Mark Cuban made headlines this week with the unflinchingly honest remarks he made at Inc.'s 17th annual GrowCo conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The outspoken entrepreneur gave his opinion on everything from whether Donald Sterling should be banned from the NBA to how to fix the economy.
On stage before a packed audience of entrepreneurs, Inc. President and Editor-in-Chief Eric Schurenberg asked Cuban the instantly intoxicating question: What would you change if you were in charge?
Naturally, Cuban jumped on the question. (He's obviously been thinking about this!) From abolishing patents to reforming the NBA, here's how the world would look if Cuban was King:
Eliminate software patents. "Patent law right now holds us back in every which way shape and form," said Cuban, who added that he was once sued over a film distribution technique his company developed after someone else decided to file a patent for the technique. "In software, there's no place for it."
Change the culture of professional sports. When Cuban purchased the Dallas Mavericks in 2000, he immediately instituted a new rule: "If you mention our win or loss record, you're fired." Cuban made it clear that even though he owned a NBA team, he wasn't in the business of basketball--he was in the business of entertainment. "The one thing you can't control in sports is which games you're going to win and which games you're going to lose," he said. "What I could control was the experience fans have."
Put a $10,000 cap on student loans. The current student debt crisis, Cuban argued, is hurting the economy more than anything else. It's taking away the spending power of college graduates and decreasing overall consumption. He blamed skyrocketing college tuition costs on the availability of student loans. "It's easy to get that loan because the government guarantees it," he said. "And because it's easy for you to take out a loan, it's easy for the colleges to ask for more, because then the potential students just take out bigger loans." The move might put some schools out of business, Cuban admitted, but the universities that survived would come back smarter and more efficient. "Until you fix the student loan bubble and the tuition bubble, we don't have a chance," he said.
Encourage organizational resilience. When discussing the upcoming vote to ban Sterling from the NBA for making racist remarks, Cuban stopped short of indicating how he'd vote. But, overall, he described the ban as a "slippery slope" and admitted that he himself is bigoted in some ways. After he asserted that everyone is prejudiced in some way or another, he argued that it was impossible to keep "stupid" out of an organization, as there was no law against it. "People are going to be stupid and make mistakes," said Cuban. Ok, so this point isn't totally in keeping with the "how Cuban would change the world" rubric, but overhauling people's perceptions would surely be a top priority.