IU Grad, Entrepreneur Earns Coveted Championship Ring

Many of today’s business success stories started with an Indiana University business education. But very few grads can claim to be as interesting — and controversial — as Mark Cuban.

Cuban started his career by creating a system integrating/software reselling company, and then went on to co-found AudioNet — a company that webcasted college sports. AudioNet eventually became Broadcast.com, which was sold to Yahoo! for nearly $6 billion in stock. And thus, a mogul was born.

In 2000, Cuban purchased a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise. (He purchased the stake from H. Ross Perot, Jr., son of the presidential candidate, although the relationship between the two hasn’t exactly been cozy.)

The Mavericks were a rather hapless franchise since their inception before Cuban took over. And despite his reputation as being a troublemaker in the eyes of league officials — racking up millions in fines for criticism of referees, players and NBA policies over the years — Cuban devoted a great deal of resources and energy to building a winning franchise.

That effort came to fruition Sunday night as the Mavericks ousted the much-maligned Miami Heat on their home court to win the 2011 NBA Championship. Like him or not, he’s an interesting character with strong Indiana ties. (Although he’s not the only Maverick with Hoosier ties, as gritty scrapper Brian Cardinal is a Purdue legend and their head coach, Rick Carlisle, once held the same position for the Indiana Pacers.) The Mavericks have now made the playoffs 11 straight years, reached two NBA Finals and earned one title.

And if you’d like to read Cuban’s unique perspectives on varying topics — ranging from business advice to telecommunications law to God knows what else — check out his blog.

Mark Cuban vs. Sen. Franken on Internet Bandwidth

IU grad and Dallas Mavericks owner/billionaire Mark Cuban recently took Sen. Al Franken (Minnesota) to task on his blog regarding Franken’s contention that if a pending $30 billion deal between NBC and Comcast goes through, then they must agree to post their TV shows online so everyone has access — and Franken seems to be pushing for caps on user bandwidth.

Some of this seems a little "inside baseball" (man, I loathe that phrase… how ’bout "inside ice dancing" in honor of the Winter Olympics?), but I’m sure our savvy readers will glean more from it than I. Anyway, it’s a relevant and interesting topic, and in his usual calm, sober way, Cuban drops the hammer on the former NBC employee. An excerpt:

According to the LA Times, “In written questions to Comcast and NBC Universal regarding their $30-billion proposed marriage, Sen. Franken — who has been one of the harshest critics of the deal — wants Comcast and NBC Universal to promise that it will put all its television shows online. He also wants assurances that shows that the companies put online be made available to every one and not just people who get their Internet service through Comcast.”

Also in the Times article: “As Franken notes in his questions to the two companies, “The Internet is the future of the media business.”"

Lets start with the first request that all NBC Universal/Comcast shows should be delivered over the internet.  Someone needs to explain to Sen. Franken that TV shows delivered over the internet consume bandwidth. A lot of bandwidth.  There are  reasons why Youtube limits the size of files that users can upload to it. The first is that video is the ultimate bandwidth pig.  The 2nd  reason is that bandwidth is not unlimited or elastic.  The more bandwidth that is consumed, the more bandwidth that must be added to maintain existing levels of service. That costs a lot of money.   Think that might push up internet rates to consumers ?

I get that no one really cares if Comcast has to spend money on capital improvements to add bandwidth to the home.  They should. Its pretty damn stupid to push consumption in a direction that will raise internet rates  to receive the same content for which there is already a phenomenal digital network in place to deliver that content.

Think about it for a minute Senator Franken. Comcast, and every large TV Provider has a digital network in place that can and does deliver gigabits of tv content perfectly,  every second of every day, to any TV set in any  home that is connected to their network. It works. Well.  What you are asking Sen Franken, is that Comcast duplicate the delivery of theirs and NBCUniversals shows on a network, the internet,  that is not, and has never been designed to handle the delivery of huge volumes of video and tv shows.

What you are forcing them to do is not only going to impact Comcast, its going to push ANY internet provider  on which NBCUniversal/Comcast owned shows are delivered to deal with the increased bandwidth needs your request requires. Increased bandwidth needs to the home means more money spent on infrastructure needed to support that delivery, which in turn is going to mean  HIGHER INTERNET RATES and/or caps on internet bandwidth consumption for consumers .   Did you even think through what would happen if NBCUniversal/Comcast was required to simulcast  the Olympics over the internet ?

What do you think? Who’s right here?

Mark Cuban School of Business – Stimulus 101

Controversial billionaire/Dallas Mavericks owner and Indiana University graduate Mark Cuban has decided to jumpstart the economy himself. Based upon his contention that entrepreneurs will be the keys to America rising above its economic doldrums, he’s offering to fund some worthwhile ideas. Will your idea make the cut?:

You must post your business plan here on my blog where I expect other people can and will comment on it. I also expect that other people will steal the idea and use it elsewhere. That is the idea. Call this an open source funding environment.

If its a good idea and worth funding, we want it replicated elsewhere. The idea is not just to help you, but to figure out how to help the economy through hard work and ingenuity. If you come up with the idea and get funding, you have a head start. If you execute better than others, you could possibly make money at it. As you will see from the rules below, these are going to be businesses that are mostly driven by sweat equity.

I will invest money in businesses presented here on this blog. No minimum, no maximum, but a very specific set of rules. Here they are:

1. It can be an existing business or a start up.
2. It can not be a business that generates any revenue from advertising. Why ? Because I want this to be a business where you sell something and get paid for it. Thats the only way to get and stay profitable in such a short period of time.
3. It MUST BE CASH FLOW BREAK EVEN within 60 days
4. It must be profitable within 90 days.
5. Funding will be on a monthly basis. If you dont make your numbers, the funding stops
6. You must demonstrate as part of your plan that you sell your product or service for more than what it costs you to produce, fully encumbered
7. Everyone must work. The organization is completely flat. There are no employees reporting to managers. There is the founder/owners and everyone else
8.  You must post your business plan here, or you can post it on slideshare.com , scribd.com or google docs, all completely public for anyone to see and/or download
9. I make no promises that if your business is profitable, that I will invest more money. Once you get the initial funding you are on your own
10. I will make no promises that I will be available to offer help. If I want to , I will. If not, I wont.
11. If you do get money, it goes into a bank that I specify, and I have the ability to watch the funds flow and the opportunity to require that I cosign any outflows.
12. In your business plan , make sure to specify how much equity I will receive or how I will get a return on my money.
13. No mult-level marketing programs (added 2/10/09 1pm)

No word yet if automatic funding will be offered to those willing to openly criticize NBA Commish David Stern.