"When you're bored, you open up Snapchat. You can just process through and you kill 20 minutes just going through everybody else's snaps," Cuban said Sunday, speaking at the 2017 edition of the South by Southwest conference in Austin. "When it comes to content, my rule of thumb is 'How are people killing time?' because that's where you'll find the most content being consumed."
Cuban's comments came after he was asked about the changing ways that people are consuming content. Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others offer consumers new content alternatives to TV, but no one gives consumers as much content with as little friction as Snap, the Shark Tank investor said before a crowd of thousands.
"The path with least resistance, the short distance right now is Snapchat," Cuban said.
Cuban, who criticized Snapchat's privacy practices in early 2016, also praised the company for choosing to go public now rather than waiting and continuing to raise funding from private markets, as many venture capital-funded tech firms in recent years have.
"I'm a believer that if you can go public, you do go public," Cuban said. "Why? Because it gives liquidity to your employees, to your investors but it also gives you a stock that's liquid to make acquisitions, to invest, to raise more money."
By going public now, Snap can continue to raise the profile of its stock and generate goodwill among investors by kicking off its run in the public market while the company is still going through a period of hypergrowth, Cuban explained. Other companies -- notably Uber and Airbnb -- that have stayed private to avoid the headache of dealing with stockholders will have a tougher time keeping Wall Street happy when they finally go public, the Dallas Mavericks owner told the crowd.
"When you're already large, it's hard to accelerate your growth," Cuban said. "When you're small, you may not raise as much when you go public, your market cap might not be as high as it may be if you waited, but you'll get paid for that fast growth and that's a unique opportunity."
Cuban's comments came during a panel with Adam Lyons, the CEO and founder of Zebra, an Austin startup of which Cuban is an investor. Lyons is an Inc. 2015 30 Under 30 entrepreneur. The topic at hand was whether the government was disrupting disruption, but the conversation covered a plethora of topics, ranging from the impact of artificial intelligence to President Trump and the 2020 election.
Cuban riffed on health care (he thinks it should be a constitutional right), regulations (he supports regulations that protect everyone but dislikes regulations that protect individuals), and which majors students should be picking (philosophy, because as A.I. and automation takeover, critical thinking skills will only become more valuable). Altogether, it sounded a bit like a campaign platform. Asked if he has plans to run for president anytime soon, Cuban did not dismiss the idea.
"I have a lot of time to decide," Cuban said. "We'll see what happens."