Entrepreneur Mark Cuban spoke about two of his favorite areas of tech at the Launch Festival today in San Francisco.
If you ask Mark Cuban what the most exciting and promising technologies are, you're going to get a very personal answer.
"My personal experience is I had to fight the government for eight years, and prior to me kicking their ass, I learned a lesson," Cuban said, alluding to his recent insider trading trial. The investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks spoke candidly today in San Francisco at the Launch Festival, an annual event that draws thousands of attendees.
That lesson he mentioned? An individual has no control over the context of his or her digital remarks. So for Cuban, the most interesting technologies right now are the ones either shrink, or delete, his digital footprint.
In 2008, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accused Cuban of insider trading, according to Reuters. In October, he was tried and then acquitted of the charges.
When building their case, Cuban claimed that investigators looked at everything from his emails to text messages for evidence. "They don't agree with your context," he said. "They tell you what they think your context is, and you can't win."
So Cuban recently worked with Mention Mobile to create an app called Cyber Dust. The app lets users send disappearing texts and multimedia.
"Anything that can be misconstrued in any way, shape or form, I'm going to do it on Cyber Dust," Cuban said. "There's a digital footprint for everything, and it becomes harder [to own] the playbook of our lives on Facebook or on email or texts. It's hard to have context that's right."
Future of Medicine
During his talk, Cuban also mentioned one other area of technology that he has his eye on right now: personalized medicine. Specifically, it's digital trackers for which he has high hopes.
"Up until the last nine years, eight and a half years, we lived in a world where you put data in to get data out," Cuban said. However, the burden was on the user to put smart data in order to get smart information out. Today, we can leave that up to the technology.
"I think we're coming to a scenario where rather than us having to know what to put in and what's smart to get a response, there are sensors that are tracking things and then giving us information," Cuban said, pointing to fitness tracker Fitbit as a simple example.
Footnotes From a Shark
Cuban is also well-known for his role as a "shark" on the business-themed reality television show Shark Tank. Though he was originally brought on to make an appearance on just three episodes, he stayed. And he doesn't seem to want to leave any time soon.
"What's amazing to me is that it is now the number one show on television watched by families," Cuban said, adding that both parents and kids come up to him to talk about the show. Some say their children are thinking about starting a company, or that their 11-year-old understands valuations.
"Just the whole idea of reinforcing the fact that the American Dream is alive and well. That makes me feel good. That's why I do the show," Cuban said.
LAURA MONTINI is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco. @lmmontini