COMDEXvirtual: 3 Tips From An American Entrepreneur


Sometimes it's good to get advice from an old friend.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team and a former VAR, offered his insight on current technology trends, successful sales strategies and what it takes to make it in the channel during a keynote session Tuesday at COMDEXvirtual.

Arguably the channel's most famous son, Cuban's entrepreneurial bent drove him to build a series of successful ventures, from his own solution provider business, MicroSolutions, which he sold to CompuServe in 1990, to Broadcast.com, which he sold to Yahoo for nearly $6 billion in 1999.

Now, in addition to the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban owns Landmark Theaters and is the chairman of HDNet. Cuban fielded questions from Everything Channel CEO Robert Faletra during COMDEXvirtual, the online conference hosted by CRN parent company Everything Channel. The show takes place November 16 - 17, and sessions are available on-demand until May 17, 2011.

Here's a look at some of the advice he offered to solution providers:

1. Know What You Sell
Understand the true value you bring to your customers. When he first bought the Dallas Mavericks, Cuban said he had to dispel the myth that the team was in the basketball business. In fact, he said, they sell "fun."

"It was the same approach I took as a reseller," Cuban said. "First I had to know what differentiated us."

2. Seek Out The Next Big Thing

"I have this rule of business that I started at MicroSolutions and I do it to this very minute with all my other businesses. It's [asking the question], "How do you kick your own a--?'

"There's always someone in this business trying to come in and kill you for whatever reason ... so how do you stay ahead? You've just got to go out and find what that is."

One of Cuban's related rules? "If you're looking for the next big thing, don't go where everybody else is. It's probably not there."

3. You Only Need To Be Right Once
Given the low cost of entry for cloud computing, solution providers should recruit a customer to create the "Me And You R&D Department" and take a few chances to see what works, Cuban said.

"It doesn't matter how many times you fail," Cuban said. "You only need to get it right once and you're an overnight success."

Register now to attend COMDEXvirtual or to access on-demand sessions.