Five Questions For … Dallas Entrepreneur & Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban

Xconomy Texas — 

Dallas—Among the outsized personalities of Texas innovators, Mark Cuban stands out.

The billionaire entrepreneur and investor owns the Dallas Mavericks professional basketball team, appears on the “Shark Tank” TV show, and now, perhaps, is mulling adding the Oval Office to his resume?

Cuban, who made his fortune in 1999 when he sold his company to Yahoo for $5.7 billion, hasn’t forgotten what it took to get to this point. He speaks frequently in media interviews of his frugal habits as a 20-something working on building his businesses. It’s an ethos he encourages others to pursue.

When asked by The Dallas Morning News what advice he would offer Powerball lottery winners, he offered blocking-and-tackling counsel such as hiring a tax attorney and heavily scrutinizing money requests from friends and family.

He also stressed keeping the newfound riches in stride, he said. “If you weren’t happy yesterday, you won’t be happy tomorrow. It’s money. It’s not happiness,” he said. “If you were happy yesterday, you are going to be a lot happier tomorrow. It’s money. Life gets easier when you don’t have to worry about the bills.”

In this week’s “Five Questions For … ,” Cuban tells Xconomy about how his parents influenced him, what he tells young people who are starting out their adult lives, and what he wanted to be when he grew up. Here is a lightly edited transcript of our conversation, which was conducted via e-mail.

Xconomy: What’s the worst business decision you’ve ever made, and what did you learn from it?

Mark Cuban: There are so many, I can’t even begin to pick the worst. I learn more from the little experiments and challenges I undertake every day. … The big monumental events don’t teach you as much as the many daily decisions we make.

X: What career advice do you give to new college graduates?

MC: You don’t have to have all the answers when you graduate. Don’t stress. Try different things. Get a job that you can learn from to pay the bills and have fun.

X: What did you want to be when you were a kid?

MC: Rich.

X: Tell me about your early influences.

MC: My dad was my biggest influence. He did upholstery on cars and was physically exhausted after every day. He pushed me to challenge myself, and I’ve been doing that as long as I can remember.

X: Where do you think your drive comes from?

MC: Probably my mom more than my dad. My mom was the one that challenged me to learn more and [told me] that there was something bigger out there for me.