Mark Cuban’s Lessons for Revolutionaries

    March 29, 2006

Regulars here know that I am a huge Mark Cuban fan.

After I scanned all the chatter about Strumpette and his/her ridiculous and faceless prediction that I will not last in my new job, as an antidote I spent an hour watching this fascinating interview with Mark.

I hardly know Mark. We traded a few emails about blog search and he was kind enough to give me tickets to a Mavs game. Yet, I feel like he’s my unofficial mentor. I have read and re-read his outstanding lessons on success and motivation dozens of times. He is to me like Ann Rynd’s characters are to him – an inspiration. Now that some at least feel that I too am a “public figure,” I look to Professor Cuban for more wisdom. The timing of the interview’s release was perfect.

As I watched the piece I kept thinking “what would Mark do if he were in my situation?” What would he say if he pulled up an IceRocket search to find dozens of bloggers speculating that he was selling the Mavs or getting out of films or whatever the case may be. The answer is he would keep being Mark. Despite his billions, Mark makes himself completely approachable. He answers a good many of the 1000 emails he receives daily from fans and, I bet, foes. This shows he’s true to himself.

Mark Cuban is a maverick. No doubt. He saw the PC and broadband revolutions coming long before we did and, god bless him, he capitalized. More recently he turned around a fledgling basketball team by making them more fan-friendly. Now he’s trying to reinvent entertainment distribution, basketball and even PR in the process.

Mavericks have friends and they have enemies because they’re often successful revolutionaries. They’re pushing what Robert Scoble (another revolutionary) so eloquently calls the membrane. Mark is taking plenty of heat for his revolutionary plan to distribute movies on DVD at the same time they’re in the theaters. But you know what, he listens, occasionally takes on his critics and does his thing.

So that’s what I take away from this whole Smurfette episode. I listen, do my thing and continue to be part of the revolution. After all, that’s what I was hired to do. If I veer from that then I will let everyone down – me, my employer and perhaps even you. That’s not going to happen if I can help it. And I can.

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.