If Mark Cuban Were a Company He'd Be Google

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2008-09-11 Print this article Print

On my flight home from the TechCrunch50 show in San Francisco to the right coast Wednesday, I racked my brain about how I might use the content from Jason Calacanis' entertaining interview with Mark Cuban.

Read the notes from TechCrunch here. The content doesn't really fit for my audience, but then it hit me: If Mark Cuban were a company, he'd be Google.

Cuban is a Swiss army knife entrepreneur who has his fingers in movies, movie theaters, HDTV and other stuff, including owning the Dallas Mavericks, which is so fitting because he is something of a maverick with his controversial comments.

Check out this "Dairy Queen" gaffe from 2002 before he started editing himself a touch. Indeed, during the TC50 chat, he started to say he wouldn't hire someone as old as himself, but checked his comment, recognizing that offending ageism.

Cuban entertains me, but other people view him as an arrogant, elitist, ignorant clown. I mean, Calacanis asked Cuban, If he could change something, what would it be? Cuban said: "When I die, I want to come back as me" and "I've got F-U money."

Honestly, who says things like that? Guys like Mark Cuban do, but you know what? I believe he means the first zinger and, with a net worth north of $2 billion, the second dart is undeniably true.

Like Cuban, Google has its fingers in lots of pies, too, and gambles. The company bought the popular but unprofitable YouTube, adding millions of people to it audience base.

YouTube's still not making big money yet, but it will once Google nails video ads. And yes, Google's dominance in search and its annual $17 billion in online ad sales have lent it an air of arrogance, too.

Do you think Sergey Brin and Larry Page would have conceived of challenging Microsoft in the browser market six, seven years ago? No: Google's search strength has enabled it to make bold moves, such as conceiving the Chrome Web browser. Chrome is like any other gamble Cuban makes.

Peep this. Cuban created HD.Net in 2001 when everyone said HDTV wouldn't take off. Now the company is in the black, and he is laughing at the naysayers.

Google bid on 700MHz spectrum and was jeered by some pundits when it lost; the company subsequently proved the bid was actually a win, and it helped Google accomplish two things: get the FCC to open up mobile device access and force Verizon to pay more for the spectrum. Genius.

You get the idea. There are a ton of parallels. Cuban's shrewd, sage business moves resemble the bold, aggressive path Google is on.

The real question is: When will hubris catch up to Cuban and Google?

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