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.

Pacers Offer Ticket Deals for Chamber Members

Are you ready for some basketball? The Indiana Pacers are — tipping off the 2010-2011 home season on Saturday against Philadelphia (after road games in San Antonio and Charlotte).

The Pacers are pledging to Protect the Promise on the court. Off the court, the front office is offering two special ticket packages for Indiana Chamber members. Both will allow you to reward employees/vendors/customers/etc. with group outings, while also seeing one of the two spotlight teams (the LeBron James-led Miami Heat or the defending champion L.A. Lakers) heading into the season.

Below are the details. Contact Dionna Widder at 317-917-3079 to take advantage of the opportunity.

  • Pacers Tip-Off Package ($1,000): 50 balcony tickets to the October 30 home opener against Philadelphia; 4 lower level tickets to the home opener; 2 Krieg DeVault Club Level tickets to the February 15 game against the Miami Heat; and 20 balcony tickets to a "value game" with a Fan Experience (Hi-5 players, presentation or cutting down the nets)
  • Pacers Pride Package ($500): 25 balcony tickets to the home opener; 2 lower level tickets to the home opener; and two Krieg DeVault Club Level tickets to the December 15 game against the Los Angeles Lakers

Luntz: Pacers Image Turnaround One of a Kind

Like him or not, Frank Luntz is known nationally by many in the political arena as a top pollster. One of his most recent polls, however, focuses instead on the basketball arena, and shows very encouraging results for the Indiana Pacers. Luntz recently spoke to Gerry Dick of Inside INdiana Business about the rebuilding of the team’s image, stating that 90% of fans polled believe the team has kept its promise to "clean up its act." He also offered that he’d never seen a turnaround of that magnitude in professional sports before.

Watch the video 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.

Pacer Proud Again: Draft/Trade Overhaul Could Mean More than Victories

Like most of you, I’ve been disappointed with the Pacers’ off the court troubles in recent years. Larry Legend must be a believer in Barack Obama’s slogan of "change," because that is what the Pacers are trying to do.
The Pacers are important to downtown Indianapolis’ economy (not to mention state pride). Downtown business booms on Sundays when the Colts play well and they have played well consistently for nearly 10 years. Winning creates a great trickle down effect — more hotel rooms are reserved, more parking garages are full, more money being spent at restaurants and more dollars being spent at the Circle Centre Mall. This all equals more tax dollars, as well. The Pacers’ optimism of winning again and employing good characters should improve their low attendance numbers and boost business downtown on game nights. 
Their roster moves in the last two days will make me give them another shot. They likely won’t hold up the NBA Finals trophy at the end of next season, but they will be in the mix for the playoffs and they will represent our state with better citizens. Let’s get behind them like we did when "Boom Baby!" was said more often than "going green."  Entertain your clients at one of their suites. Take your kids out for a quick drive around Lucas Oil Stadium, a bite to eat downtown and a Pacers game. 

I’ll be back in the stands at Conseco Fieldhouse, one of the greatest athletic facilities in the country. I hope you will do the same.