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Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to working class immigrants. He has described himself as a goofy-looking kid with funny teeth and large glasses who dreamed of becoming a pro basketball or baseball player. When he was 12, he started his first business selling garbage bags door-to-door. During his teenage years, he sold powdered milk, and even imported newspapers from Cleveland during a newspaper strike in Pittsburgh. After graduating from Indiana University in 1981, Cuban moved to Dallas. Without any formal computer training whatsoever, he started MicroSolutions, a computer consulting business. In 1990 he sold the company to CompuServe and became a multi-millionaire. In 1994, Cuban and friend Todd Wagner wanted to listen to Indiana Hoosiers basketball game broadcasts, but were unable to since they were hundreds of miles away in Dallas. After realizing that it could be accomplished over the Internet and that it might also be a great business venture, they invested $3,000 and went to work building AudioNet. The service enabled people to listen to radio broadcasts from across the country through the internet. In the late 1990s, the service grew in popularity and was renamed Broadcast.com. In 1999, Yahoo.com acquired Broadcast.com for $6 billion worth of stock and Cuban became a billionaire.

In 2000, Cuban bought the Dallas Mavericks franchise, considered at the time as one of the worst teams in the NBA. He focused on making games a total entertainment experience for the fans. He became the first owner to encourage fan interaction through email which he personally responds to. Based on fan suggestions, he has made several innovative changes at Mavericks games such as a new three-sided shot clock which allows line-of-sight from anywhere in the arena. An avid fan himself, Cuban can often be seen passionately cheering on the Mavericks right next to the players. The Mavericks record has steadily improved since 2000, finishing in the first round of the NBA playoffs in the 2003-04 season. Mark Cuban also runs HDNet, an all high-definition television network. He lives in Dallas with his wife and their baby daughter.


Mark Cuban calls on Bush to cancel parties

Mark Cuban wants President Bush to downsize his inaugural ball and send the $40 million or so in savings to tsunami victims in Asia.

The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks is urging readers of his Web log ask contact politicians to reset their priorities.

"Mr. President, it's time to show that leadership. It's time to set an example," wrote Cuban. "Cancel all but the most basic inauguration requirements."

Cuban did not immediately respond to e-mails by The Associated Press.

Inaugural events — paid for by private donations and not public funds — include black-tie balls, a parade and star-powered events.

"Instead of shaking hands all night and being driven from party to party, send them a thank you card letting them know that the corporate and individual donations that had been earmarked for fun was now going to help more people than they could ever imagine," Cuban wrote.

Cuban, whose past Web log entries have included his desire to start a hedge fund for professional gamblers, also criticized Congress for frivolous expenditures and chastised everyone involved with elaborate events for the Jan. 20 inaugural.

NBA owner Mark Cuban proposes Hedge Fund that wages on sports

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban apparently gets as disgusted with the stock market as he does with NBA officials.

He considers stock investing not much more than gambling -- a trip to Vegas, as he calls it. For those inclined to wager, he says he has a better idea. Mr. Cuban plans to open a hedge fund that bets on sporting events. Professional gamblers will manage the fund, and he says investors will be rewarded. In other words, he's serious about this.

"The goal of the fund would be to make money and to prove that the current equity markets are more Ponzi scheme than efficient markets," Mr. Cuban said in an e-mail response to questions. "There is far more hypocrisy in equity markets than there is in non-traditional markets and that impacts those markets' ability to be fair."

Over the weekend, Mr. Cuban posted a letter to readers of his blog titled "My New Hedge Fund." It begins: "I've decided to start a new hedge fund. However, this hedge fund won't invest in stocks or bonds. It's going to be a fund that only places bets -- a gambling hedge fund." The letter rails against the unfairness of stock investing and how much more information gamblers have about the local sports team than investors do about a company. The media inspect every nook and cranny of the local sports teams, he says, and release much more information than publicly traded companies.

"In sports, when someone does something wrong, they tell you the next day. If someone is suspended, you know it; if someone is hurt, they report it and do a better job of policing that than any industry watch group," he writes.

State and federal regulators, as well as officials with the National Basketball Association, declined to comment on Mr. Cuban's plans. However, Denise Crawford, commissioner of the Texas State Securities Board, said state regulators conduct background checks on hedge fund advisers. They also have to pass a state examination testing their knowledge of investment advisory services.

Mr. Cuban did not offer many details about the venture. He does not specify when the fund will be up and running, which sports the fund will bet on or what it will be called. He does say he won't pick the teams. "It won't be me figuring out what bets to place, or what games to play. I will find the best and the brightest [gamblers] with a confirmable track record and hire them," he said.

Ed Easterling, president of Crestmont Research in Dallas and an expert on hedge funds, said he finds the idea intriguing. He assumes the fund wouldn't place bets on the Dallas Mavericks basketball team since Mr. Cuban owns the franchise, but everything else would be fair game.

"He could very well be successful," Mr. Easterling said. "I know he will have a deep market to invest in because there are a lot of sports to bet on."

In starting a hedge fund, Mr. Cuban may find himself in a whole new ballgame. For a long time, hedge funds were lightly regulated on the theory that people participating in them were sophisticated investors and able to take care of themselves. But in recent years, there has been an explosion of hedge funds and the SEC has adopted more stringent rules.

Basically, if Mr. Cuban's fund raises more than $30 million in assets and has at least 15 investors, the advisers of the fund will have to register with the SEC by February 2006. This means that the advisers would have to tell the SEC their names, addresses and how much money they manage. The SEC also would conduct inspections, and the hedge fund would have to name chief compliance officers.

Presumably, Mr. Cuban would set up his fund similarly to other hedge funds, meaning it would be open only to so-called accredited investors. Typically, they have at least US$1 million in assets. So while a hedge fund run by professional gamblers may sound far-fetched, the industry has a long history of engaging in exotic trading strategies.

In this case, though, it seems as though Mr. Cuban is simply trying to make a point about the current state of the stock market. He says as much on the blog: "By showing that gambling in the traditional sense is less of a gamble than gambling in the stock market, traditional markets will hopefully have to change to the benefit of investors."

Mark Cuban and Seamus Blackley to Keynote First Annual Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference & Awards

HDNet Chairman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Xbox co-creator Seamus Blackley will be the keynote speakers for the first annual Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference & Awards. The two-day event will bring together the biggest names in the entertainment and technology industries. It will be held November 4-5 at the Tom Bradley International Center and the Grand Horizon Ballroom at UCLA's Covel Center.

Mark Cuban, who in 1999 sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo, is the outspoken owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban chairs HDNet, which operates two 24/7 all-high definition networks. HDNet is the first national television network broadcasting all of its programming in 1080i HD, the highest-quality format of high-definition television (HDTV). Cuban's HDNet will create programming from footage of the Digital Entertainment Conference & Awards to be broadcast on this network. Mark Cuban is also a partner in 2929 Entertainment, an entertainment holding and production company, and has found time to head up and star in his own reality series, "The Benefactor," which airs on ABC.

Seamus Blackley is one of the founding fathers of Microsoft's Xbox game platform. After the wildly successful launch of Xbox in 1999, Blackley left Microsoft to launch Capital Entertainment Group (CEG), a game production company that aimed to produce and finance games in partnership with game developers and publishers. Currently, Blackley is an agent with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), where he helps guide and execute CAA's strategy for representing video game developers. "Mark and Seamus are both proven digital entrepreneurs who are clear choices to keynote our Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference & Awards," commented John Kilcullen, President and Publisher of Billboard. "This event will gather the greatest thinkers, innovators and success stories in the digital entertainment industry and these keynotes will highlight what is shaping up to be a terrific event."

Approximately 70 other industry leaders will be speaking at the first annual Billboard Digital Entertainment Conference & Awards. The two-day event and awards show will focus on innovation, entrepreneurship, brand development in digital entertainment and technology issues impacting the creative and business communities. A featured November 4th panel, "A View From The Top," will focus on corporate strategy and the future of digital entertainment. The speakers for this panel include Chris Gorog, Chairman & CEO of Roxio/Napster, Dennis Mudd, Chairman & CEO of MusicMatch, Bill Wilson, SVP & GM, of AOL Entertainment, America Online, Inc., Richard Wolpert, Chief Strategy Officer of Real Networks, and Phil Wiser, CTO of Sony Corporation of America.

Mark Cuban for President?

A new poll shows Internet billionaire and “Benefactor” star Mark Cuban leading the U.S. Presidential race by 59%! Online pollster powerfeedback.com asked 11,000 website visitors to choose among Internet billionaire and “Benefactor” star Mark Cuban, real estate mogul and “Apprentice” star Donald Trump, ebay CEO Meg Whitman, or the “Google guys” Serjey Brin and Larry Page. Mark Cuban won by a landslide with 59% percent of the vote. The Google guys got 29% while Meg Whitman and Donald Trump tied for last place at 6%. According to powerfeedback CEO and founder Scott Gingold, “The 11,000 responses we got is a much higher sample than most nationally published presidential surveys, but this was not a scientific sample. It’s all in fun, but as we see in politics, surveys are serious business.”

Cuban became a billionaire when he sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo. Today he owns the Dallas Mavericks, and launched the high-definition TV startup HDNet. Despite his political appeal, Cuban writes on his blog he hates politics and has a “zero political agenda.”


Mark Cuban's reality TV show ''The Benefactor''

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's The Benefactor has been further downsized by ABC, almost assuredly killing any possibilities of a sequel to the Dallas-based reality series.
An announced eight-episode run, still in ABC's plans at the start of the week, is now reduced to six episodes.. "I have nothing but great things to say about ABC," Mr. Cuban said via e-mail Wednesday. "I still love the show and the way it turned out. Viewers won't see everything we shot, but it still turned out great and will be incredibly entertaining."

On the finale, Mr. Cuban will give one of two remaining contestants $1 million after they have 60 seconds to "explain why he should pick them," ABC said in a statement scheduled to be released nationally today. The network also promised "a surprising twist." "There is always a chance of a sequel," Mr. Cuban said, although the first four episodes of the show averaged just 4.7 million viewers to rank 81st in the season-to-date ratings and last among all ABC shows, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The Benefactor did win its time slot three out of four times in Dallas-Fort Worth, where it airs from 7 to 8 p.m. on WFAA-TV (Channel 8). Mr. Cuban said the show was hampered nationally by pre-emptions in several markets and delayed telecasts on the West Coast, where Monday Night Football precedes it instead of vice versa. "I think we would have done better in a time slot that had us playing [at the same time] in every major market ... but we knew the challenge going in," Mr. Cuban said.


Broadcast.com billionaire Mark Cuban has ideas to spare

Cuban, who sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion and is now president of HDNet, a provider of high-definition TV programming, rattled off a trio of ideas he said were potentially patentable, though he was not personally inclined to file the applications.

"These are businesses I would be looking at starting and software I would look at writing if I were so inclined," Cuban wrote Sunday in his blog. "Instead, I decided to throw them out--free for all...If I were a patent terrorist like some, I could probably even patent these ideas."

Cuban's ideas--like others that have materialized on his Web log--center around the emerging industry for personal video recorders (PVRs), such as TiVo, and video on demand (VOD). VOD is not as widely available as PVRs are, but the idea has shown some recent signs of life with a movies-on-demand deal between TiVo and Netflix, and with the VOD service--offering mostly obscure programming--of Akimbo.

Cuban's first idea is a software program that takes advantage of the time TiVo subscribers spend watching their commercials fast-forward. Where subscribers now sit glued to the blur of fast-forwarding frames, Cuban suggests displaying a static advertisement. A successful implementation of technology along those lines would come as a balm to broadcast advertisers frightened by the prospect that PVRs are eroding their audience. Already, TiVo has proposed interactive advertising features that would help compensate for the fast-forwarding phenomenon Broadcast.com billionaire Mark Cuban has ideas to spare, so he's posted them to his blog.

Cuban, who sold Broadcast.com to Yahoo for $5.7 billion and is now president of HDNet, a provider of high-definition TV programming, rattled off a trio of ideas he said were potentially patentable, though he was not personally inclined to file the applications. "These are businesses I would be looking at starting and software I would look at writing if I were so inclined," Cuban wrote Sunday in his blog. "Instead, I decided to throw them out--free for all...If I were a patent terrorist like some, I could probably even patent these ideas."


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