'd written software, done network integration, and so I was comfortable digging into it. And so I was like, okay, let's give it a try. So we started this company called Audionetta and effectively became the first streaming content company on the Internet. And we're like, okay, we're not sure how we're going to make this work, but we were able to make it work. We started going to radio stations and tv stations and music labels and everything, and evolved, which was only audio at the beginning, to in 1998, which was audio and video, and became the largest multimedia site on the Internet, took it public in July of 1998.


It had the largest first day jump in the history of the stock market at the time. And then a year later, we sold it to Yahoo. For $5.7 billion in Yahoo stock. And I owned right around 30% of the company, give or take. And so after taxes, that's what got me there.


Well, there's a lot of questions there. So the technical challenge of that, you're making it sound easy, but you wrote code. But still, in the early days of the Internet, how do you figure out how to create this kind of product of just audio at first and then.


Video at first, a lot of iterations. Right, like you talked about. We started in the second bedroom of my house, set up a server. I got an ISDN line, which was 128k line, and set up, downloaded Netscape server, and then started using different file formats that were progressive loading and allowing people to connect to the server and do a progressive download so that the audio, you can listen to the audio while it was downloaded onto your pc.


Yeah. Was it super choppy? So you were trying to figure out.


Oh, yeah, for sure. For sure. It would buffer. It was, yeah, it wasn't good, but it was a start.


But it was good enough. Cause it's the first kind.


Yeah, because there was no other competition, right. There was nobody else doing it. And so it was like, okay, I can get access to this, this or this. And then there were some third party software companies, zing and progressive networks and others that took it a little bit further. So we partnered with them, and I started going to local radio stations where literally we would set up a server right next to it. I had a dollar 49 radio, the highest fm radio that I could find. And we take the output of the audio signal from the radio with these two analog cables, plug it into the server, encode it, and make it available from dot. Then I would go on Unet bulletin boards. I would go on Compuserve, I would go on prodigy. I would go on AOL. I'd go wherever I could find bodies. And I'd say, okay, we've got this radio station, KLIF, in Dallas. It's got Dallas sports and Dallas news and politics. And if you're in an office or you're outside of Dallas, connect to And now you can listen to these things on demand. And that's how we started.


And it started with one radio station, and then it was five, then it was ten, then it was video content, then the laws were different then. So we could literally go out and buy CDs and host them and just let people listen to whatever music. And we went from, you know, ten users a day to 100 to a thousand to hundreds of thousands to a million over those next four years.


How did you find the users? Is it word of mouth?


Word of mouth?


Just word of mouth?


Didn't spend a penny on advertisement.


So the thing you were focusing on is getting the radio stations, radio and.


Tv, anything, any content at all to.


Pick up the phone. Would you. How'd you.


I would like everything that was public domain. I'd go out and buy a video or a cassette, whatever it was, you know, and this was before the. The DM's the digital minimum copyright act of 90, whenever it kicked in. So literally anything that was audio, we would put online so people could listen to it. And if you think about somebody at work, they didn't have a radio, most likely. And if you did, you couldn't get reception, definitely didn't have a tv, but you had a pc and you had bandwidth available to you. And the companies weren't up on firewalls or anything at that point in time. So our in office listening, you know, during the day, what just exploded, because whoever's sitting next to you, what are you listening to? Right. And that was the start of it. And then in early 98, we started adding video and just other things. And we had ended up with thousands of servers. There was no cloud back then, and just pulling together all those pieces to make it work. But where we really made our money was by taking that network that we had built and then going to corporations and saying, look, it's 1996, 97, 98.


And to communicate with your worldwide employees, what they would do is they would go to an auditorium that had a satellite uplink, and then they would have people go to, like, theaters or ballrooms and hotels that had satellite downlinks and then would broadcast the product introductions, whatever. And so we said to them, look, you're paying millions of dollars to reach all your employees. When you can do it, pay us a half a million dollars and we'll do it just on their PCs at work. So we did, you know, when intel announced the P 90 pc, we charged them $2 million or whatever to do that. When Motorola announced a new phone or a new product, we would charge them. And so we used the consumer side to do a proof of concept for the network, and then we would take that knowledge and go to corporations. And that's how we made our revenue.


And there's some selling there with the corporations.


Yeah, a lot of selling there. But we were saving them so much money. And they were technology companies. They wanted to be perceived as being leading edge. Was win win.


How much technical savvy was required? You said a bunch of servers, like, at which point do you get more engineers? How much did you understand could do yourself? And then also, once you can't do it all yourself, how much technical savvy is required to understand enough to hire the right people to keep building this innovation?


I did all the technology, and then we hired engineer after engineer after engineer to implement it. And so.




Yeah. From putting together a multicast network to software to just all these different things.


Was this like a scary thing?


It's terrifying, right? Because as we were growing, trying to keep up the scale, and literally we're buying off the shelf PCs and then, you know, server cards as the technology advanced and hard drives, and things would fail and we would have to, you know, we didn't have machine learning back then to do an analysis of, you know, how to distribute server, you know, resources. So, you know, like, there was, there was a time when Bill Clinton and all the Monica Lewinsky stuff happened, they released the audio of their interviews of him or something like that. Right. And we literally, we, I knew at that point in time when that was released, everybody at work was going to want to listen to it. Right?




So we had to take down servers that were doing Chicago Cubs baseball, you know, and just make all these on the fly decisions because there was no, we didn't have the tools to analyze or be predictive. But, yeah, it was all technology driven and marketing.


The acquisition by Yahoo, can you tell the story of that? But also in the broader context of this Internet bubble, this is a fascinating part of human history.


So on the acquisition side, we were the largest media site on the Internet. And it wasn't close. There was nobody close. We were YouTube, and relatively speaking, we would be ten x YouTube relative to the competition because there was nobody there. And so it became obvious to Yahoo, AOL and others that they needed a multimedia component, and we had the infrastructure, sales, all that stuff. And so Yahoo, when we went public in 98, or right before, I think it was, they made an investment of like $2 million, which gave us a connection to them. And then after we went public, they decided they needed to have multimedia. And so in April of 99, we made a deal. And then July of 2000 is when it closed.


And can you explain to me the trickiness of what you did after that?


The collar?




Okay. So when we sold to Yahoo, we sold for $5.7 billion in stock, not cash. And so I looked at, you know, after microsolutions, when I sold that, I took that money. And initially I told my broker I wanted to invest like a 60 year old man because I wanted to protect it. But then he started asking me all kinds of questions about all these technologies that I understood, like networks I had installed. We had become one of the top 20, let's say systems integrators in the country. At one point in time. We're the largest IBM token ring installer in the country. It was crazy, right? Banyan blast from the past. So anyway, so these Wall street bankers, or analysts rather, that were the big analysts of the time, would call me up because they would ask my broker, what does he know about this product? And I knew them all, what was working and not working, right? And so the ones that work, you know, I say, that's working. I'd see the stock, they say something, the stock would go up $20, right? So I'm like, well, my brokers like, you know this better than they do, you need to invest.


So I started buying and selling stocks and this was in 1990 and was just killing it. I was making 80, 9100 percent a year over those next four years, to the point where guy came in and asked to use my trading history to start a hedge fund, which we did, and I sold within nine months. It was great, right? But the point being as it goes forward. So when we sold to Yahoo. I already had a lot of experience trading stocks. And I had seen different bubbles come and go. The bubble for pc manufacturers, a bubble for networking manufacturers, they went up, up, up, and then they came straight down after the hype or somebody just leapfrogged them. And so when we sold to Yahoo, I was like, I've got a b next to my name. That's all I need or all I want. I don't want to be greedy. And I'd seen this story before where stocks get really frothy and go straight down. And I knew that because all of what I had was in stock, I needed to find a way to collar it and protect it. So understanding stocks and trading and options and all that, my broker and I, we went and shorted an index that had Yahoo.


In it. And so the law at the time was you couldn't short any indexes that had more than 5% of that stock in it, right. The Yahoo. Stock. And so I took pretty much 20 some million dollars, everything I had at the time, and I shorted the index.


This is fascinating, by the way, because it's based on your estimation that this.


Is a bubble or just mine not wanting to be greedy.


Sure. So the foundation of this kind of thing is you don't want to be greedy.


Yeah. I mean, how much money do I need, right? You know, where other people were saying, oh, I think you go up higher, higher. I went on CNBC and I told them what I had done and they were like, in Yahoo. Stock had gone up significantly from the time I had collared. And one of the guys, Joe Kernan, was on there. Don't you feel stupid now that Yahoo. Stock has gone up x percent more? I'm like, yeah, I feel real stupid sitting on my jet.


I mean, there is some fundamental way in which bubbles are based on this greed.


Oh, for sure. Yeah. And I'd seen it before, right? Like I just said. And so what I did was we put together a caller where I sold calls and bought puts. And as it turned out, when the market just cratered, I was protected. And over the next two, three years, whatever it was, it converted to cash, paid my taxes, et cetera, but it protected me. And as it turns out, it was called one of the top ten trades of all time. And what was even more interesting out of that period, my broker at that time was at Goldman Sachs. And I had asked him to see if there was a way to trade the VIX, the volatility index, and there wasn't. Right? And so one of the people that Goldman, that we were working with to try to create this actually left Goldman and created indexes that allowed you to trade the VIX.


It's not trivial to understand that it's a bubble. I mean, you're kind of lessening your insight into all this by saying you just didn't want to be greedy, but you still have to see that it's a bubble.


Yeah. I mean, yeah, obviously, if I thought it was going to keep on going up and there was intrinsic value there, I would have stayed in it. But it wasn't so much yahoo. It was just the entire industry back then. We're looking at the magic seven, or whatever it is, stocks now, and people are asking, is it in a bubble? I would get into cabs and people just start talking about Internet stocks. There were people creating companies with just a website and going public. That's a bubble where there's no intrinsic value at all. And people aren't even trying to make operating gap profits. They're just trying to leverage the frothiness of the stock market. That's a bubble. You don't see that right now. There's not companies you don't see, Harley. You don't see any ipos right now for that matter. So I don't think we're in a bubble now. But back then, yes, I thought we were in a bubble but that wasn't really the motivating factor.


Do you think it's possible we're in a bit of an AI bubble right now?


No, because we're not seeing funky AI companies just go public. If all of a sudden we see a rush of companies who are skins on other people's models or just creating models to create models that are going public, then, yeah, that's probably the start of a bubble. But that said, my 14 year old, it was bragging about buying Nvidia with me in his Robin Hood account. He tells me the order I placed it, and he was like, oh, yeah, it's going up, up. And I'm like, yeah, we're not quite there yet, but that's, you know, that's one thing to pay attention.


We're flirting with it.




You said that becoming a billionaire requires luck. Can you explain?


Yeah, I mean, there's no business plan where you can just start it and say, yeah, I'm definitely going to be a billionaire. You can, you know, if I had to start all over, could I start a company that made me a millionaire? Yeah, because I know how to sell and I know technology, and I've learned enough over the years to do that. Could I make 10 million? Probably 100 million? I hope so. But a billion? Just something good has got to happen.




Timing. The Internet stock market was going nuts right when we started, and that certainly I couldn't predict or control. It's like AI right now, AI has been around a long, long, long time. The Nvidia processors, or GPU's rather. You couldn't predict that now's the time that they were going to be. Get to that cost effectiveness where, you know, you could do, you could create models and train them. And although it's expensive, it's still doable. You know, we didn't really even. We had asics, right, for custom applications, and we had CPU's that were leading the way. But GPU's were more for gaming and then crypto mining. And now. Then all of a sudden, they were the foundation for AI models.


So I think luck being essential to becoming a billionaire is a beautiful way to see life in general. First of all, I personally think that everything good that's ever happened to me is because of luck. I think that's just a good way of being. It's like you're grateful. That said, there's some examples of people that you're like, they seem to have done a lot of. They seem to have gotten lucky a lot. You know, we mentioned Jeff Bezos, it seems like he did a lot of really interesting, powerful decisions for many years with Amazon to make it successful.


But he was really able to raise money, right? A lot of money. And people were really dismissive of him because they weren't making. They weren't profitable. And we were in an environment where it was possible to raise money.


It was possible to raise that money. I mean, what about somebody you get sometimes feisty with on the Internet, Elon? But we're gonna even look at Zuck and Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.


Look, Zuck was just trying to get laid, right? And it took off. And you wrote some good stuff, aren't we all, right.


At some level, human civilization, right?


But, yeah, so more power to him, right? You can't take anything away from him. But, yeah, Snapchat, same thing took off. Apps didn't take off in 2007. When the iPhone came out, apps took off in 2011, 2012. And if you were there with the right app at the right time and even Facebook, you know, in 2004, the bubble had burst and, you know, the price for computers had fallen enough, and kids in school all needed computers or laptops. If he had tried to do something like that, you know, five years earlier, I mean, he was too young, but, you know, five years earlier, five years later, you know, or friendster might have been the ultimate. Or MySpace.


Friendster. I remember Friendster for MySpace.


I had a MySpace account, and that was before Facebook.


Yeah, the timing is important, but there's, like, the details of how the product is built, the fundamentals of the product. Like what?


But that's what gets you when the opportunity is there, right? That's what allows you to take advantage of that opportunity and the kismet of it, all, right? You've got to be. Because it wasn't like any of the people I mentioned. There weren't others trying the same thing, right? You had to be able to see it. You had to be able to visualize it and put together a plan of some sort or at least have a path. And then you had to execute on it and do all those things at the same time and have the money available to you. Because it wasn't like whether it was Google or Facebook, you know, they raised a shitload of money. It wasn't bootstrapping it that got them there.


And raising money is not just about sales. It's about the general feeling of the people with money at that time in proximity.


If stuck wasn't at Harvard and he was at Miami of Ohio University or he was at Richland Community College, same idea, same person, same execution, and nothing.


I believe in the power of individuals to find their. To realize their potential, no matter where they come from.


But I agree. I agree 100% with that. Right.


But luck is required.


Yeah. I mean, scale is the only. Delta is scale, right, where, you know, we're not all blessed with the access to the tools that you need to. To hit that grand slam.


But then also, billion is not the only measure of success, right?


Absolutely not. Right. There's. Everybody defines the success in their own way.


How do you define success, Mark?


Waking up every day with a smile, excited about the day. You know, I was. You know, people always say, well, when you get that kind of money, does it make you happy? And my answer always is, if you were happy when you were broke, you're going to be really, really, really happy when you're rich, but you got to.


Work on being happy when you're broke. I guess.


Well, you're just being happy, right. If you were miserable, you know, in your job before, there's a good chance you're still going to be miserable. If that's just who you are.


That's a pretty good definition of success, by the way.


Thank you.


How do you reach that success? By way of advice to people.


You know, we talked about my dad, my parents. I never looked at my dad and said, okay, you're not successful. He busted his ass. And when he came home, you know, he. We enjoyed our time together. Right. There was nothing at any point in time where I felt like, oh, this is miserable. We're awful. We're. You know, we don't have this, we don't have that. You know, we celebrated the things we did have and never knew about the things we didn't have, you know? And so I think, you know, you have to be able to find your way to whatever it is that puts a smile on your face every day. Some people can do it and some people can't.


It's not always about the smile or the smile on the outside. It could be a smile on the inside.


Yeah, whatever it is, right? Whatever makes you feel good.


Yeah. The struggle, even the struggle, like with your dad, the really, really hard work, can be a fulfilling experience. Because the struggle leading up to then seeing your kids.


Exactly. Right. Because that was my dad's grand slam. Right. Seeing three kids go to college, be successful, you know, spend. Be able to spend time with him. And that was the other thing he really made me realize, is the most valuable asset, isn't the money. It's your time. That's why from a young age, I wanted to retire because I wanted to experience everything that I possibly could in this life. And he got joy from us. I get joy from my kids. Um, and that's the most special thing you ever can have.


Beautiful. Said you have made some mistakes in your life.


Yeah, a lot of them.


One of the bigger ones on the financial side, uh, we could say, is Uber.


Yeah, we call that not doing something. Yeah. Wasn't a mistake. It was just. I mean, it was a mistake, but tried to. I always try to look at mistakes, the things you did that didn't turn out as opposed to things you did to, you know, the negative. But.


But what can you tell the story of that? And maybe it's just interesting because it is illustrative, like how to know when a thing is going to be big and not, and what are the fundamentals of it and how to take the risk or not, and all this kind of stuff.


Right. So the backstory of that is Bill Gurley came to me and said, mark, there's this guy, Travis, that has this company, Red Swoosh, which is a peer to peer networking company that I think you can help. And so I invested and would spend a lot of time with Travis. And it's funny because back then, that was like, 2006, I was an with Aaron Levy and, oh, there's one other company, but there were three of them where there'd be emails between, you know, where I'd introduce them, and we'd all talk in these emails, and they'd all gone to have astronomical success. Right? But. So Red Swoosh had its issues, you know, because I always look at peer to peer as kind of stealing bandwidth from the Internet providers when bandwidth was a scarce commodity. And so, you know, what Travis did with that, though, was great. You know, he convinced gaming companies who wanted to do downloads of the clients for those games to use his peer to peer. And Red Swoosh, you know, he busted his ass, and I think he sold it for $18 million. So he did well. And so it was natural for him to come to me.


And I still have the emails, you know, and asked me about Uber cab, and I thought, okay, this is a great idea. I really, really like it. I said, you're going to. And he showed me his budgets, and I think they were raising money at ten or $15 million or whatever. And I'm like, your biggest challenge is going to be you're going to have to fight all the incumbent taxi commissions. They're going to want to put you out of business. That's going to be a challenge. And I think you don't have enough money designated for marketing to get all that done. And I said I'd invest, but not quite at that valuation. Right. Never came back to me.


Yeah. I mean, there's some lessons there connected to what you're doing now. We'll talk about a cost plus. Drugs is like looking at an industry that seems like there's a lot of complexity involved, but it's like hungry for revolution. And the cabs are that.


Yeah, for sure. Right. They were, they were dominated by an insulated few. They were not very transparent. You didn't know the intricacies. They were very, very politically driven and old boy, incestuous network. And to Trav, you know, and like I told him, Travis, the best thing about you is you'll run through walls and break down barriers. The bad thing about you is you'll run through walls even if you don't have to, you know.


Yeah. And there you kind of have to see, is it possible to raise enough money? Is it possible to do all this? Is it possible? Is it possible to break through? And it's kind of a fascinating success story with Uber is, I think he.


Tried to go too big. He had too big an ambition which cost him, in the end, not financially and personally, but just in terms of being able to stick it out with them. But that's what makes him a great entrepreneur.


Well, it's a fascinating success story. You have. Certain companies like Airbnb just kind of go into this thing that we take.


Completely for granted and change it all.


Just change it all.


Yes. Linda Johnson, who worked as our general Comma was, you know, was Brian's GC and chief operating officer. So, yeah, they had a smart, smart.


Smart, smart team and they believed in it. And they, I mean, it's just, it's a, it's a beautiful story because you're like, all right, all the things that annoy you about this world, like, they're inefficient and just seem like I probably.


Would have said no, like a lot of people did to Airbnb because I'm like, that's not, I don't want people sitting in my, sleeping in my bed.


I would have to. I was like, this is not going to work. I've done, like, couchsurfing and stuff. And it was always, it didn't seem right. It didn't seem like you could do.


This at a monetize it. Yeah. But he did more power to him.


In 2000, I think January, you purchased a majority stake in the NBA team, Dallas Mavericks for 285 million. So at this point, maybe you can correct me, but it was one of the worst performing teams in franchise history. How did you help turn it around?


I had this big, tall guy named Dirk Nowiski, and I let him be Dirk Nowitzki. Right. And I got out of the way. But I think more than anything else, there was the turnaround on the business side, and then there was the turn around the basketball side. And on the basketball side, I just went in there immediately, said, whatever it takes to win, that's what we're going to do. You know, back then, they had three or four coaches that were responsible for everything. And I was like, okay, we spend more money training people on pc software than we do developing the most important assets of the business. So I made the decision to go out there and hire, like, 15 different development coaches, one for each player. And everybody thought I was just insane, but it sent the message that we were going to do whatever it took to win. And once the guys believed that winning was the goal as opposed to just making money, attitudes change, efforts went up, and the rest is history.


So the assets of the business here are the players.


The players, yeah, for sure. And then on the business side, the first question I asked myself is, what business are we in? And I really didn't know the answer immediately, but within the first few months, it was obvious that, you know, the entire NBA thought we were in the business of basketball. We were not. We were in the experience business. When you think about sporting events that you've been to, you don't remember the score, you don't remember the home runs or the dunks. You remember who you were with and you remember why you went. It was my first date with the girl who's now my wife, or I went with my buddies, and he threw up on the person in front of us. You know, my dad took me, my aunt, my uncle took me. Those are the experiences you remember. And once I conveyed to our people that this is what we were selling, that what happened in the arena off the court was just as important as what happened on the court, if not more so, because if, you know, mom or dad are bringing the ten year old, you have to keep them occupied because they have short attention spans.


And so, you know, I would get into fights with the NBA. You know, put aside the refs, but getting aside in fights in the NBA, I would say NBA. Nothing but attorneys, right? Because they had no marketing skills whatsoever. And to their credit, you know, they realized that was a problem and started bringing in better and better, better marketing people.


So part of the selling is you're selling the team, selling the sport, selling the people, the idea that all of it, like, just the.


Well, yeah, the experience. So if you. Have you ever been to an NBA.


Game, Miami Heat, do you remember walking.


Into the arena and you feel the energy? Right. That's what makes it special.


Yeah. The energy is everything, especially playoff games.


Right. For sure. Right. And even a regular season game. Right. Even against the worst team, you know, that's where we get, you know, because the tickets tend to be a little bit cheaper on the resale market. That's where parents will bring their kids. And so you hear kids screaming the entire game, and the parents are thrilled to death. Right. They got to do something with your kids. The kids are thrilled to death because they got to see basketball, an NBA game, and scream at the top of their. And, you know, if it turns out to be a close game and that ball's in the air, and if it goes in, you know, everybody's hugging and high five people you've never seen before in your life, and if it misses, you're commiserating with people you've never seen. That's such a unique experience. That's unique to sports. And we never sold that, and that's exactly what we started.


I have to say, like, just going to that game turned me around on basketball because I'm more of a football guy. So basketball wasn't, like the main sport. I was like, oh, wow, okay.


It's fun. Yeah. The energy in a stadium is completely different than the energy in an arena. You know, you can, you know, in the stadium, particularly if it doesn't have a roof, it's hard to bottle that energy. You feel it and you see, like, I'm from Pittsburgh, so there's the terrible towels and people screaming defense and everything at Steelers games. But in an arena, the energy level is just indescribable.


So how much of it is the selling the tickets in person, but also versus what you see on tv? So when you're owning a team, do you get any of the cut for the. What's shown on tv?


Yeah, yeah, we. Yeah. So that there's a tv deal that's done with either a local tv broadcaster and we get all that, or a network broadcaster like ABCC, ESPN, TNT, whatever, and then we get one 30th of that.


So what role does the tv play in?


Like, turning it keeps fans connected. Look, when the team is doing really well, it's easy, right? There's more viewers, everybody's more excited. And when you're not, it's, you know, there's still going to be hardcore fans and, and, you know, general fans and kids that like to watch the game.


What about, like, the personality of the people in the, in the stands? Like, I mean, clearly you're part of the legend of the team because you're literally there going, yeah.


Screaming, yeah. The whole game. Right. Yeah. It's funny, you know, you. The way I am here is how I am, you know, 24 hours a day unless there's a Mavs game.




You know, and for whatever reason, that's where I let out all that stress and frustration. But, yeah, I mean, it's not. So the fans, you know, the 6th man. Right. We need fans to bring that energy and, you know, amplifying that as much as we can is important.


You've had a beef recently on Twitter on X with Elon over Dei programs. What to you, is the essence of the disagreement there?


I wouldn't call it a beef. Right.


It's just, it's a bit of fun.


Yeah, it's fun for me. Right. I just, you know, it's his platform. He gets to run it any way he please. He pays for that. Right. And so I have total respect for whatever choices he makes, even if I don't agree with them. But because it's his platform, people are less likely to disagree with him, particularly somebody who's of, who's got a platform themselves. And so when we start talking about Dei and it's just de facto racist and this stuff, stuff that I just think is nonsense, I have no problem, you know, sharing my opinion. Um, and, you know, if he disagrees, okay, he can disagree. I don't care, you know, and it's fun to engage, but he doesn't really engage. You know, he just comes back with snark comments, which is, you know, his choice.


Yeah, you in your comments. Well, you do a bit of snark.


Too, but, yeah, little bit.


But you're pretty, let's say, rigorous in your response. So there is some exchange of ideas, there's some snark, there's some fun, all that kind of stuff. And you do voice the opinion that represents a large number of people, and it's great. I mean, that's what, it's really beautiful. But just lingering on the topic, what to you is the good and the bad of DEI programs.


Really simple, right. De is diversity and that means you just expand your pool of potential applicants to people who you might not otherwise have access to, you know, to look where you didn't look before, to look where other people aren't looking for quality employees. That's simple. And the e in equity means when you hire somebody, you put them in a position to succeed. The I. Inclusion is when you've hired somebody, and they may not be typical, if you will. Right. You show them some love and give them support they need so they can do their job as best they can and feel comfortable and confident going to work. It's that simple.


So that's a beautiful ideal when it's implemented. Implemented poorly, perhaps, or in a way that doesn't reach that ideal. Do you see maybe when it's quota based, do you see that it can result in essentially racism towards asian people and white people, for example?


There's a lot to unpack there. Right. So first, you can't do quotas. They're illegal unless they're your. And I'm not the lawyer on the subject, but unless you're. You're trying to repair something that's happened in the past, like some discrimination that's happened in the past, so it's not quota based. And I think that's really just kind of a straw man that. That people put out there. Now, does that mean that there aren't DEI programs that are implemented poorly? Of course not. There are everything that's implemented poorly in one company to another. Right? Sales, marketing, human resources. You can pick any element of business and find companies that implement it poorly. But that's the beauty of capitalism in a free market, or mostly free market, where if you make these choices and they are the wrong choices, you're going to lose your best people. You're not going to be able to hire the best people. You're not going to execute on your business plans in the way that we discussed, regardless of the size of the company. And it also, I think, depends on where you're having the discussion. So when I'm in a different group of people off of X, the feedback is completely different.


Right. Um, but to your question of reverse racism, yes, it happens.




I mean, because people are people. There's no, you know, there's no human being that is 100% objective. And it's also, there's very, very, very few jobs that can be determined on a purely quantitative basis. Right. How do you tell one janitor from the other who's the best? Right. How do you tell one salesperson that you're hiring versus another. You're hiring because they haven't sold your product yet. So you don't know. We talked earlier about firing people because you made mistakes. And, you know, yes, there's discrimination against any group, white, asian, black, green, orange, whatever it may be. But I truly believe that there's far more discrimination against people of color than there are people who are white. And I think it's become a straw man that reversed. Discrimination because of DEI is prevalent or near ubiquitous.


Well, much of american history was defined by intense radical racism and sexism, but in the recent years, there was a correction. And I think the nature of the criticism is that there's an overcorrection where DEI programs at universities, at companies, are often, when they're not doing their job well, are often hard to criticize because when you criticize them within the company or so on, you can. They have a very strong immune system where if you criticize a D ad program, it seems like it's very easy to be called racist. And if you're called racist or sexist, that's. That's a sticky label.


So you're getting into the culture of organizations, right. And leadership within organizations and accepting any type of criticism. Put aside Dei. When I criticized the referees in the NVA, I got fined. Right. That was their option. I knew what I was getting into. Right. Not that they're completely analogous, but it's cause and effect. If I'm in a major company and I'm publicly criticizing, or even internally criticizing a sales plan or a product, our product sucks. There was a Google engineer that got fired for saying Google had Agi, and nobody believed they did, and they knew that created problems. It wasn't Dei related, but it was saying something publicly that was in the CEO's eyes to the detriment of the company. I think those are all analogous. If you're trying to accomplish something within an organization because you think there's a problem and there's people speaking out saying, look, we're getting it wrong. I think I'm a victim of all this and the company, right, then leadership has got to make a decision. Do they agree or not agree? Are they right or are they wrong? Is it to the positive? Is it positive or negative to the company?


And you decide. So this conversation that conservatives are being silenced in organizations now, and I just. I haven't seen it. You know, I've talked to. And then the other side of your question, I think I'm packing it is what's driving all this? Put aside universities for one in corporate America, when I talk to people in corporate America about Dei, they always start talking about ideology, right? And like, I've talked to Bill Ackman, who you've had on, right? And when I asked him, well, Bill, you run your own companies. Who's telling you what to do? They are. Who's they? Well, it's the universities, you know, the people who have this ideology of Dei. I'm like, did they force you? Did they coerce you? Did you lose control of your company? No, it's not me. It happens to other people. Then I talk to other people, same thing. So I get, you know, try not to go one on one in Twitter conversations on this topic. So in the DM's, I'll talk to people who are really conservative and I'll ask the same question and be like, well, who's forcing you to do this? Well, it's the ideology that's everywhere.


You see it. Don't, didn't you see the Harvard thing in University of North Carolina? I'm like, I've never had anybody try to push me in this direction to do this. This was my business choice. I'm not trying to tell other people, you have to do this. You make your own business choices. And so where companies have made their business choices and if somebody doesn't feel confident or comfortable with it, they may feel they're being discriminated against. There was something I just read in the Wall Street Journal where the Wall Street Journal had a company interviewed 2 million people, right. And the difficulty in firing and how people, when they were fired, 40% of the people who were fired felt like it was wrong that they were doing a great job yet. Then it talked about the HR person going through the hassle of trying to explain to this person through performance reviews that they weren't doing a good job yet the people still thought they were doing a great job despite being told they're not doing a good job. Right. So I see that as being analogous to all this huffing and puffing about reverse discriminations and conservatives not being able to speak up because 40% of people who have been fired don't believe they should have been fired.


There's a disconnect somewhere in how you think you're doing your job. And if you just feel like I can't speak up because of it because you're white and that doesn't comport well with DEI programs, a lot of things are going to happen, right? Either you're going to, that's going to come up in your performance review HR or your boss is going to have to address it in some way. It's going to get to HR at some level, and then decisions are going to have to be made. And you can't just fire somebody because they spoke up. Right? Somebody's going to have to communicate with you. And so I think a lot of, I just don't trust the supposed volume that people say it's happening at versus everything I've read and seen. And when I talk to people in positions of authority within organizations and ask them who's forcing them to implement these ideologies, nobody says, yes, that there is somebody. But on Twitter it sounds great.


It is true for conservatives, but in general, you can sell books, you can get likes when you talk about this ideology. And there's a degree to which is this woke ideology in the room with us right now? Meaning it's this boogie monster that we're all kind of.


Or is it a positive?


I guess another way to say that is they don't highlight a lot of the positive progress has been made in the positive version of the word woke in terms of correcting some of the wrongs done in the past. So. But that said, you know, if you ask people in Russia, a lot of them will say there's no propaganda here, there's no censorship and all that kind of stuff. It's sometimes hard to see when you're in it that this kind of stuff is happening. It does seem difficult to criticize DEI programs. Not horribly difficult, terrible. They're this monster that infiltrates everything. But it is difficult, and it requires great leadership.


So where have you criticized it and been condemned? Academic or academic?


Yeah, okay.


Academic. Let's. Two different worlds.


Companies and academic.


Yeah, two different worlds.


But I also think it's not, I really want to point my finger at the failure of leadership, of basically firing mediocre people, like people that are not good at their job. The problem to me is dei defense mechanism, like immune system, is so strong that the shitty people don't get fired. So the vision, the ideal of DI is a beautiful ideal. It's just like, well, maybe it's because.


I'm an entrepreneur, when I see an ideal that you try to implement it and support it and get to that point. But universities and companies are night and day different. Right. I can see an argument for the ideology in a university. I can see you look at the amount of money spent on it. And so while the goal is right, the way they implement it in universities, the way they implement most things in universities is wrong. Right. There's a reason why tuition has gone up a multitude of, or a multiple of inflation. They're not well run organizations across the board. So I'm not going to argue with that at all. So when you've seen me argue with Dei, I haven't waded into Dei and universities at all.


That's mostly focused on companies, 100% right.


Because that's where I exist. But at the same time, like, I read Christopher Rufrow's book where he talks about the kind of the genealogy of wokeism and ideology. But then he gets to the point, and I hope I'm remembering this right, where he says that the response to it is decentralized activism, if you will. That's not the word he used to try to counter that, Dei. And that seems to me to be counter to the whole conservative movement right now, other than school boards, right, where it's centralized and, you know, the republican candidate is all about centralized power in him. And, you know, I, to me, that's just a conflict and a lot of the underpinning of this con, of the whole DEI conversation that a lot of it, and a lot of which goes through Christopher Rufrow. Right now, let's continue on a theme.


Of fun exchanges on the Internet. So Elon tweeted, the fundamental axiomatic flaw of the woke mind virus is that the weaker parties always right in parentheses, even if they want you to die, and you responded at length. But the beginning is the fundamental axiomatic flaw of the anti woke mind is that it allows groups with historical power to play the victim by taking anecdotal examples and packaging them into conjured conspiratorial ideology that threatens to upend the power structures they have been depending on. So says it. All right, well, there's a tension there, so. Yes, but both can be abused, right? Both positions of power can be abused. There's power in DEi and there's shitty people that can crave power and hold on to power and sacrifice their ideals.


Okay, put aside universities. Okay.


Damn it.


Yeah. I mean, because I'm not going to argue that universities implement DeI well, right. And I'm not going to tell you that, you know, they need to be spending 20 some million dollars a year on DEI positions. To me, that's insane. Do I look at the Harvard and North Carolina decision and say it was a great decision? No, because, you know, I think having a diverse student body helps make for kids who are better prepared for the real world. But I'm not running a university, so it's not my choice. Maybe at some point in the future I will, but not now. And in terms of the corporate side of it, who's telling anybody what to do?


Well, maybe you can give me some help.


Sure, I'm here to help you.


Like, there's an example in the AI world of a system called Gemini.


Yeah, everybody was black or whatever.


People at color, George Washington, black, nazis were black.


So why, why is it when that came out, it was a big uproar, but when somebody. So who, who was it? One of the people who were trying to fuck with me. I forget which one.


There's so many.


Yeah, but he pointed out to Elon that grock, elon's AI, was woke when it answered certain questions. And other people have pointed out other things to elon about Grock, whatever, however it's pronounced, that was leaning left or woke right. And elon's response was, oh, it'll change. It's a mistAke. We're fixing it. When it happens to Gemini and Google, it's the end of the world. Look how woke they are. And it's a reflection of all their culture. Now Google comes out and says, this is a mistake. And then they dox the guy who is the product manager or whatever, of AI, of that product, who. And then they go back and look at his old tweets, right, and show that he's very left leaning and very dei supportive, and that's the end of the world.


It's not the end of the world. But Google's so much dependent on trust, that trust a Google search has as objective as possible channel into the world of information. And so that brand is really important.


Yes. You're over. You're giving them too much power. Um, and maybe I'm not recognizing the power, right? So I'll tell you a personal experience. Um, up until a month ago, maybe if you put in keto gummies, shark tank, keto gummies into Google, it would show up with scammy ads, scam ad after scam. And I would get emails up until a month ago from elderly people asking me why the gummies weren't working and why the companies were charging all this money on a month by month basis when they tried to cancel. And they said it was the number one deal on Shark tank of all time. Right? And all shark, right. It was a mistake.


Well, there's fraud, there's mistakes, but the.


Mistakes, no, but why didn't Google fix it? Right. Additions didn't happen once over one week, over two weeks. Right. And because it was hard to fix. As it turns out, I was working with them to try to find a fix, and we would both look at the same page. And if you were inside of Google, within the domain, it would show one page. If you were outside of Google, it would show another. And it took us looking at it at the same time for anybody to realize it, meaning that there's a lot of technology problems that are hard to fix.


They're super complex, and we could talk about it forever with social media, the criticism towards Google, towards other companies when they're based in Silicon Valley, there could be an ideological drift into an ideological bubble out of which the technology is created, and they could be blind to the obvious bias.


That's billions of customers who are not going to. So what you're saying is the free market stops with artificial intelligence, that people don't pay attention and respond, that Google doesn't listen to the responses, that people inside of Google will ignore their own financial interest and even their own best personal interest, because they know they're going to get doxed now on. On by Elon and others. And so I just don't see that. And Elon's not allowed to make those same mistakes, but allowed to make those mistakes, but Google isn't.


I know Elon is 100% should be criticized for. For the ridiculousness of overstatements that he makes about various products. He's having a bit of fun, like you are also. But, and I also believe in the free market, but it's not always efficient. There's like a delay.


It takes time. Yeah, it's fine.


So which is why Elon is important when calling out, I think, overstating the criticism of Gemini. But Elon and others are just.


Gemini wasn't even a fully available public product yet.


It's still a bias that resonates with people.


That's the way neural networks work, though, right? That's why there'll be millions of models, because weights and biases putting together, you know, a neural network, but, well, no.


So, like, the black George Washington is an. Is a correction on top of the foundation model to keep it, quote, unquote, sort of safe. One of the big criticisms of all the models, frankly, probably even grok a little bit less so, is there. They're, like, trying to be really conservative in this, in the sense of. Of trying to be careful not to say crazy shit, of course, because you don't know how the thing is brand.


New and we know what happens. Right. And they do it on the front end with prompts. And they try to do it on the back end with the neural networks that are underneath them. Right. And it doesn't always work. And that's why there's going to be millions of models rather than just, you know, four foundational models that ever. Five that everybody uses.


Well, I guess the main criticism is you want to have some transparency, all the teams that are involved and that this kind of, to the degree there's a left leaning ideology within the companies, it doesn't affect the product.


But that's the beauty of the free market. Yeah. That's where the market corrects it. Right. And not only from the outside, because everybody, you know, is going to test it. Like when YouTube first came out, we're not. First came out when. After Google bought them. Used to be able, there used to be, um, different commands you could give it, right. There were line prompt commands that you could give it and you could find all the nasty porn that got loaded before they kicked it off. Right, right. And it was just the nastiest shit ever. And even now, to this day, if there's some horrific, tragic event, somebody's loading it up right. Now. I know that's not direct to your point of internal influence to the output. Right. But people on the outside are going to check for that now. Right. It's almost like the new bug contest, right, to try to find bugs and software and then on the inside, if it's all left leaning and all you have is left leaning employees because, you know, most conservatives won't want to work there. Then again, that's self correcting as well.


That's the hope. But it can self correct in different kinds of ways. You can have a different company that competes and becomes more conservative. I mean, my worry is that it kind of becomes like two different worlds where there's, like it already is. No, come on, don't give up.


Oh, I'm not giving up. So where does this go, is the question.




Right. What, what happens next? And I mean, going back, I mean, I've been in so many pc revolutions, right, or evolutions where porn was the big issue, right? Now we don't even talk about porn being an issue. Even though, you know, if every, every post on Twitter now has, you know, link in bio for a porn post, right. We don't even think that's a negative anymore. That's just an accepted thing. And now it's become very where your politics on Twitter. But again, as you extend that and things grow as AI models become more efficient and trainable for a lot less money or even locally on a pc or a phone. We're all going to have our own models, and there's going to be millions and millions and millions of models, and not just foundational models. Now, maybe opens, maybe they're built some on open source. Maybe, you know, it'll be copy pasta, where you can just cut and paste and create your own model and train it yourself. Maybe it'll be mixture of experts where, you know, maybe it'll be a meta front end. Like we're working on a project where we take 30 different AI models and there's just a meta search engine where it searches all of them and you can compare all the outputs and see what you think is the best.


Kind of like a search engine, right, because you might get. Is Dei good, right? You know, is the COVID vaccine good, right. You're gonna get a variety of outputs, and you have to make that decision yourself. That's what I think is gonna happen with AI as well, because I think brands, there's no way the Mayo Clinic and the. But Harvard medical School are just going to contribute all their ip to Chap GPT or Gemini or whatever. They're going to. It's going to have to be licensed or they're going to do their own.


Yeah, I mean, that's a very hopeful message. But that said, you know, human history doesn't always autocorrect really quickly. Self correct really quickly. Sometimes you get into this very painful things. You have. You have Stalin, you have Hitler. You can get to places very quickly where the ideological thing just builds on itself.


And like you, Twitter is not real world. You know, there's.


There's 27 is not real world. That's true.




Yes. But you could still have a nation captured by an ideology. I think America has been really good at having these two blue and red always at attention with each other, dividing the populace. And in the process of doing that, figuring stuff out, like, almost like playing devil's advocate, but, like, in real life.


And that's fair and that's. Right. You know, as opposed to Pravda telling you everything you want to know. Right. And everybody believing it, because there's control of everything. Right. And so going back to what you said earlier, people in Russia don't think, you know, invading Ukraine. It's, you know, a lot of them see it as a positive. Right. I'm sure you have relatives and friends who think it's the best thing to ever happen, right. Because they believe in Putin, they're denouncifying.


Ukraine, they're removing the Nazis from Ukraine.


Right. Because that's exactly what Putin said. And we don't have one uniform media outlet. That's the difference. Even though people like to talk about mainstream media as being the source of a lot of the friction, there is no such thing as mainstream media anymore. You know, Fox is the biggest cable news channel with the biggest audience, and they call everybody else mainstream media. You know, it's insane, the things that we accept from our sources of information. To me, that's the bigger problem. The bigger problem is trying to figure out what is free speech and what is the line of tolerance for free speech. And at what point does hateful free speech crowd out otherwise of other people. Right? Putin's the master of that. He. You're going to jail or you're going to be dead if you disagree right now. God help us if we ever get to that point here. But the person who controls the algorithm controls the world. Right? And if you are committed to one specific platform as your singular source of information or affiliated platforms, then whoever controls the algorithm or the programming there controls you in a lot of respects.


And I think that's where our biggest problem has been. We get people attached to specific platforms and apps and media outlets, and they become part of that team and they identify as such. And either you're part of the team or you're not. And that, to me, is the fundamental problem. It's not woke ideology, because I never felt any pressure to make the choices that I've choiced that I've chosen, including diversity, equity and inclusion, and I've never forced anybody or told anybody to do it. I just said, here's my experiences. Whenever I've talked to people who talk about the woke ideology, no one ever got forced. I mean, if you look at Dylan McDermott, right, if there was a way to gage the number of impressions that she had, right, and where they source from, I'd be willing to bet any amount of money that 90% plus of the impressions and discussions of Dylan McDermott were on right leaning media.


Several things, actually. Let's even go there. You've gotten a bit of a beef with, again, fun with Jordan Peterson about.


That's the guy whose name I couldn't think of. Yeah.


So the topic there was the gender transition and Dylan Mulvaney. Can you explain the nature of the beef? I mean, it's an interesting claim you're making that most, most of the people who are concerned about this are conservatives.


Yeah. Just the point is that if you looked at impressions, like when you run an ad, you're curious about impressions and who sees them, right? But if you look at the impressions related to Dylan McDermott, I would, like I just said, I'd bet 90% or more were in conservative media. And, you know, I don't know how many followers she had, 250,000 followers or whatever, when the Bud light ad came out. And if it weren't for kid rock shooting, you know, guns shooting at Dylan McDermott, Bud light cans, she'd be long forgotten.


Yeah, but most of the people that care about censorship are going to be free speech advocates. So, like, most people that care about Putin suppressing speech or anybody else suppressing speech are going to be like libertarians. So there's probably an explanation of that. The criticism that Jordan Peterson could provide, I guess he said that Dylan Mulvaney popularized the kind of mutilation, in his view, that can affect, there's a very serious, life changing process that a person goes through. And when that's applied to a child, it can do a lot of harm to a person.


But my point still holds. I don't know how many kids were following. And you can look at the followers list. It's not like it's hidden, right? Back then, if they had 250,000 followers, and now we're on TikTok, you know, where he might get 50 some thousand views or likes. Right. I don't know how many views, but likes, I don't. I've never seen any evidence that Dylan McDermott influenced people to transition their gender. As he transitioned to her, it was documented on tick tock over the course of a year. And again, when you go back and look at the views on those TikToks, it was, you know, it wasn't like, enormous.


Yeah, but the trends start, right? It could be. What worries people is for young kids there to be a trend of, especially when you feel like an outsider, you feel not yourself, less than yourself. All this kind of stuff that kids feel like that, if it's because popular enough is a trend, you would gender transition without meaning to do that, is just part of a trend.


That's the worry. That is a big stretch to think that all the things that have to happen before you transition gender, and I'm not saying kids might identify, find it cool or in the moment, expedient, if you will, to dress up as the other gender.




Who cares, right? But to go through the actual physical transition, I don't remember what the numbers were that I read, but I do remember that the latest numbers that came out in terms of transitioning were from JAMA, which is a medical association that said from 2021 to 2022, the numbers went down. But the bigger point is there are no numbers for 2023 when post Dylan McDermott. So there's no way to know if the assertion is true, even marginally true. Now, you can, you can easily suggest it, right? But you can say that about any social media influencer, right? You know, people are, kids are dying because, you know, I mean, it's just like when people accuse Trump of potentially influencing people to, you know, inject bleach into their veins, you can't, you know, that's a big old leap to say that because, you know, Trump says it, that people are going to start invest, you know, injecting, and then they find somebody who actually did. And it's like, oh, it must be true. You know, this is a trend. Now. I just, I'm just not buying it that there aren't enough roadblocks in the way.


Now. I'm not saying it never happens. Right. And to me, you should have to wait until you're 18 to actually have any surgery to transition. And if your parents approve it earlier, then you can have a conversation with your doctor. But you're suggesting that everybody in that process to go to transition a minor is corrupt. That the doctor, the sociologist, the psychologist, all the people involved, the hospital where the surgery is happening, the insurance company company that's paying for it, they all have been corrupted by this trend. I just don't see that.


Well, not corrupted, but, you know, people, it's back to the DEI thing. That could be pressure, and we are pressured operate.


So think about all the people who have to be complicit to do an operation.


It's not complicit like evil complicit.


No, it is evil complicit. Right. Because somebody in hospitals right now, they won't perform abortions because of state law in Alabama. They stopped IVF treatment immediately, immediately after that ruling by that judge. Right. The Qanon judge. Does they think that they're not going to pay attention to the possible consequences of being the hospital that does transgender, that gives doctors operating rights there and not be aware of the risks associated with it. And double check. To me, that's just insane. They're risking their entire business and livelihood and personal relationships for not checking that this 14 year old, you know, boy who wants to be a girl or vice versa, is there waiting for surgery.


I just don't see that in America. Yes, but if we look at humans in general and Jordan Peterson I think unjustly incorrectly brought up Auschwitz.


Yeah, that was ridiculous.


But if we look, to me, World War Two is a very interesting time. It does reveal a lot about human nature and that humans are able to commit atrocities without really speaking up. The point I want to make is that when you're in this situation where everybody is around. Around you is committing an atrocity, you can be sort of the. The good German and. Yeah, but, I mean, human nature is such that you can but do that.


That is in a time of war.


Yeah, but it's still human nature. It's interesting to remember that war when.


You feel like there's nationalism, patriotism, everything that comes up. Russia. Right. You know, the moms of the kids sent to be, you know, sent to Ukraine, who didn't come back in Russia, feel certainly different than the. The everyday Russian who's just taking, you know, whatever information that's available from a unified, controlled media.


Yeah. You know, we should remember human nature. It's interesting.


I'm not dismissing human nature at all, but there's a difference. I think that human nature, self preservation, influences those decisions. There's nothing about self preservation involved in Dei wokeness, you know, transgenderism, to compare it to Auschwitz. That's insane.


Yeah, well, that comparison is almost always, probably always is insane comparison between anything and the Holocaust.


I agree.


I think there's a name for that rule. But once you bring up Hitler, the conversation ends. I do appreciate you bringing up Trump and bleach as an example. So, continuing on fun exchanges between you and Elon, you said if they were having Biden's last wake, and it was him versus Trump and he was being given last rights, I was still vote for Biden. To which Elon replied, caricaturing you. If Biden were a flesh eating zombie with 5 seconds to live, or upon being reelected, earth would plunge into a 1000 years of darkness. I would still vote for him. That's basically quoting you, but in a caricature. And you responded. While I have your attention, wanted to say thank you. Your consultants at Tesla followed up about using cost plus drugs, but which we'll talk about to save the company money. Truly appreciated. And in parentheses, my limit is 300 years of darkness. Very well done. Mark. What's your intuition? If we just stick on Biden, Trump for a sec. What's your intuition? Why Biden would make a better president than Trump?


Look at the basics, right? If you look at the people he's hired, there hasn't been any turnover in his cabinet at all. If you look at the people he's hired over the course of his career or while he was vice president in particular. There's nobody who's turned on him and came out and written books and made public statements about how he's bad for the country. Now, compare that to trump. The people closest to him, almost all of them turn, unless there's a financial relationship involved. And to me, that says everything.


The dynamics of the team is important to you.


When you, if you're going to be the most powerful person in the world, you better know how to manage and lead. Right? And that's not to say Biden hasn't made a lot of mistakes. I mean, immigration, the border is a horrific mistake. And hopefully he recognizes that. And I don't like the fact that he doesn't admit his mistakes and just say, okay, I got to fix it, or I made a mistake in Afghanistan, whatever it may be, right. The position of commander in chief and president, you're going to make mistakes. Then I look at the other guy. Never miss a mistake. And the list is long.


What do you think about the immigration situation? A lot of conservatives are using that sort of the theory is that the reason it's happening is because they would be able to illegally vote.


That's insane for Biden. Yeah. You can't be an illegal immigrant and vote. And now in a lot of states, because of the conservatives, they've passed laws saying, you have to show identification. When I voted in Texas, you had to show state identification. They can't vote. You can't register as an illegal alien that I'm aware of to vote.


Yeah. But of course, that story really worries me. Enables or serves as a catalyst for questioning the legitimacy of an election.


I remember going to the debate with Trump in 2016, and he was debating Clinton, and one of the things he said was, we don't even know if this election will be legitimate if I lose. This was in 2016 before he was even elected, and that was where he was going. That's just what he does. He's never admitted a mistake. The guy's failed a zillion times. Most people say, okay, I learned from him. You know, read. I read a book about Roy Cohen. And, you know, Roy Cohen was the ultimate deny, deny, deny. And that was one of Trump's mentors. And you can see almost everything Roy Cohen ever did in the same way that Donald Trump approaches things.


But given how drastic the immigration situation is, that story becomes more believable.


Yeah, of course it does. Right. But the facts are still the facts. Right. And in red states, they're going to be checking every identity id. They're going to be making sure that's not the case. And, you know, you can also make the argument, well, in the blue state, it doesn't matter. In the, the swing states, they're still going to be checking because they know Trump is going to sue the shit out of him when he loses, you know, and so, again, that's where, you know, people will take those self preservation steps to keep their job and do the right thing. There's still enough people who would believe in this country and how amazing it is to do the right thing. And a lot of the premise of what some conservative conservatives are saying and doing the underpinning of it is that their fellow citizens will not do anything. Not some things, anything, if that serves the best interests of this country. And to me, that's just wrong. You know, that is just misleading and wrong.


I just worry about, I don't care about Trump or Biden. I care about democracy. I just worry. I worry about the viral nature of the idea of this illegal immigrants.


But it's just, it's very functional, right. Either they get across, there's a thousand different ways to, an unlimited number of ways to enter the United States of America undetected. Right. And the south border, where it's the easiest and the worst, and Biden needs to take steps to reduce that. Remember, when Biden was vice president and Obama was president, they called Obama the deporter in chief. He had no problem deporting people. And I think if I had to guess, and this is just a guess, that when they looked at the initial statistics for immigration, when Biden took over, they thought there was room for more immigrants, not because they would vote, but, you know, you can make a fiscal argument that in a world where the birth rate is flat to declining, we need immigrants, right. And immigrants typically don't, you know, don't have a higher crime rate or anything than, you know, indigenous american citizens. Indigenous isn't the right word, but american citizens. And so they made a calculated mistake. They made a decision that was wrong, and now they have to fix it or it's going to hurt them severely. But I don't buy, you know, like, what elon's pushing that.


But the whole reason is they are voters and will become voters.


And we should say the obvious, you're a descendant of immigrants.


Yeah, for sure.


And the immigrants is what makes this country great in many parts of the diversity of this nation. And we should probably keep the people that are, like, already been in this country for a while and are killing it like PhD students and all this.


It's like we, that's not what Donald Trump wants, though. He wants to ship them all out. Right? There's just a whole lot of hyperbole when it comes to talking to all about, talking about all of these things we're talking about, when it's right versus left, my team versus your team, my tribe versus your tribe. The only way to stand out is hyperbole. The hard part and why I like this conversation is how do you distinguish hyperbole versus reality? And I get where you're going, Lex, where it's like, what the smallest spark sometimes can cause people to change. And then that spark becomes bigger and then it becomes more widespread, and then all of a sudden your country has changed. It's not what you thought it was. I get that completely right. And yes, you always have to be on top of that to make sure. But a lot of that comes from lack of leadership and lack of trust, because there's nobody who's saying, all right, the Republicans, that's all hyperbole. And you're wrong for that. Democrats, you fucked up on immigration. Right? You fucked up in Afghanistan, right? Here's where you made these mistakes.


Own it. There's nobody who says, right, we're not going to just bring in Republicans if the Republicans win, and then, you know, and there's nobody who says, we're not going to just bring in Democrats, we're going to bring in a mix, right? We're going to try to get balance on the Supreme Court. There's just, there's no leadership that's doing it. That's the fundamental problem. It's not about the ideology of woke. It's not the no leadership.


Yeah, leadership. And yeah, there's, it's, it's whatever systems we've created. It's, it's really frustrating that, uh, if you don't like Trump, it's, it really is Trump Derangement syndrome. Like, he's the, he's definitely Hitler. If you don't like Biden, he's senile lizard person, right.


That everybody gets labeled, right? And because that works on social media, that, look, if Elon changed the algorithm just by taking himself out of it seriously, I'm not saying don't post right, post all you want, but he, you know, if you look at his followers, they're almost all right leaning. If you look at the people he engages with positively, they're almost all right leaning. And if you look at the people he engages with negatively like me. Right. I consider myself an independent, but I lean left on the DEI topic. Right. That influences the algorithm. And so you see what you see because of what he says. Yeah.


Well, I mean, for sure, but there could be a lot of influential people on Twitter that influence the algorithm and all that kind of stuff. I do feel it's not even about ideology where you lean. It's about, like, the algorithm not prioritizing drama, like the. The attention grabbing thing or the lower lizard version of that, where, like, people just want the drama they want.


When I last read through all the stuff on. On their algorithm, right. Maybe it's changed. Whoever has the biggest account and gets engagement on that account influences what people see the most.


Yeah. I mean, that's interesting. I don't know if that's to the degree that's true. They've for sure, is still the case. Pretty rigorous description of what's. Of the way the algorithm works. It's actually kind of fascinating. There's a clustering of people based on interests.


Right. But I think they call it the nearest neighbor. Right. Approach, and I think that's what they do. And so whoever has the biggest account has the most neighbors, who in turn have their neighbors, who in turn have their neighbors, and that's how they discern what comes next.


But there's a clustering still. So, like, if you don't give a shit about Elon, you're not.


You're not gonna win them. Yeah. You're not.


You're not gonna have an influence.


When you get a break, just create a burner account on Twitter and see with who they recommend to you.




And not just Elon. I mean, the people that Elon likes. And I'm saying that's not Elon saying, add this person. Add this person and suggest this person. This person. This person. I'm saying that's what the algorithm. Yeah.


There should be transparency around that for sure.


There is. There is. That's the whole point, right? He knows there's transparency, and he knows the impact. That's why when I say, take yourself out of the algorithm, right. Don't include his account. That changes, I think, the output of the algorithm.


Well, when he wasn't owning Twitter, he was one of the biggest accounts, if not the biggest account already.


It wasn't. But still, like, even, like, the Kim. Well, the Kim Kardashian accounts, whatever. Right. It would. I don't. It wasn't open source. To Elon's credit, it is now. So I couldn't see it to know. Right. So I didn't get the sense one way or the other of one, one element being dominant over the other. But obviously conservatives felt that that left leaning was more dominant back then.


Yeah, I would love to see numbers on all of this. Yeah, you be both Dei, everything like this. Sometimes anecdotal data really frustrates me. It frustrates me primarily because of how sexy it is. Like people just love, it's a great.


Way to describe it.


Love a story. And I'm like, God damn it, this is not science. This is.


It's not even common sense.


Well, no, I think anecdotal stories often have a wisdom in them.


Like, no doubt, right. There's something to be gained from seeing.


There'S a signal there. But like, how representative is that signal of the broader thing?


There's a whole lot more noise than signal, more often than not.


All right, so as I mentioned, and cost plus drugs, there's so many questions I can ask here, but what's the big question? What's broken about our healthcare system?


There's no transparency. And when the lack of transparency leads to lack of trust, and when you can't trust the healthcare system other than maybe your doctor, that's a broken system.


So what aspect of the system does cost plus drugs is trying to solve?


The thing we're trying to solve for is trust. And the way we feel we get there is through complete transparency. So when you go to and you put in the name of the medication, if it's one of the 2500 and growing that we carry, we will first show you our costs, what we actually pay for it. Then we'll show you our 15% markup. Then we'll show the pharmacy fill fee and shipping, and that's your total price. And that alone, that transparency alone is completely revolutionizing how drugs are priced in America today. And it's led to research being done comparing our pricing to CMS and ours being cheaper than even the government is negotiating, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. And so just that transparency alone has had an impact and saved millions of people hundreds of millions of dollars or more.


And maybe it results in more transparency in other parts of the system too, seeing the business of it. But what do the so called middlemen companies? So the pbMs, pharmacy benefit managers. Thank you. CV's caremark, Cygnus Express scripts and United Health's Optum Rx, they control majority of the market. What do they do wrong?


They put profits over everything. Right. And they know, in an, in an industry that's completely opaque, they can pretty much do what they want and nobody gets to see what they're doing in detail. And so, you know, the first thing when you sign a contract with one of those big pbms is says, you can't disclose any of this. And the fact that you can't be disclosed means they could tell Lexis company that, that they're getting a great price and they're only being charged X. And they can tell Mark's company, oh, you're getting a great price, and we're charging Mark X Plus. But Mark doesn't know any better because there's no way to know.


The markup is not transparent.


The cost isn't transparent. The markup isn't transparent. There's different things. I was just talking to a company in a presentation a couple of days ago, took the step to leave the big three pbms to go to a rebate free PBM that was smaller. And what they said led to the decision. They had a contract with the PBM for these things called rebates. Right, where depending on the volume of medications you buy, they'll kick back to you a percentage of them. And as it turns out, when they compared what was contracted for to what they actually got, they were getting underpaid every single year. They just dont care. Right. Theyll take products. Theres a drug called Humira, and its the number one revenue drug in the country. And theres also a biosimilar, multiple biosimilars, but one we carry called Eucymran and Humira. The pre rebate price is about $8,000 per month. And after rebates, depending on the size of the company, itll be anywhere from three to $6,000 a month. You can go to get your doctor to prescribe that biosimilar usimary and you pay $594. But those big three pbms won't allow their clients to get you simmer e because they don't get a rebate on usimary, so they rather keep a drug on their formulary, even though their patients would save, their customers would save a lot of money.


They'd rather keep a drug and exclude another because they'll make a lot more money.


So the CV's Kramark spokesperson, I think, responded to you, Phil Blando, with, with the usual language that so deeply exhausts me. But I was wondering if there's true, any truth to it. Employers, unions, health plans and government programs work with CV's caremark precisely because we deliver for them lower drug costs, better health outcomes, and broad pharmacy access. Through our true cost, cost vantage and choice formulary initiatives, we are the leading agent of change, innovation and transparency in the market.


That's a whole lot of nothing.


So they, they are not transparent.


No, no. Call them up. You go to cost plus drugs, we'll give you our price list of every, all 2500 plus drugs.


The actual cost?


The actual cost and what we sell it for, because it's just a plus 15%. Call up any of the big three companies and ask them for the same thing, they're gonna laugh at you. It's so bad. In fact, if you do business with them right now and you just ask for your claims data, meaning, you know how many people use Humira that we're paying? What are we paying for it? They won't even give it to you unless you really, really scream and yell at them. And then they'll charge you and take six months to get it. So like, when we moved away from them, we wanted to get what our claims data was to understand what we were going to be facing. They wouldn't give it to us until like six months later. I forget the exact month, but. And then they charge us for it as well, our own data.


On the CEO front, you said that CEO's don't understand healthcare coverage and it's costing them big. What's the connection between cost plus drugs and companies?


So I can speak for my own companies. And this applies to all companies, you know, bigger companies that self insure because we self insured. When I finally, when we started cost plus, I finally said, okay, it's time for me to understand how I'm paying for my healthcare for my employees and their families. And the first thing I looked at was, a lot of these companies use employee benefits consultants. And turns out I was beginning, I was paying dollar 30 per employee per month, which was millions of dollars a year, and they were just sending us to the companies that paid them the biggest commissions. I'm like, how fucking dumb am I? Right? So I'm like, okay, we're cutting that. And then I looked at our medication, our prescription deal that goes through the pbms that we were using and that the consultant connected us with. And I took a list of, this is early on in cost plus drugs, list of the generic drugs that we sold that cost more than $30 that the Mavericks also had purchased. Right. We were able to get that claims data and it turns out we spent $169,000 with that PBM.


One of the big three pbms. And it would have cost us buying from cost plus drugs, $19,000. And that's just a simple example. Then I looked at the insurance side of things, right? We self insure. So there weren't premiums per se, but we were getting charged $17.15 per employee per month just to use the network that they put together for us, you know, providers, hospitals, whatever. And I'm like, all right, other companies that won't charge us to put together these networks, turns out there's a lot of them. And those, that those insurance companies and those pbms are also responsible for determining what claims, what to authorize, and what to deny, right? So for a drug, it may be, all right, this is an expensive drug, but before they'll allow, before they'll say they'll pay for the drug that your doctor wants to prescribe for you, you have to try these three other drugs in what's called step up therapy, right. To see if these other cheaper drugs work, or they're not even necessarily cheaper. They may be being pushed because they're getting a higher rebate. And so I'm like, that's insane. I want my employees to get the medication that the doctors say is best.


And so I didn't realize those were the intricacies of how my health or where my healthcare dollars went. There's not a single CEO who does, because that's not a core competency that they need. And the CFO's, that's not their core competency. And the HR people, they contribute and they understand it some because they're dealing with the claims, but they spend most of their prescription drug related time or healthcare related times trying to get pre authorization is approved. So, you know, your kid breaks their arm or you get sick and you go to the doctor, and before the doctor will do a surgery or do whatever, they have to go to the insurance company and get pre authorized, and then they always say no, right? And then you have to go back and somebody has to argue for you. And that just eats up employee time because, you know, I'm sick or my kids sick, and you're wasting my time. Eats up HR time. The CEO's don't know any of this, right? So what I'm saying is one, the smartest thing to do is to get a healthcare CEO at every company with over, let's say, 500 employees that focuses on all these things.


You'd save a shitload of money. And two, healthcare is your second largest line item expense after payroll. And in some companies it's hundreds, billions of dollars. Right. And you don't understand it and you're letting these guys rip you off. And it's because these big CEO's don't understand it and are getting ripped off that the industry is the way it is. Because that allows trans, the, the opacity to continue.


That's fascinating. So, so that most companies outsource, offload the expertise on the healthcare side when they really should be internally there should.


Be an expert because it's the wellness of your employees and their families and it's. Yeah, but if your employees aren't healthy or if they're worried about their kids, and what is more worrisome and detrimental to the performance of a company, right. A DEI program or having to go to HR and scream and yell and explain and your doctor wasting their time doing the same thing to get authorization for a surgery or a medication. It's insane.


What made you decide to step into this cartel like situation where so much is opaque?


So I got a cold email from a doctor, Alex Oshmyansky, who's my co founder. He's a radiologist by trade and a physicist and a smart motherfucker. And he had a pharmacy that he wanted to create, a compounding pharmacy that would manufacture generic drugs that were in short supply because it happens all the time that things aren't available. I'm like, you're thinking too small. We should do something on a much bigger scale. And then it was right around the time they were sending the pharmacy bro, Martin Shkreli, to jail. And so I was reading up on that, and he increased the price of this drug, Daraprim, I think it was like 7500% or increased a low cost drug to $7,500.01 of those. And Im like, well, if he can just jack up the price of this drug and charge more and get away with it, this has to be an incredibly inefficient market. And so the question is, why is he able to do it? And it was immediately apparent that it was a lack of transparency. And so can we start a company that is fully transparent with our costs, our markup and our selling price and see if it works?


And so we went for it and it took off immediately. I mean, you read a press release from a company saying they were creating a cost advantage program, basically pretending to replicate us. We haven't been in business two years. How insane is that?


Did you get a lot of pressure? I mean, I'm sure they're very good at playing games, like, so cartel type situations, they protect. It feels like healthcare, like, very difficult to get in there.


It does. I mean, and the whole industry is an arbitrage, but we don't work inside the system. We work outside the system. And so we don't work with those biggest companies, the biggest companies with the most dominant control. It's very insulated and very controlled. Like you said, we work outside them, we won't work with them. And so because of that, we don't have access to every medication because they've told a lot of the big brand manufacturers that if they work with us, they'll take them off their formularies or change the rebate structure so that they won't be prescribed as much. Yeah, it is dark, but we'll get past that, right. Because there's a downstream impact of all this in the rebates and the greediness of those big three pbms. When you go to a local pharmacy here in Austin, right, and let's just say you have a friend here, right, that is on Medicare or Medicare advantage, and they go to a local pharmacy and they get a drug that costs $600. Well, an insurance company that $600, the pharmacy first buys that drug for probably that price. -5% so dollar 570. Then there's probably a copay by the patient, and that's probably dollar 20.


So now the net investment that the pharmacy, the local pharmacy has for that brand medication is $550. Where it gets really fucked up is those big three pbms. They're not reimbursing them $550 or more. They're reimbursing them $500 or less. And literally, those community pharmacies are eating that loss, and as a result, they're going out of business left and right. And the most insane part of it is, yes, with corporate employer insurance, that happens. But it happens more with Medicare part D and Medicare Advantage. It happens all the time with those, almost with every script. So the government is complicit in these community pharmacies going out of business. So how does that, how does that connect to cost plus drugs and what we're doing? And the big brands, the big brands know that if all these community pharmacies are going, tens of thousands of them are going to go out of business because of the way this pricing is, they're going to lose a connection between their brand medications and grandma and grandpa and Aunt Sally and all that business is going to get transferred to the big companies and they're going to have even less leverage.


So they're working with us to come up with programs that are very supportive of independent pharmacies and that's going to allow us to break the cartel because it's in their best interest not to allow them to be so vertically integrated that they destroy the entire community and independent pharmacy industry.


Is there other aspects of the healthcare industry that could use this kind of transparency? Revolutionizing.


Yeah. So what we're going to do with our own healthcare, right? We're not going to be in the business of selling healthcare or anything like that. But the things we do for my companies, we're only going to do deals with providers, healthcare providers that allow us to be completely transparent. So that whatever contracts we do, we're going to post them all. Whatever pricing we get, we're going to post them all so that every company who's our size or even bigger will have a template that they can work on which will take it away from the big three insurance companies and the big three pbms. Because now without that transparency, they have to use consultants who are getting paid by those big three, those big companies, and aren't giving them the best response. And so now that transparency will overcome that.


And you're using your, how should I say it, celebrity, your name.


Yeah. To kind of push this only company I've ever put my name on.


It's weird that people aren't getting into the space like, well, you public people, you know, like big, there's not like a big, you know, you look at tech, there's like these like, like CEO's are open and public and public and they're pushing the company and it, they're selling everything. It's like all transparent. But you don't see that in healthcare.


No, because it's a big business. And most people, like, if I was 25, trying to start a company, I'd work in the system because if I can build it up big enough, they would just buy me and I'd make money and buy a sports team, but I don't need that money.


Now let me ask you about AI. You got a little bit of an argument about open source. I think you stepped in between vanilla Khosla and Mark Andreessen. You think AI should be open sourced?


Yeah, for sure.


So like all that discussion I've been having about like Google and so on.


One of the two different things. Meaning that meta is doing open source.




Right. That's a good choice for them. I think that's a smart choice. Right. But it's just a business decision for everybody else. I don't think it should be forced.


Forced, yes. Yeah. And even Google's open, open sourcing some of the models, and because they're all.


That'S a very incestuous industry where all, you know, the people all work together at some level. They read the same papers, they go to the same conferences. It's like the early days of streaming and the Internet, where people use the same technology everywhere. And now they just try different things. And you get one smarter, two, a couple smart people in one company, like anthropic. Right? And they do things a little bit better. And efficient model efficiency gets better. So, you know, it's just a business choice. But I don't, I don't think it should be force, but I think it's a smart business decision.


Open sourcing is a smart business decision. Yeah, it's a tricky one. I mean, Google is pioneering that with Tensorflow in the AI space. That's a tricky decision.


It really, really is. Right, but go back to historically, you know, there was digital computing, which was a dominant player, and they thought, and IBM to a certain extent thought that they wouldn't be subject to a problem with the pc industry. And then all of a sudden, with their mainframes and everything, they had captive software they wouldn't use off the shelf software. So for a digital equipment mainframe or an IBM mainframe, you needed software that was written for it. There was nothing off the shelf. And when the pc industry came along, it was the exact opposite. There was MS DOS and then windows, things that were off the shelf that every pc could use. And that changed how people thought about software. And I think the same thing will happen. It here where it's going to be. As models become more efficient and easier and less expensive to train. I think there'll be more reasons to open source.


Yeah, that's the hope. It creates more competition, a lot of different diversity of approaches in how they're implemented, deployed, what kind of products they create. All of that vinod compared to the danger of that to the Manhattan project.


Yeah, yeah, I'm not buying that.


You don't see the parallels between nuclear weapons and.


No, I think, I'm not an AI fatalist at all. Right. I'm an AI optimist and. But, but it's not to say that there isn't a lot of scary shit that can happen with it.




Militarily, you know, like I said earlier, I'm a big believer that there's going to be millions and tens of, of millions of models and people will take their expertise and either get hired for it and contribute or create their own models and license so that, you know, you see now with this thing called mixture of experts, right, where you connect things and people can take their expertise and will be able to take that expertise and retain it in a way that they want to retain it. So I don't think there's going to be one medical database. I told this to people at a couple of big companies that were doing healthcare initiatives. Branding is so important in the healthcare space for hospitals, the Mayo clinics, the MD Andersons, they're huge brands and I don't think they're just going to give up their expertise to some singular model, you know, and say, okay, you know, whatever expertise we have is available to you in Gemini or chat GPT or, you know, so and so's version of Meta's open source. I just don't, there's just that would be business suicide. And so I think you're going to see each of them have their own models and update them as they go and license them.


Yeah. And, yeah. Make money from the expertise you have to give away. Yeah, yeah. And the expertise evolves and grows and all that kind of stuff and you want to own that growth. What advice would you give to young people? You have an exceptionally successful career, you came from little, made a lot. What advice would you give them?


Love your life. Right? You know, find the things that you can enjoy. Be curious. You don't have to have all the answers. When you're 1215, I get emails from 1315 year old kids, right? What do I do? What do I do, right? You know, I feel like I'm being held back. I'm like 15. You feel like you're being held back, but just be curious because you don't have to have the answers. You don't have to know what you're going to be when you grow up. I'm a hardcore believer that everybody has something that they're really, really, really good at. That could be world class great, every single human being on this planet. And the hard part is just finding what that is and in some places having resources to enable it. But be curious so you can find out what it is. I didn't take a technology, I took one technology class in college, Fortran programming, and I cheated on it, right? I mean, it wasn't until I got a job at Mellon bank and I started learning how to program in this thing called Ramus, the scripting computing language, that I realized, oh, this is interesting to me and I like it.


And that's what got me, you know, a job selling software and going on from there. You just don't know what that's going to be until you go out and experience different things. So for anybody young out there listening, you know, enjoy your life, find things to smile about, be curious, read, watch, you know, expose yourself to as many different ideas as you can because something's going to click at some point. You may be 15, you may be 25, you may be 55, but it can happen.


One thing to mention is sometimes it's difficult or your parents, people around you, might not be conducive or might not be of help in finding the thing you're good at. In fact, like in my own life, you know, the society was such that I don't know if they've helped much at the thing I was good at. I'm still not sure what that is.


But I think interviewing done pretty well for you.


Well, it's not even, it's. There was a thing where I saw the beauty in people. Like I very intensely. So you can call that empathy, all that kind of stuff.


I would call it wokeness, super woke.


I guess you could say. Just super woke, that's me. And, you know, but in the education system I came up in is it was a very hard mathematics, you know, science and so on, and it didn't notice that, whatever that was, and me. But, you know, you have to keep the flame going. You have to try to find your way and see what that's useful. And others around you might not always notice it. So it might take time, so it could be lonely. You can really have to find the strength to believe in yourself.


Oh, for sure. And I'll tell you one quick story. 1992, I went to Moscow State University to teach kids how to start businesses.




Because I had sold micro solutions and I wanted to travel and I took Russian in high school. My risky is like, Nahar show.


Good enough to remember that.


Yeah, right. Yeah. But it was interesting to me and I bring it up because just they didn't know what the word prophet meant. Right. But at the same time, I would go around and meet people and it was this entrepreneurial, like right after the Soviet Union fell, entrepreneurship went through the roof. I mean, a lot of it was mafia driven, but, you know, it was, people found that spark, you know, because I think that that is natural. And so you just never know when and how and when the circumstances will come together for you to be able to take advantage.


That spark is really important to comment on is in Russia and Ukraine. I think the system kind of suppresses that spark somehow because you said you saw the natural entrepreneurship, but there's not the entrepreneurial spirit. Once you grow up in both of the nations I mentioned, there is no.


I believe it, right.


But there's something about the system that kind of, you know, without question, be reasonable, be, you know, be.


There would've been no reason for me to go over to do what I was doing if it was otherwise.


But that's the thing that really can help a country flourish.


You know, it's going to be interesting with Ukraine if they're able to survive this, right? Because as horrific as it is, you know, as you saw across Europe after World War Two, the rebuilding creates opportunities.


Rebuilding creates opportunities. But, you know, first the war has to end.


How that ends, I don't know either.


Is a really complex path. What gives you hope about the future of humanity?


Just looking in my kids eyes, just, you know, talking to them and seeing their spirit, their friends spirit, and obviously we're blessed as can be. Right? And it's not the same for every kid. But I do, you know, I get emails that I respond, don't respond to all of them, but from 13 1415 year old kids around the world, you know, because shark tank shown everywhere, asking me business questions. And it's just like they took the time, they were that curious and that interested. And I see it when I talk to schools, you know, when I go to different groups, that spark in kids eyes that there's something bigger and better and exciting out there. And that's not to say there's not fear, you know, climate and any other number of things, but that's the beauty of kids. And, and I think Gen Z really embodies that. And to me, that's just really exciting.


They dream. They dream big. They see the opportunity for making the world better. It's cool. It's cool to see young people and in their eyes that dream that. And now I could be the one to do it too, which is, it's.


Funny because when I go talk to like, elementary school kids, right, one of the things I do, I said, okay, let's look around. You see that light there? One day that light didn't exist. Then somebody had the idea. Then somebody created a product of it. And now your school bought that. You see that chair? Chairs didn't always look like that. Somebody had that idea, why not you? So when you walk out and what I make them do, ask yourself, why not me? Why can't I be the one to change the world?


Thank you. For that beautiful, hopeful message. And thank you for talking today mark, your fun to follow. I'm a big fan of yours, but you're also an important person in this world. I really appreciate everything you do.


Well, I appreciate it. Thanks for saying that Lex, and keep on doing what you're doing. This was great. I really enjoyed this.


Thanks for listening to this conversation with Mark Cuban. To support this podcast, please check out our sponsors in the description. And now let me leave you with some words from Oscar Wilde. Imagination was given to man to compensate him for what he is not and a sense of humor was provided to console him for what he is. Thank you for listening and hope to see you next time.