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Why Mark Cuban Hates Public Speaking, Phone Calls--and Lunches

The Dallas Mavericks' owner explains the routines - or lack thereof - behind his success as a serial entrepreneur.

By now you’ve likely heard, read, or watched Mark Cuban’s provocative comments at Inc.’s GrowCo conference last month, when the Dallas Mavericks’ owner launched a national debate over racism and acknowledging internal prejudices.

But did you know how much he hates doing lunch?

Cuban, never short on opinions and generous with his time at the conference, offered some insight there into the routines--or lack thereof--behind his success as a serial entrepreneur. Besides dismissing business lunches and phone calls as a "waste of time," the Shark Tank investor touted the time-management benefits of his latest venture, the app Cyber Dust, which allows people to send disappearing text messages. Cuban also weighed in on how much he dislikes high-frequency trading, why he enjoys Twitter battles and why he’ll never be a politician.

Here are condensed and edited excerpts from my Q&A with Cuban on the sidelines of Inc.’s GrowCo:

What’s your best advice for public speaking?

Don’t speak--engage. I hate giving speeches. I’ll either do a sit-down or a 100 percent Q&A. You’ve got to make sure you’re hitting the points the audience wants.

I’m not a politician--I will never be a politician. I’ve given bad, bad speeches where I’ve lost my train of thought, because I’ve lost the audience.

What is your most memorable re-tweet?

Well, I’ve had interesting Twitter battles. Kobe Bryant and amnesty; Donald Trump, because he’s so much fun to pick on. I’ve gotten fined by the NBA--it was the fastest way to increase my Twitter followers. I like to engage on Twitter… sometimes because it’s just a fun place to fuck with people.

What's your favorite restaurant for a meeting?

I’m not big on "Let’s go eat lunch" meetings. The only way you’re going to get me for a meeting is if you’re writing me a check. Same with phone calls--they’re a waste of time.

What's the first thing you do every morning?

Kiss my kids, check my email…which I’m trying to reduce by using apps like Cyber Dust.

What's your favorite book right now?

The Michael Lewis book on high-frequency trading [Flash Boys]. I’m a big opponent of high-frequency trading--I’m not a fan at all.

What helps you get out of a creativity rut?

Playing basketball.

What non-tech tool makes you more productive?

My contacts. My heated toilet seat.

Which fictional character most inspires you?

Howard Roark [of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead].

What's your secret hobby?

I used to collect stamps, but I don’t anymore. Playing video games with my 4-year-old.

Mark Cuban Live From Growco 2014

IMAGE: Lonnie C. Major
Last updated: Jun 4, 2014

MARIA ASPAN | Staff Writer | Senior Editor

Maria Aspan is a senior editor at Inc. magazine.

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