Fireside Chat, Q&A and “Stern Tank” with Mark Cuban

Fireside Chat, Q&A and “Stern Tank” with Mark Cuban

– Wow.
(audience applauding)
Folks, folks, folks,
Hold your…
Is this on?
Hold your applause, please,
the real guests of honor are yet
to come,
so that’s when you need to
Good evening, everybody.
My name is Raghu Sundaram.
I have the honor of
being the dean of Stern
and the even greater honor
of kicking off tonight’s
A few words of introduction
to the sponsors of this program
and the context of this program.
At Stern, entrepreneurship,
innovation have always been at
the heart
of everything we’ve done
for over a hundred years,
in our very DNA.
For the last several decades,
we’ve produced a huge
range of entrepreneurs
that have transformed the
they’ve worked in, some very
some very much more quietly,
but still quite ferociously.
To those who follow these
the list of names reads like a
Who’s Who,
from Bill Berkley and Ken
through Andrea Bonomi, Lorenzo
Liz Elting, Peggy Yu.
Entrepreneurs have been
the very face of Stern
for several decades.
Today, we are at a point in time
where entrepreneurship
has become more central
to our activities than ever
a point in time that
is absolutely bristling
with challenges, but also
because of that,
bristling with opportunities,
and at a point in time
where the pace of change
makes the need for nimble
who can think and move fast
greater than ever before.
At NYU, as a university,
across the university,
we work with more than a
thousand aspiring entrepreneurs
across our 16 colleges
and two global campuses
in Shanghai and Abu Dhabi.
Amongst the many ways we
foster entrepreneurship
here at Stern is through
programmatic innovation,
both in and out of the
Two examples of that innovation
are the co-hosts of today’s
the Entertainment, Media and
the EMT program at Stern,
and the W.R. Berkley Innovation
The Berkley Innovation Labs
the entrepreneurial students and
to launch and lead
transformative ventures.
This year, 244 teams
entered the Entrepreneurs
In a few short months, the
Innovation Lab
will award $300,000 to NYU
on this very stage, in this very
Teams in our programs have gone
to be acquired by Amazon,
by Airbnb and Twitter,
and have appeared and done quite
on a program we all know well,
Shark Tank,
where Vengo Labs, the maker
of high-tech vending machines,
secured a $2 million deal in
and Keen Home, makers of a smart
air vent,
walked away with $750,000 in
The other co-sponsor, our EMT
provides students with
a global perspective
of the entire spectrum of the
and entertainment business.
The program offers more
than a hundred courses
taught by distinguished faculty
and industry thought
leaders and practitioners.
Last year, 4,400 students
from across the university
took EMT courses here at Stern.
One of EMT’s most
distinguished faculty members,
a man I’m proud to call my
is Greg Coleman.
Greg is the
at Lerer Hippeau,
which is a preeminent
early-stage venture fund
that has invested in
such notable companies
as Casper, Glossier,
Warby Parker and BuzzFeed.
At Stern, Greg teaches the
popular class
Digital Marketing and
He brings to the course more
than 40 years
of experience in advertising and
spanning executive roles at
the Huffington Post and at
where most recently he was
Greg was also one of the
earliest members
of our Tech MBA Advisory Board
and has been hugely supportive
of our attempts to
integrate ever more closely
business, entrepreneurship and
including through the
Creative Destruction Lab.
Thank you, Greg, for inviting
Mark Cuban to campus.
Mr. Cuban embodies, in
every sense of the word,
Stern’s driving principles of
of entrepreneurship, of
We are thrilled to be spending
this evening with him.
Our thanks, again, to the EMT
and to the Berkley Innovation
for sponsoring this program.
Professor Greg Coleman.
– Thank you very much.
(audience applauding)
Thank you.
Wow, we have a full house
(audience applauding)
So, Dean, 40 years of
Did you really have to do that?
– You know, I was impressed.
– My God, that’s a lie.
It’s 10 years of experience
(audience laughing)
is what I’ve had.
Before I make any formal
I would like to ask
Sara Kim to come on up.
Sara is our.
(audience applauding)
Come on, let’s give her
a round of applause.
(audience applauding)
Sara is one of my two teaching
Lucy Zhang is here, as well.
There’s Lucy.
(audience applauding)
Round of applause.
Sara is gonna introduce Mark.
– Good evening.
My name is Sarah Kim, and I’m an
MBA Langone student here at NYU
I’ve had the pleasure of being a
and teaching fellow, as Greg
for Professor Coleman’s
Digital Media Innovation class.
This past semester,
we’ve been lucky enough
to have some incredible
including Jeff Zucker, president
of CNN,
who came to speak to us after
sued the White House.
We’ve also hosted, (laughs),
It was great.
(audience laughing)
We’ve also hosted Jonah Peretti,
CEO and founder of Buzzfeed,
and Kara Swisher, renowned
and founder of Recode.
Tonight, I have the
privilege of introducing
someone who needs no
(buzzer rings)
(audience laughing)
You may know him as your
favorite investor
on ABC’s Shark Tank or
as the outspoken owner
of the Dallas Mavericks.
He’s also been a lifelong
Some lesser known facts about
our guest tonight.
At the age of 12, he was an
selling trash bags.
He also took on the challenge of
a Dairy Queen for the day.
He also set a Guinness World
in 1999 for the largest single
e-commerce transaction when he
a Gulfstream jet for $40
(audience laughing)
He did this after he sold his
company to Yahoo!
for a cool 5.6 billion.
I don’t know about you guys,
but I don’t think back
then it was very common
to be making online purchases.
Clearly, he was ahead of his
He also may or may not have been
to say that he wanted to speak
to NYU Stern students
and illustrious alumni
as part of his impressive
(Mark laughs)
I’m thrilled to help you do that
(audience laughing)
Ladies and gentlemen, please
join me
in giving a warm welcome
to the incomparable Mark Cuban.
(audience applauding and
– Thank you.
Where do you want me, Greg?
– You’ll go right there, the far
(audience applauding)
– I gave Mark an NYU jacket, but
he said
he’s an Indiana man
(audience laughing)
so he wouldn’t.
– Go IU.
– Which I respect.
– Okay, thank you.
– We have to do that.
Mark, thank you so much for
coming in.
One, I’ll tell you
Mark and I are on the board
of a company called ZergNet.
Actually, the CEO, Reggie
is here with us tonight, as
When I asked Mark at the end of
of the board meetings, I said,
I teach this class at NYU.
Would you be interested in
coming to talk to the school?
He takes his phone out
and he says, “Hold on,” and he
I said, you’re not looking to
when the Mavs are playing
the Knicks, are you?
(audience laughing)
He said, “Yeah, ’cause then I
“I’ll be here.”
(audience laughing)
You have lots of friends that
figure their calendar out.
One way, I see when I’m having
and meatballs at home
(Mark laughs)
and I know I’ll be there.
Other people, when their
ball club is there.
Before we go into our Q and A,
we’re gonna do a fireside chat
Then we’re gonna hear a little
from some students that
will have some questions.
Then we have three amazing
presentations tonight,
five-minute presentations
that Mark will hear
and he’ll give some feedback,
which will be a real
treat for the students
that will be presenting.
– I’m gonna rip some people
(audience laughing)
– But what I’d love to do is
let’s put,
I just wanna share with you,
for those of you that are not in
my class,
I did have the chance this year
to get some pretty cool
(audience laughing)
Mark, why don’t you take a look?
This is the only thing
I tried to rehearse.
We had the head of sales for
– Wow, Greg, that’s a great
(audience laughing)
Okay, moving on, moving on.
(audience laughing)
– The class had the
chance to meet with people
that are the movers and shakers
in the digital world.
We had the chance, if
you take a look up there.
As Sara mentioned, the morning
that we
had Jeff Zucker come, Jeff came
six o’clock at night, he did,
he sued the president of the
United States
for taking Jim Acosta’s
credentials away.
He gave no interviews
during that day, but he gave our
the full speak, inside and out,
of what the lawyers said,
how he made the decision,
how they served the papers.
It was a moment in time.
Then one of the other
highlights, as ya heard,
Kara Swisher, unbridled.
– That’s her.
– Her comments about tech
at least they can’t take it with
That was her generous point of
about people, Mark Zucker and
the rest.
Let’s go right into this.
I started off talking about
ZergNet, Mark,
and talking to Reggie, the CEO.
One of the things that I found
that I think this class
would be very interested,
the school would be very
is that after watching Shark
Reggie cold emailed you.
– Yep.
– He cold emailed you with what
he told me
was a pathetically long email.
Apparently, you read it and you
– Yep.
– You got hit on by
somebody from the outside
you never met before with a long
For those people that are afraid
to take a chance, what happened
when you
saw his note?
– Well, first of all, he went to
(audience laughing)
Or from Indianapolis.
I get hundreds of emails,
business-related emails a day
and I get pitches every day.
[email protected]
(audience laughing)
I’ll read the first paragraph.
If you say something of
that catches my interest and I
is differentiated in some way,
I’ll keep on reading.
That’s exactly what Reggie did.
He said, “We’ve got some
technology that,”
I won’t go into the whole thing,
but it caught my attention.
I started asking some followup
Very quickly, my BS meter is
really good.
Based off the answers, I can
if it’s real or it’s nonsense.
We just kept on following up,
did my due diligence, and we
didn’t meet
until long after I invested in
– Oh, wow.
But Mark also comes to
every board meeting.
Occasionally he’ll have to call
but you make every single one.
– Of course, yeah.
– How many boards are you on
where you
will spend that kind of time?
– Only three or four, not that
I really limit it because
it does take time.
Fortunately, I’m in a great
where I can dictate (laughs)
kinda where
and when I wanna go.
That’s very beneficial.
But I don’t do a lotta meetings.
I don’t do a lotta phone calls.
I try to do everything via email
it just makes me more efficient.
Now if you wanna write
me a check, I’ll show up.
(audience laughing)
If there’s some issues
that I need to address
or need to help you with, I’ll
show up,
whether it’s a Shark Tank
Reggie’s company or much larger
I’m invested in.
It works for me.
I’ve invested 25, $30 million
in companies where people cold
emailed me, and in a lotta
I still have never met them.
– Wow.
– I’ve made a lotta money off of
– Wow, well, ya made a good
in Reggie’s company.
– He’s just getting started.
(Greg laughs)
– He is.
I wanna go back in time to a
that I used to work for called
– I remember them.
– That had a very
(audience laughing)
meaningful role in your life.
– Yep.
– I think everyone here knows
Mark and his partner Todd Wagner
sold their company to Yahoo!
in what was it, ’99?
– ’99, yeah.
– ’99 for $5.6 billion.
– In stock, not cash.
– I wanna talk about that.
When I got to Yahoo! in April of
two things happened.
There were about a dozen people
from the
This is about a year after you
sold it.
I remember my boss at
the time, Tim Koogle,
asked me would our
Southeast regional manager
like to be running
I’m like, oh, my God, this is
a horrible thing–
– What a mess.
– to hear about after
all of that happened.
It would be great if you could
give everybody kind of a glimpse
remember, this was the heyday.
The internet was booming
and it was rocking and rolling,
and valuations were different
than we
look at them now.
But if you could give us that
’cause I have not heard
you talk about this much,
about what happened,
how you were approached
or how you approached them.
Then I’d love to hear about–
– In terms of buying the company
Well, let me give you
the background ’cause
people probably don’t
know about the company.
In 1995,
the internet was just getting
As I kid, referred to multiple
I went to Indiana University,
where basketball is big.
The way we listened to
basketball games
in Dallas is somebody
in Bloomington, Indiana,
would put a speakerphone next to
a radio,
an AM radio, and then in Dallas,
we’d have a table, a
whole lotta six-packs,
and we’d have a speakerphone
and we’d listen to the game.
That’s how we listened to the
The internet was just starting
to happen.
I set up my own little Netscape
Mosaic server, all this stuff.
I was getting into it
’cause I’m a tech guy.
All of the sudden, it’s like,
We’ve gotta figure out
a way to use the net
to listen and eventually
watch stuff online.
That sounds like so nothing now,
but back then, you had to have a
You had to have a modem.
You had to download TCP/IP
which y’all probably don’t
even know what that is.
Then you had to log in.
Then you had to have
enough bandwidth available
to actually download or stream
Now back then, we didn’t
call it streaming.
We called it internet
or netcasting.
I said, okay, let’s just go for
I took money from a company
I had previously sold.
We started this company called
That’s exactly what we did.
We went out and locked up the
to everything, hundreds of radio
We created Pandora, Spotify.
We had hundreds of radio
by 1997 and 1998.
We had police scanners online.
Then we started getting into
and we changed the name to
Then we started doing
live broadcasts of video.
We did corporate videos.
By the time we started talking
to Yahoo!.
Well, in 1998, we went public.
It was the largest one-day jump
in the history of the stock
opening day price jump
in the history of the stock
It was a good day.
Yahoo! happened to be
a small investor in us,
so we had a relationship with
To really, to give you some
we dominated streaming.
Not a little bit.
We started the whole streaming
We built the streaming industry.
Our market share was enormous.
We were doing everything.
We had all the radio stations,
all the TV stations.
We even, Lionsgate movie studio,
we had bought 10% of Lionsgate
just to get access to their TV
and movies
to stream them online.
Then Yahoo! came along
and it just made sense.
They were a destination.
They could drive even more
Broadband was starting to take
I remember we did a survey
for in-office media.
We controlled 97% of in-office
It was crazy because people
didn’t have
radios or TVs on their
desks, but they had a PC
and they had access to
faster internet speeds,
broadband, in their corporate
It made perfect sense.
They made a bid on us.
It was great.
We thought, this is going to be
Not less than a year later,
the internet stock market
and they freaked out.
Again, in context, YouTube,
this was before YouTube.
We had people, businesses and
could upload their own content
We indexed it and did sorts
and searches by keywords.
We had hundreds of radio
The digital laws were different.
We had a CD jukebox.
We did hundreds, thousands of
live events,
we did corporate events.
We were killing it, dominating.
It made perfect sense.
The market dropped.
They didn’t know what to do.
Their board at the time said,
we were actually cashflow
They didn’t support us any
They just kept on pushing
people to the corners.
– It was horrible.
– They screwed up.
– Mark, one of the things that
you did,
and would be great to hear from
about what the hunch was,
instead of just holding
onto all of the stock
that you got from Yahoo!, you
what we call a collar, you
– Hedged it.
– You hedged it.
Tell everybody what went through
your mind
because that was a big
bet with huge dollars.
– It was actually pretty simple.
Hedging stock.
Yahoo! paid us in Yahoo! stock.
I was smart enough to recognize,
I guess,
that what goes up could go down.
But it wasn’t that big a step
I was worth more than a billion
How much did I need?
I was telling everybody just
find me
a way to hedge it so in the
look, if the stock price goes up
and I leave something
on the table, so be it.
But I liked that being next to
my name
and I wanted to keep it.
(audience laughing)
I sold calls, bought puts and
hedged it so that by the time.
There was a period of time
from when I’d done that.
The internet stock
market kept on going up.
I told people I’d hedged it.
Goldman Sachs, the company,
had told people what I’d done.
I remember going on CNBC,
the business channel,
and the guy going,
“Boy, don’t you feel stupid?
“That Yahoo! stock has kept on
going up
“and you had this hedged.”
I’m like, yeah, I feel so stupid
riding around in my G5
that I bought online.
(audience laughing)
Not to sound like a crazy,
greedy capitalist, but, yeah.
(audience laughing)
I just didn’t wanna screw it up.
So I hedged it, and then
the internet bubble burst
and I was fully protected and
even made a little bit more
What I learned was you just
don’t need to be greedy.
I was very, very blessed,
I was very fortunate.
Look, I didn’t plan the
internet stock market
to go up and I didn’t plan it to
go down,
so I was lucky in terms of
I didn’t wanna screw it up,
and so I hedged.
– You didn’t screw it up.
One other thing from that time,
when I arrived in April of ’01
with Terry Semel,
three weeks after I started,
Todd Wagner shows up
to wanna meet with us,
but not with Jeff Mallett,
who was then the president.
We’re like, what does he wanna
talk about?
We knew about the deal.
He was like, “I’m an activist.
“I demand that you fire Jeff
who was my boss.
I’m like, wow, this is a
really nice environment
that I’ve gotten into out here.
(audience laughing)
Even after you had done your
there was still an ache to make
that Yahoo! itself was on track.
Do you know what that was about?
– Yeah, they were screwing
everything up.
Look, they had an opportunity to
streaming media.
They also owned, at the same
the patent to cost-per-click.
Now, Google’s entire business to
this day
is built around pay-per-click,
– And Criteo.
– They had the entire
patent for pay-per-click.
Had they just said, “Sorry,
“you can’t use it,”
there would be no Google.
Instead, they said, “Yeah, $133
“and give us some stock.”
They were just too
nice, which blinded them
in a lotta respects.
I remember walking in
with a $32 million sale,
saying, okay, we’re gonna do
We’re gonna sell all
this company’s content.
It’s worth $32 million for us.
It’s gonna preempt these
other potential competitors.
I forget if it was
Jerry or Tim or whoever,
said, “No, we don’t work that
“We don’t preempt competition.
“We just leave it open.”
I’m like, okay, it’s time for me
to go
buy a basketball team.
(audience laughing)
They just didn’t see these
It’s a lesson in your
Everybody’s always
trying to kick your ass.
You have to figure out how to
your own ass first.
Seriously, because if
you’re not brutally honest
with yourself in your own
about what your frailties are,
someone else is going to find
Yahoo! didn’t get that.
Yahoo! just thought, ya know
We’re just gonna continue moving
and we’ll just compete
with everybody else.
We have no other problems.
Didn’t quite work out for ’em,
did it?
– No, it did not.
Then we gave it a good go.
From ’01 to ’08, we–
– Terry tried.
– We raised it back up.
But they did slip on a big
banana peel.
I wanna pivot right now.
Purple and yellow banana peel
for Yahoo!
for you that know their colors.
– That was another thing, wait.
We sell to them, right?
Our office is in Dallas.
The way we ran our
business, it was just like
lean and mean.
You invest in your product, you
invest in
your customers, you invest in
your people.
We had open offices.
You don’t need fancy stuff.
They immediately came down–
– I bet.
– And just redid all the
furniture in purple and gold.
I’m like, it’s cool, that’s
my high school’s colors.
(audience laughing)
But why are we spending this
Got a whole new office,
a whole new building.
I’m just like, why are
we spending this money?
– Well, one of the ways.
The pivot is.
(audience laughing)
– The moral of the story
is you spend money.
– Reggie knows how to spend
– Or not to spend it, right?
– Right.
One of the things in my rules,
when I look at companies to
invest in,
if someone walks in with swag,
here’s my coffee mug with my
here’s your T-shirt with my
I don’t see anybody wearing a
with a startup’s logo, do you?
– No.
– Would you wear some other
startup’s logo polo shirt?
Hell, no.
Hell, no.
It’s just a waste of money.
Put your money where you’re able
to differentiate yourself and
add value
that separates yourself
so you can get ahead.
Don’t waste it.
– We talked about a company’s
Let’s talk about individuals.
One of the question that I’ve
all those amazing speakers–
– Amazing.
– That I put up there,
is what is your thing?
By that, I mean what is it
that you love to do
more than anything else?
What do you think that you’re
best at?
What makes you click your heels?
For example, I’m a connector.
It started early in my life.
I don’t know, but I love to
really smart people.
I like to connect you with NYU
But as you think about your
and in your early days,
what is your thing and when did
understand what it was?
– It hasn’t changed.
My thing is learning,
learning whatever’s new,
and applying it in ways that
other people
aren’t thinking of.
I got fired from a job selling
started a company.
Within six months, this
is the early days of PCs,
I recognized that, okay, we
need to connect PCs together.
Back then, you walked around and
you had
your 5 1/4 inch floppy.
Who would need to connect a PC?
We started writing software
for local area networks,
became a systems integrator.
$30-some million run rate,
and sold it to H&R Block.
Then got to the internet.
Let’s look at this internet
Someone’s gonna need to put
and then video on there.
Then after Yahoo! did Yahoo!,
I’m like,
you know what?
I’m looking at these big screen
that cost $30,000 that
are high-definition television
and I’m thinking, you know what?
Eventually, they’re gonna follow
price performance curve
of traditional consumer
and they’re gonna come down in
I started the first
all-high-definition TV network
called HDNet.
Then I’m looking and
saying, okay, ya know what?
It’s like 2006, 2007, and
traditional television
and cable is going digital.
I’m saying, you know what?
There’s gonna be a lotta storage
and first access digital space
cable companies aren’t used to
So let’s take a movie production
that we created and let’s make
available for day and day
where people will pay 20 bucks
to the cable company to watch
brand-new movie, and we
get to keep 10 of it.
We had 2929 Productions.
We started producing movies.
Lo and behold, the first movie
we created
was a documentary called
Enron: The Smartest Guys in the
(audience laughing)
Got nominated for an Academy
Then we didn’t really create any
ones after that, but
(audience laughing)
by being first, leveraging
digital storage,
we were able to take advantage
and make
a lotta money.
Then the NBA with the Mavericks,
just doing those types of
It’s what I like to do now.
Now I’m going through and
teaching myself
neural networks and doing the
same thing
with machine learning and GANs
and this and that because AI
is going to have more of an
than the internet did.
AI plus new types of chip sets
plus 5G is going to change
things far more
than we’ve ever seen anything
Understanding where and how to
apply it
is going to be critical,
but just as important,
knowing how to segregate and
the bullshit is as important
every email y’all are about to
send me
is gonna say, “I have this AI
“and we’re using algorithms.”
Yeah, of course you are.
Then what?
What really makes you different?
What really sets you apart?
But if I didn’t do that work,
if I didn’t sit down and do the
machine learning tutorials, if I
didn’t go
on YouTube and take the NYU
Introduction to Neural
Networks or whatever,
I’m not gonna know it,
I’m not gonna be able
to apply it and I’m not
gonna be able to be first.
That’s fun, that’s fun.
Knowing I get to kick the ass of
22-year-old NYU graduate, that’s
(audience laughing)
– Are there any big companies
that get
the future right now?
Of the telcos that are diving
into 5G,
do you have some other companies
in the tech space?
Is that where you’re also
or are you seeing an
incredible groundswell
of early-stage activity?
– The big companies are
trying, but it’s difficult.
It’s more smaller lean and mean
that are able to try different
and apply new types of sensors.
I’ve got one company,
I didn’t know this, but
every organ in our body
emits an electrical impulse.
There are now sensors that
those electrical pulses.
There are ways to capture
them into a WAV file.
Who knew, an old-school WAV
Well, what Genestesis
did was go to Mayo Clinic
and other hospitals and use
these sensors
and capture tens of thousands
of outputs of people’s
hearts into a WAV file,
and then ran ’em through machine
and were able to discern, with
92 or 3% accuracy, now up to 95
to 97%,
five different heart
ailments just based off
of what’s recorded in this WAV
file output
from a sensor.
Now that’s critical because when
as you get older.
There’s this old show, Sanford
and Son.
I’m coming, Elizabeth.
It’s the big one.
Because as you get
older, there’s something
you think is screwed up with
your heart.
You don’t know if it’s a heart
you don’t know if it’s just a
whatever is it, but
it’s hard for hospitals
to discern, so you have to run
every test.
With just this little bit of
using machine learning and
that’s all changing right now as
we speak.
There’s big companies
and little companies.
But I’ll tell you the
thing that’s most important
and one of the things I wanted
to convey here that’s changing.
How people perceive
is changing dramatically,
and how entrepreneurs
are contributing to society is
right now as we speak.
I see it on Shark Tank.
Companies coming on Shark Tank
particularly from younger
have a social component.
You don’t wanna buy something
you think the company is
Even more so now, a
lotta people were saying,
“You know what?
“If you’re an entrepreneur and
you happen
“to get rich, that’s bad.”
Entrepreneurs, people
particularly in my generation,
have kinda segregated themselves
into, okay, just get
me all the money I can,
into, okay, there can be such a
as compassionate capitalism.
Really, it’s falling on you guys
to set the message.
If you are going to be an
having a social component is
Being a compassionate
entrepreneur is better
because when you change things,
when you can hire people.
I had to go back through the
that I control now and I said I
to make sure that nobody who
works for,
in particular the arena and the
is on public assistance
because it’s wrong.
I think it’s wrong that somebody
who works for me doesn’t make
enough money
to be on public assistance.
That’s the type of attitude I
think that
needs to change now with
That’s now becoming part
of your responsibility.
I think that’s critically
Guys like me, women like me, can
and backtrack and backfill in
we’ve made mistakes.
I’ve made plenty, and
I’ve learned from ’em.
But it’s your opportunity, and I
it’s critically important
to recognize that
you are gonna set the tone for
people perceive
entrepreneurs going forward.
If you introduce compassion
and you look at the needs of the
that work for you, right
from the beginning,
I think you’re gonna
have stronger companies,
less turnover and better
– You’ve done a lot of cool
Everybody here that’s in school
is gonna graduate, and at
some point in their life,
they’re gonna get their
ass kicked in business.
They’re gonna get fired,
they’re gonna have
a boss that they hate.
In your case, you’ve
done a lotta cool stuff
so you can talk about it, what
was the
biggest lump and learning, and
how did you
get up off the floor, if ya got
off the floor?
– When I got to Dallas, I
was a bartender at night.
I moved in one of my buddies
from Indiana.
I said, ya gotta come to Dallas.
I’m like, I’m there.
My car would only get so far.
Had a Fiat X1/9 with a
hole in the floorboard
that guzzled oil every 60 miles.
I went down there, and this
place called The Village.
It was the world’s
largest apartment complex.
We had six guys in a
three-bedroom apartment.
I didn’t have my own room,
I didn’t have my own drawer,
I didn’t have my closet.
I had a pile and I had one ratty
that I stole from Motel 6.
That was it.
I was looking for my career.
Got a job at a software store.
I didn’t have a tech background,
so I was teaching myself all
Because the way I look at tech
is somebody invents it, and
everybody else
is tied for second place
in the ability to learn it.
If I work harder and
faster to really dive in,
even if it means reading the
just diving in, then I can
get a headstart and I can–
– How old were you during this?
– I was 24.
Sleeping on the floor, working
in the software company,
learning, learning,
learning, learning, learning,
getting better at what I was
Then one day, because
I was dying to get out
of that rat hole that I lived
I had the chance to go
out and close the sale
that would have got me
a $1,500 commission.
I went to my boss.
His name is Michael Humecki.
I said, boss.
One of my responsibilities
was to sweep the floor,
wipe down the windows and open
the door
to open the store.
I got this sale, ya gotta
let me close the sale.
He goes, “No, you’ve gotta be in
“to open the store.”
I’m like, Michael, I mean.
I made the executive decision to
go out,
pick up the check,
thinking if I hand this guy
a $15,000 check, of course
he’s gonna change his mind.
(claps hands)
Fired me on the spot.
Here I was living in a shit
excuse my French, just this
ratty place
with a Motel 6 towel.
Sorry, Motel 6.
(audience laughing)
Really didn’t know how
I was gonna get out.
I decided, okay, I’m a lousy
I went to one of the companies
that I
had been talking to,
Architectural Lighting,
and I said, look,
I need $500 to be able to
buy the software you want.
I promise you that even
if it doesn’t work,
I will wash your car,
I will walk your dog.
I don’t care what it
is, I will do whatever
it takes to make it up to you.
They gave me the $500.
That allowed me to create
Six months later, I
was out of the rat hole
and my company turned into a
real company.
That’s the one I sold for $6
when I was 29, 30 years old.
– The word balance.
Obviously, you’re wired
a little differently
than some people.
– Some people think that, yeah.
– Just a little bit.
But how do you find
a center, how do you get
how do you spend time with your
How do you do that to make
all of this stuff worthwhile?
– Two different things.
I was at two different points in
my life.
I waited.
I didn’t have a family.
When I was 24, 25, I went seven
without a vacation.
To me, I was balanced, a
lotta people disagreed,
’cause I loved every minute of
Yeah, there was hardships and my
was against the wall.
I’ll give ya a story, your
back against the wall.
After Michael Humecki fired me,
(audience laughing)
But I don’t hold grudges.
(audience laughing)
We had started this
company, MicroSolutions,
which, just what it’s named.
It just is what it implies.
We would hook PCs together and
and this and that.
One day I get a call from the
We were small, four employees.
We finally had $84,000 in the
which was amazing for us.
We were maybe six, eight months
I forget exactly what it was.
We were small.
We had one of my buddies who
install the computers; we had a
partner, Martin Woodall;
and a receptionist.
I thought I was using all the
accounting principles I learned
at Indiana
where I would go through the AP,
the accounts payable, and then
of the other people would sign
after checking it, put it in an
Then the receptionist would then
take the printed out check, lick
put it in the envelope,
lick it and mail it.
Easy, breezy, right?
Get a call from the bank.
“Um, we had a bunch of these
“totaling $82,000 where somebody
“whited out the payee
“and put in her own name, Renee
Not that I hold a grudge.
(audience laughing)
And cashed it.
Literally, this woman, Renee
if you ever run into her,
she’s a little bit older now,
took 82 of our $84,000.
I remember calling the bank.
You just let them white out a
and put their own name, and you
cashed it.
This old-school Texas banker.
He goes, “Son, leave it alone.
“You don’t have a pot to piss
(audience laughing)
I had two choices.
I could get mad or I can just
get over it
and go back to work.
(laughs) I’m like Boss Hogg,
how could you do this to us?
You guys don’t know who
Boss Hogg is, nevermind.
(audience laughing)
I just went back to work.
We called all our vendors
and yada, yada, yada,
worked our way through and paid
the money that the checks
were supposed to pay.
But shit happens.
In terms of balance,
I dated.
I made it really,
really, really clear that
I was in love with
(audience laughing)
I would never leave it alone
The girlfriend was like,
it’s me or your business.
I was like,
what was your name again?
(audience laughing)
No balance.
But once I got to that point
I didn’t have to stress about
that stuff
and I’d sold multiple companies
and things were well, then
I started really dating
and started a family.
Now my three kids are nine, 12
and 15.
Now things revolve around them.
It was worth waiting.
I’m a little bit more mature.
Sure, not a lot more, but a
little bit
more mature in terms of those
It made me smarter.
Now I can focus on balance
and put them first,
but I waited.
For those who are trying to
do all at once, it’s hard.
I’m the wrong person to ask.
– People are starting to throw
their hats
into the ring to become the next
of the United States.
Do you know anything about that?
– Well, I’m here to announce
(audience laughing)
The definition of bad parenting
is running
for president when you have
three kids,
nine, 12 and 15
(audience laughing)
because the doxing and
it’s an interesting time.
I’ve been very vocal, I’m
not a fan of the president’s,
but I’m not gonna get into the
why or how
because all that’s pretty
and I’m not changing anybody’s
But the reality is I think
it’s time for a change.
Obviously not just from
him, but just in general.
Regardless of what I do, I think
watching Kamala Harris come out
she was amazing.
Watching what AOC is doing.
There’s people who wanna break
’cause I think the system is
and we need people who will
break things.
But I think what’s happening
right now
is people are first
establishing themselves
within one or the other party.
Yet, the two parties are, I
responsible for a lot of the
that we’re having because
everything is so partisan.
I think there’s gonna be an
whether it’s me, somebody
else, whoever it may be,
either from a party or
to go out and lead with
I’ll give you a perfect
example, healthcare.
How do we measure the success
of the Affordable Care Act, the
By number of people who are
The greatest lie ever told,
what does insurance have to do
with healthcare and wellness?
You can have all the
insurance in the world,
and most people don’t have
enough money
to pay the deductible.
Yet we’re standing up there
“Keep the ACA.”
Okay, it was a great effort, but
has nothing to do with wellness.
To me, an entrepreneur,
like somebody here,
has to come up with solutions,
fix those problems.
I think income inequality is one
of our greatest problems.
It’s horrible.
It’s one of the reasons why I
went back
to my companies and made sure
made at least $15 an hour, if
not more,
made sure no one was on public
got the help that they needed.
Again, compassionate capitalism.
But we tried to gauge the
of our economy based off of GDP.
GDP is total.
It has nothing to do with
bringing up
the bottom or helping the
yet no one’s gonna say anything
using GDP as a measurement or
coming up
with alternatives.
That’s for y’all to start
thinking about
because if you can’t measure it,
you can’t evaluate it,
you can’t find solutions
because everybody’s gonna gauge
based off of GDP, and GDP is the
worst possible measurement.
The number of people insured
is horrific, it’s one of
the greatest lies ever told.
There are solutions.
If I come up with them,
and I’m working on them, and I
there’s better ways, then, all
there’s something to do.
If I don’t get the solutions,
then I don’t wanna be somebody
just stands up there because
it’s typical.
Here’s what I believe.
Here’s what I’ll do.
Here’s what’s wrong.
Here’s why everybody else sucks.
Here’s why you should elect me.
To me, that’s just not
the way this country
is going to go forward.
That’s not gonna bring people
But if you walk in and say,
“Forget insurance.
“Insurance is part of the
“Insurance should not
be part of the solution.
“Let’s come up with a better
All right, I think people will
to that person.
– Mark, the last question that I
and then we’re gonna get some
good questions from the
which is that a lot of this team
is gonna be graduating in
the not too distant future.
We have a lot of second
MBAs in my class this year.
They’re getting out in May.
We have a lot of other students.
Not everybody is wired like you.
We understand that.
But in terms of your point of
on people, whatever their thing
taking a chance.
As I do one-on-one
meetings with my students,
and some of them are
in jobs that are okay,
but they’re not really doing
to get out of it.
We have a special chat
when that takes place.
But I think my last question is,
from an advisory standpoint,
what kernel would you give
‘Cause as far as we know,
this is not a dress rehearsal.
– The same thing I told myself,
the same thing I tell everybody.
One, you’re 21, 22, 23 years
You don’t have to figure it out
right now.
Don’t try.
You spent all this money, sorry,
(audience laughing)
paying to learn.
Now it’s your chance to get paid
to learn.
You don’t need the perfect job.
You just need to go
somewhere where you’ll learn
and start to be exposed
to different ideas.
Now it’s not like when Greg, 40
years ago,
was graduating.
– Oh, Jesus Christ.
(audience laughing)
– And me five years ago.
(audience laughing)
It was like, get a career.
The pressure was get a career.
It’s go work for IBM or General
and get a pension.
Those days are gone.
People can’t even pay
their pensions anymore.
You’re a free agent.
You’re always gonna be a free
on the market.
You guys are the Kevin Durants
and LeBron James, where you’re
out there and can go find
a better situation for yourself.
Do what’s best for you.
What have you got to lose?
When I started my company, after
got fired by Michael Humecki,
(audience laughing)
(laughs) how bad could it be?
I would lose my Motel 6 towel?
What have you got to lose?
Yeah, I understand there’s
from student loans and
there’s a lotta conversations
we can have there,
but you can get a job that
doesn’t have
to be perfect.
You can learn at that job.
You guys have the pedigree,
you have the brains,
you have the initiative to go
and try the next job.
The good news is the economy’s
good enough
that it may not be perfect, but
you can
go job to job.
Don’t look for the perfect
Just look to get the
experience, look to learn.
Because all these different
all the different things you
learning how to learn,
that’s what’s gonna get you
and juice you for something that
you love.
Because once you find
something you love to do,
that’s when the magic happens.
Because when you’re able to find
you love to do, then you
can start focusing on
how can I be great at this.
Like Greg found out he
was a great networker.
I like to play with technology
and try to do things first.
Whatever it is that you
find about yourself,
then you can try to be great at
It’s rare when people quit
they’re great at.
Trying those things.
That’s how I advise people.
Don’t stress.
Just go out and try different
– Our friends that graduated
from college
that thought they had the
perfect job
were mostly incorrect ’cause you
just don’t know–
– You have no clue.
Are you the same as your
22-year-old self?
(Greg laughs)
– No.
– I am, but that’s a
whole different story.
(audience laughing)
– Why don’t we do this?
Let’s line up and we’re
gonna get some questions.
My class, hopefully you’ll
ask some questions, too.
– Bring it on.
Which class are you in?
– [Steve] Actually, I teach
these people.
My name is Steve McCarthy.
I’m a metro coach and judge
at NYU Competition Stern
for the last 15 years.
– Cool, great.
– [Steve] First, an observation
and a question, Mark.
In 1995, I look back, I
think the Indiana team
was really pretty good.
They were decent.
They knocked out of the
NCAA the first two times
in those two years.
What made you wanna think of
By the way, do you give Bobby
any cash or money on the side to
be part
(Mark laughs)
of your entity?
– No.
What made me think about it?
(Steve laughs)
I’m a basketball junkie–
– [Steve] So am I.
– Since I was a little kid.
– [Steve] I was a quick
Caucasian point guard
way back when.
– There ya go.
– I’m sorry, we’re short
on time, so thank you.
– [Steve] Quick question, quick
What do you think of Magnolia
– To what?
– [Steve] Magnolia Pictures.
Why do ya do it?
You didn’t sell it in 2011.
What’s the value right now?
– Magnolia Pictures is
a distribution company,
film distribution company we
which, by the way, distributed
nominated for an Academy Award.
Great movie.
– Woo!
(audience applauding)
– We like to give filmmakers the
to do cool things.
Now we don’t produce films.
We take them when they’re done
and find innovative ways to
market ’em.
That’s why I have Magnolia
– Let’s go over here.
– [Daria] Hi, Mark, my name is
and I’m an MBA student here.
– Hi, Daria.
– [Daria] Hi.
I wanted to know what industry
you think
still requires a lot of
– All of ’em.
(Daria laughs)
Look, one of my dad’s favorite
was ya don’t live in the world
you were born into.
Everything changes all the time.
You know what’s better than
Creating change.
Whenever I see something that’s
the way it’s always been done.
Like when I got to the NBA,
my whole goal was just to eff
things up
because everything was
done the exact same way.
They thought they were in
the business of basketball.
For 50 years, they thought they
were in the basketball business.
When you go to a basketball
you don’t remember the
jump shots, the dunks.
You remember who you were
with, the fun you had.
It’s one of the few industries
that ball is in the air
at the end of a game,
everybody holds their breath.
If it goes in, you’re hugging
you’ve never seen before.
You can take any industry and
look at
the way things have been done
and try to come up and innovate.
Like I said, with just
the nature of capitalism
right now and all the
changes that are required,
every industry needs change.
There’s a unique opportunity
that I
don’t think any generation’s
ever seen.
– [Daria] Thank you.
I’ll be emailing you.
(audience laughing)
– [Joshua] Hi, Joshua Spodek.
I teach leadership and
entrepreneurship here.
You talked about the changing
and perception of entrepreneurs.
There’s a big culture,
a lotta students come in
and they wanna be on Shark Tank.
They wanna follow the model of
Shark Tank,
even when their businesses
really ought not
to go in that direction.
– What do you mean?
What you talking about, Willis?
(audience laughing)
– [Joshua] Some of them
are more community based
or they should be a nonprofit
or something like that.
– So what?
– [Joshua] What you guys
do is amazing television.
Do you think there’s
sometimes a tension between
the roles that you’re
presenting for people
and sometimes the best way
to learn something different?
Would you say it’s the
best way to do everything?
– No, no, there’s no one
way to do everything.
But look, the beauty of Shark
is you get to see, for people
they get to get exposed to two
One, every single person in this
has had that one idea.
You get all excited, ya get that
in your stomach.
You Google it.
Then all of the sudden,
it’s (gasps) no one else
is doing it.
Now ya don’t think that 20
have gone outta business, that’s
they’re no longer on Google.
(audience laughing)
But then you go to your
friends and they’re like,
what about this idea?
“That is so cool.
“I’d buy 273.”
Then they stop because then you
to actually do the work.
Watching Shark Tank, you get to
see people
who came from all walks of life,
from all around the
country who didn’t stop
and went through certain
that are common to all
That’s why I do the show,
because it presents that.
Now in terms of whether every
should come on, no, of course
Like you mentioned nonprofits.
We don’t do nonprofits
because it’s not gonna
work really well for me to say,
that’s the dumbest idea I’ve
ever heard,
and it be a nonprofit, it’s
not good for the brand.
(audience laughing)
But for a service, a product,
it depends where you
are in your life cycle.
If you can benefit from
one of the five of us and our
and you think that we’re able to
help you,
and you think that there’s value
to the capital we can provide,
then yeah.
There are rarely going to be
when it’s a business
we can’t contribute to.
If it is a business we
don’t know how to do,
we’ll tell you.
Yeah, it’s worth coming on
– [Joshua] Are you looking
to evolve in other ways
as the role and perception
of entrepreneurs change?
– No, because we’re trying
to encourage entrepreneurs.
I’ll sit on Shark Tank all day
and ask people about diversity
look, I learned a tough
lesson with the Mavericks
where I wasn’t paying attention
and I missed a lotta bad things.
But what I did learn along the
is I had 40-year-old white guys
trying to sell to Latina
moms Mavericks tickets.
That was stupid.
I always thought that you
treated people equally.
You don’t have to treat people
the same.
Treating people equally doesn’t
treating them the same.
It means looking at them for who
they are
and being able to take advantage
of the
unique skillset that they bring.
That is the type of thing I try
to convey
on Shark Tank.
If you watch, you’ll
see me say those types
of things ’cause those
are the lessons I learned.
By coming on Shark Tank, working
with us,
hopefully we can convey those
in this new universe.
It’s the same with social
impact opportunities.
You’ll hear me ask all the time,
what are you doing that
has a social impact?
Because people aren’t
gonna buy your product
or your service unless
there’s an authenticity
in what you’re doing and
what you’re giving back.
Yeah, I think that even
in this day and age,
we can play an every bigger
Now maybe not Kevin.
(audience laughing)
There are exceptions,
but I think generally
that we add a lotta value, and I
moving forward, we can add even
– [Joshua] I’d like to
keep going, but thank you.
– Thank you.
– Thank you.
– Before we go to the next
I’d like to acknowledge Sam
Sam, could I ask you to stand
up, please?
(audience applauding)
Sam just retired this year.
He ran the EMT program, and he
hired me
to teach here at NYU.
Thank you, Sam, for such a great
(audience applauding)
– [Kyle] Hey, Mark, my name’s
I’m an MBA student here.
I’m not sure if you remember me.
– Love the overalls.
– [Kyle] Thank you, thank you.
I had the opportunity to
present my brand to you
a few months back.
During our conversation, you
said you
used to wear overalls
all the time in college.
– I did, yeah, yeah.
‘Cause ya know why I wore
Because I had a pocket for
I had a pocket for mixers.
(audience laughing)
– [Kyle] Exactly.
That’s what you said,
so you’re consistent.
– See?
– [Kyle] My question to you is–
– The truth is always that way,
ya know.
(audience laughing)
– [Kyle] If you’ll accept a pair
of Hoosier logo, a pair of
with my investor deck.
– Wow.
– Sure.
(audience laughing)
– Better than an NYU jacket.
– Those I’ll accept.
Come on, bring ’em down.
(audience applauding)
Thanks, Kyle, appreciate it,
– Smart move.
(audience laughing)
– Did I say I went to Indiana?
– Over here.
– Here we go.
– [Man] How you doing, Mark?
What I wanna know–
– I hope you’re on radio or
(audience laughing)
– [Man] Yeah, I am.
(audience laughing)
What I wanna know is that–
– Are you related to Barry
I just got. (laughs)
(audience laughing)
– [Man] Yeah, that’s my cousin.
(audience laughing)
No, what I wanna know is how do
pick an industry and dominate in
Don’t just play it, just go in
and dominate because without
nobody pays attention.
– First of all, if ya have to
then you don’t know.
That’s why I said in terms of
your first job is.
You just gotta find something
you love
and just dig in.
Find a niche that you start with
and just expand from there.
It’s not like I can just tell
this is the industry.
Well, I will.
If everybody asked, “I need a
job, Mark.
“What’s a way that I, as an NYU
“can make money right now?
“I need to get paid.”
All right, I’m gonna tell you
what you should do.
(audience laughing)
That’s what I learned on
television, dramatic effect.
(audience laughing)
Alexa, if you’ve ever used Alexa
and all the different Amazon
developing skills on Alexa
is a huge opportunity.
It’s like writing the simplest
HTML code.
Super simple, yet 99% of the
who buy the devices
don’t know how to do it.
Businesses, car dealerships,
individuals and homes.
I’ve taken the time to use
and teach myself how to write
I set it up for my kids so that
my son’s name is Jake
Cuban, so that if you
walk in the door, and I
do this to embarrass him
in front of his friends, Alexa,
who is Jake Cuban?
It goes, “Jake Cuban is the fart
(audience laughing)
But just stupid shit like that.
But it’s the same concept
because in businesses,
this is what’s new.
People are so in tune with just
to keep up and run their own
they don’t pay attention to
what’s new.
Now what’s the extension from
Well, as people start using
voice-activated devices
more and more and more, what
voice-activated SEO?
You know Amazon, probably
the smartest company
in the world, is pushing you to
and do everything.
Well, how is SEO working?
I’m learning, I’m figuring it
how SEO is working.
Why aren’t y’all?
Because if you’re that
person that walks in
and says, “You know what?
“In your business, here’s
five different places
“that you can use Alexa.
“Here’s the devices, here’s
how ya use Alexa, show.
“I’m gonna script out
all the commands for you.
“Then I’m also gonna show you
“to use SEO so that when someone
“‘How do I order Mavericks
“there’s already a script,
there’s already
“connected to those keywords,
and they come to me.”
That’s what we’re doing.
That’s a unique opportunity that
can spend an hour a
night teaching yourself.
Within three weeks, you’re the
and you can go charge 30, 50,
$75 an hour.
Then you send me my
$25 an hour commission.
(audience laughing)
– [Man] Thank you.
– Thank you.
– [Adam] Hi, Mark, I’m Adam
I’m an MBA student here–
– Hi, Adam.
– [Adam] I had a question for
you about
television and entertainment.
I’m not curious what you’re
but how you watch.
Are you a cord cutter?
What services do you subscribe
Then also, do you have any
predictions on
what the media business is gonna
look like
and what the old-school
like a CBS or that ilk, needs to
to survive the next five
to 10 years and beyond?
– Sure, I use everything.
There’s not a service I don’t
There’s not a platform I don’t
use it on
because, like I said, I wanna
stay ahead
and I wanna be able
to kick your all’s ass.
That’s one.
Two, in terms of transition,
traditional television’s dying
I just read something that
for 18 to 49, ratings are down
in just two years.
There’s a challenge there.
The unknown question for
traditional television
is as people age, like as Greg
gets older,
(audience laughing)
does he revert to traditional TV
or do you stay with streaming?
That’s part two.
Now the bigger question.
Sorry, Greg.
I get the same shit all the
time, too.
The biggest question in all of
that is 5G.
Because 5G changes everything.
I’ve been trying to convey
to those industries that
5G with zero latency
and much higher speeds is going
to cut
the broadband cord.
For those of you, like you might
your internet first thing when
you move
into a new place or whatever,
not anymore.
You’re not gonna wait
for the cable to come in.
You’re just gonna order 5G
and it’s gonna be wireless,
it’s gonna connect
with your phone and everything
Maybe you put your phone
in the little holster
that connects your apartment or
or whatever it may be.
When you have zero latency
like that everywhere,
then apps will change
and how you consume all
types of content will change.
It can be a lot more interactive
of the zero latency, so
we’ll see more of that.
These are all the types of
that I think we don’t have the
answers to
that will impact all those
That’s what I pay attention to.
– [Adam] Thank you.
– [Alexander] Hi, my
name is Alexander Heyman
and I am–
– Alexander Hamilton?
– [Alexander] Alexander Heyman.
– Heyman, okay.
– [Alexander] Heyman,
like hey, man, what’s up?
– Heyman.
(audience laughing)
– [Alexander] Today I
wanted to ask you about
how to make passive income.
I’m a musician and that’s
what I wanna do full time,
but on part time–
– Seriously?
(audience laughing)
No, not the musician part, go
for it.
The way you make passive income
is to start with a whole lotta
(audience laughing)
– [Alexander] That
wasn’t about my question.
– Go ahead.
– [Alexander] I have a set of
I wouldn’t say it’s–
– Oh, good for you, good for
– [Alexander] Set aside–
– Good for you.
– [Alexander] I’ve done a
(Mark claps)
couple successful calls
and puts on stocks.
(Mark claps)
I was wondering what
your method to investing
and diversifying–
– Couple things.
– [Alexander] Your portfolios?
– When you’re looking
at investing in stocks,
you always have to realize
you’re buying from is not an
There’s a reason why they’re
selling it.
Chances are, they spent
a whole lot more time
than you have in trying
to figure out why to sell.
Now that’s not to say you can’t
make money
every now and then
’cause it’s not easy to beat the
The pros can’t beat the pros.
Typically I tell people two
One, if you have any debt, pay
it off
because that debt, paying off
that debt
is a guaranteed return.
If you’re paying 19% on your
credit card.
Now if you pay it off within 30
more power to you.
Most people can’t.
But if you pay off that
debt, you just made
19% on your money.
Second way to do it, you buy
toilet paper?
You buy toothpaste?
Get that 30% off, buy more of
Stacks of toothpaste.
(audience laughing)
Razor blades in particular.
I bought all the razor blades
I’ll ever
need for five years.
I got my 40% off, I made 40%.
– Do you have a plane for those
(audience laughing)
kind of items?
– I have a big closet though.
– A little cargo plane somewhere
– Where I store it all?
But seriously, just being a
smart shopper.
If you know you’re gonna be
$5,000 worth of these things,
and you can save 40% on those
versus how you otherwise might
buy it,
that’s a return that’s passive
Most people just don’t
think of it that way.
Paying off your debt,
being a smart shopper
and taking advantage of bulk
or whatever it may be is two.
Then three, just SXP funds.
Really low-cost mutual funds.
At your age, you just put ’em
and forget about it.
– [Alexander] Yeah, I have
– There ya go.
(audience laughing)
You’re way ahead of the
game, congratulations.
– [Alexander] Thank you.
– What’s your latest hit so I
– [Alexander] I’m working
for Kendrick Lamar’s engineer
over the summer.
– Cool.
– [Alexander] I’ll be
releasing my song very soon.
You can check it out on–
– Under what name?
– [Alexander] Under Heyman,
like hey, man, what’s up?
(audience laughing)
– There ya go.
(audience applauding)
– [Alexander] My song is
about never being in debt
and always paying your credit
(audience laughing)
– Guys, we have only time
for one more question,
so I’m sorry for those of
you that stood in line.
We have time for one more
question on this side.
– [Rashiv] Hey, Mark, thanks so
for coming and talking to us.
– My pleasure.
– [Rashiv] My name’s Rashiv,
I’m an undergraduate student
My question is I heard Reid
saying that in order to scale,
you gotta
do things that don’t scale.
Like when he interviewed
Airbnb, he’s like,
“Okay, don’t try to make
a three-star experience.
“Try to make like an 11-star
That sounds awesome, but all the
right now in startups is agile,
Build an MVP, get feedback,
build it a little bit more, get
How do you reconcile those?
How do you build something
amazing, but start,
and then other people–
– You ask your questions ’cause
it’s all,
you ask your customers, it’s all
If you have a great experience,
then they’re gonna be happy.
11 is great, like, oh, my God is
but if ya can’t get to 11,
just ask your customers.
Whatever it is you’re doing,
just be better than that.
Airbnb can talk about an
11, but if you’ve used
Airbnb, I think they rented out
my old apartment.
You’ve just gotta put yourself
in the
best position to succeed by
taking care
of your customers.
Just like I told that
first customer I had,
I’d walk your dog, whatever,
you just gotta have that
and go out there.
But you do have to have
There’s never been a
business in the history
of businesses that
succeeded without sales.
Customers will tell you by
whether or not
they spend money with you.
– [Rashiv] Sounds good,
thanks so much, Mark.
– Why’d you wear a suit?
– [Rashiv] I forgot my
Indiana jersey at home.
(audience laughing)
– That’s fast.
(audience applauding)
– That’s good, I give him
– Okay, I’m gonna get in
We’re gonna do one more.
– [Mahmoud] Thank you so much.
Mark, I’m an NYU graduate from–
– Everybody else can sit down
we can’t take anymore.
– Go ahead.
– Thank you.
– [Mahmoud] My name is Mahmoud.
I graduated from NYU School of
about a year 1/2 ago.
– Thanks, Mahmoud.
– [Mahmoud] I have been
working in venture capital
in New York since then,
and my technology knowledge
has helped me out a lot in that.
Now I’m in the process of
setting up
a venture fund.
I have two questions basically.
A lot of the students
here, they’re all from
other parts of the world, not
Eventually because of
immigration laws
and work laws and
everything, a lot of them
will end up going back to their
home countries, essentially.
– That’s unfortunate.
– [Mahmoud] Do you have any
advice for
people who are in this room
who have acquired a lot of
and learning from here
and now want to go back?
Then the second question becomes
how important is venture
capital, essentially,
and doing anything about
your learning there
and taking it back to
the industry or whatever?
– Well, the first thing I would
is really talk to every
single person you know
that’s eligible to vote,
and kick ’em in the ass
and make sure they vote.
(audience applauding and
Because that’s the only
way it’s gonna change.
But that’s your way to help
control your own destiny.
Get out there and volunteer.
You don’t have to be an eligible
to volunteer for the
candidates that you support
or you think really help.
In terms of venture capital,
I’m not as big a fan of vulture
as a lotta people.
(audience laughing)
I’m a really big fan of sweat
Because once you take money from
everything changes, right,
(audience laughing)
It’s just different because
when it’s your baby, and even
you might be capital
you get to call all the shots.
Once somebody else comes in,
everybody’s got their own
If you can do it without taking
that’s always the best bet.
If you need to go out and get
friends and family.
Once you get friends and
family, or if you can’t get
friends and family, then you
to start getting, like the last
was talking about, MVP,
most viable products,
and moving and starting to
create sales.
Because if you can get a company
that’s generating sales,
maybe even profits,
then hopefully you don’t
have to raise money,
but if you need to, you have–
– [Mahmoud] The question I was
would you have advice for a
person like me
who’s going back to their
country again
in a few years, setting up a VC
that taps into the ecosystem
of innovation here to the
of the industry there?
– Look, anytime you get to
your networks, that’s something
is great at, then take advantage
of it.
But it depends on the country
and it depends on the laws
and it depends on the
cultural norms there.
It really is individualized,
so I’m not really
the person to speak to that.
But good luck.
– [Mahmoud] Thank you.
– Great, so thank you for the
(audience applauding)
Now you’re gonna see three of
best presentation from NYU.
– Cool.
Now we need everybody to
go du-du-du-du-du-du-du.
(audience laughing)
– We’re gonna take one second.
They’re gonna move these chairs
Somebody’s gonna do that.
Oh, yeah, oh yeah, we’re
gonna give you a gift now.
– Cool.
– Come on, let’s give a gift
and a big round of applause.
(audience applauding)
I’m doing a selfie here with
you, Mark.
Gonna get a selfie with the
whole crew.
My class knows this is
our signature selfie.
Oh, I forgot my selfie stick
(audience laughing)
somebody gave me.
– I would not do a picture
with a selfie stick.
(audience laughing)
– Come on, everybody
has to at least pretend
to be clapping.
(audience applauding)
Thank you.
All right, let’s get ready to do
We’re gonna have somebody
who’s gonna be doing the
– Mm-hm.
– Yes.
– Yes.
Hi, everybody.
I’m Cynthia Franklin.
I’m Director of Entrepreneurship
at the W.R. Berkley Innovation
and I also have the pleasure of
the Startup Lab, which is
an undergraduate course
here at Stern.
I just wanna shout out
to Startup Lab students
that are out there.
Thank you very much,
many of them are wearing the
ideas never sleep garb.
They are helping out, so thank
very much, students.
(audience applauding)
Normally I’m quite witty and
but I’ve been told I
have about 13 seconds,
so I’m just going to do a
seven-second commercial.
That is to invite
everyone here in the room
who is an NYU student,
alum, faculty member who is
in starting a venture or who’s
in the process of starting a
we’d love to work with you.
That’s what we do.
To the last question there,
or the next to the last question
regarding MVPs, we have
a bootcamp this Sunday
in this very room on concept
testing and prototyping.
It’s not incongruent.
You can do both.
We work a lot with that at the
W.R. Berkley Innovation Labs.
It is my pleasure to introduce
three teams that we’ve had the
of working with over the years
who have come out of the,
a lot of programs at NYU because
has a lotta resources, but most
the 300K Entrepreneurs
which is the single largest
entrepreneurship initiative
that my team puts together here
at Stern.
First up will be Josh Sakhai
of Ephemeral Tattoos.
Go for it.
– Ephemeral Tattoos.
(audience applauding)
– Can I borrow your clicker?
Hey, Mark, hey, guys.
Thank you for having me.
– What about Greg?
– Greg.
I didn’t even see you, you look
so young.
(audience laughing)
How are ya?
I’m Josh.
– That’s a great one.
– I’m the co-founder and CEO of
a company
called Ephemeral, and we’re
talk about tattoos.
Tattoos have become this massive
of our culture.
Right now, about 90 million
Americans have tattoos.
Most people I’ve spoken
to who don’t have one
have thought about getting one
because, well, they’re pretty
But what isn’t awesome
(audience laughing)
is the regret that comes with
Tattoos are permanent, but
people change.
Your lifestyle, your
it’s all gonna adapt as you
start to grow.
Figuring out what you want for
the rest
of your life can be really hard.
Forget about removing tattoos.
The only way to remove tattoos
is with laser surgery.
That’s actually my friend
Seung’s arm.
He went through laser.
Paid 500 bucks for one session.
Left him with permanent scars.
He was told to come back 10 more
over two years.
He didn’t go back.
If you wanna get a tattoo,
you’ve got two options.
You can get one of those kinda
temporary stick-on tattoos that
last two weeks, or you can get
that lasts forever.
There’s really no space in
That’s why we started Ephemeral.
We’re the team of Ph.Ds
in chemical engineering.
We’re creating tattoo inks
with different lifespans.
These inks are applied by tattoo
the same way they would
apply any other ink,
but fade away completely
and on their own.
The first product we’re
is a four- to six-month tattoo.
We’re opening up our shops by
end of 2019
right here in New York.
Now, Mark, you might be thinking
maybe tattoos could be a thing
for me
when I was younger.
I wouldn’t forget my
girlfriend’s name.
But I’m a little older now.
– You wanna see my tramp stamp,
(audience laughing)
– That’s awesome.
(audience laughing)
Honestly, I think you’ve gotta
to some Mavs games with some
Imagine how pumped up
(audience laughing)
they would be if you walked into
the next game like that.
I think they would go wild.
In all seriousness, we see a
huge application in sports.
Players and the fans can
support the teams they love.
I think you’d be the best
guy to lead that effort.
(audience laughing)
We started off research on our
around four 1/2 years ago
in a tiny little lab space,
literally just one bench, up in
Over the last four years,
we’ve taken the research
through in vitro studies all the
to early human studies.
When I say early, I mean really,
really early.
Right now, the tattoo industry
around $2 billion, just
north of that in the U.S.,
but we think this market could
be so much larger.
We’ve spoken to around 500
around New York and learned that
of ’em who don’t have tattoos
actually want one.
The only thing holding them back
is a lifetime commitment.
Not even just opening the market
to these new consumers,
but changing the way
people purchase tattoos.
Instead of getting three tattoos
in their lifetime, we
think people are gonna
be getting three tattoos every
They’re gonna come to Ephemeral,
fall in love with their pieces,
they’re gonna go away and
they’re gonna come right back.
A bit about the team.
I was born and raised in a
Jewish family
in Long Island that hates
Came to New York to study
computer science at NYU.
Now, obviously, I run a tattoo
(audience laughing)
Our CTO and co-founder Brennal
was a
former adjunct professor here at
He most recently came from the
Open Innovations group at
Our VP of engineering and
Vandan was actually Brennal’s
while he was doing his Ph.D at
They’ve worked together
over the last four years.
A bit of company history.
We started here at NYU.
The first two years were
thank you, Cynthia,
entirely off of these super
non-diluted funding,
competitions, grants,
any free capital we can get our
hands on.
NYU is a huge supporter,
so thank you, guys,
for helping us get there.
Two years later, towards the end
of 2016,
we got our first lab space,
started to do some studies.
Raised around 500K in
small free seed round
angel and small VCs.
Went through Techstars.
Towards end of 2017, raised our
round of venture.
Mark’s advice is good advice on
This year, we scaled up our
We’re scaling up from
three subjects to 50.
Should be opening up our first
I think somewhere there
it says partnership
with Mark Cuban, but we
can talk about that later.
(audience laughing)
Thank you, guys, for your time.
If you wanna learn more,
always feel free to shoot me a
Wanna get some tattoos,
you know where to go.
Thank you.
(audience applauding)
– So when do you release your
and what’s kept you from
releasing it so far?
– Yeah, so R and D’s really
it takes a lotta time.
In our business, particularly,
there’s a long feedback cycle.
If you wanna get a tattoo–
– Feedback on what?
Feedback on what?
What is the element of the
that requires feedback that
you’re uncertain about?
– Good question.
Watching the tattoo as it starts
to fade.
One thing that’s important to us
and important to our
customers is making sure
that your tattoo doesn’t
look like crap one month in.
It’s gonna last six months, and
it looks
like crap for more than 1/2 that
that’s not a nice product.
Something that’s really
important to us
is optimizing its fading
– That’s crazy.
First of all, no one’s
gonna expect perfection.
Just one line to remember,
perfection is the enemy of
You don’t need it to be perfect.
You’ve already raised $3.3
million at what valuation?
– Most recent price was on 12.
– On 12.
You’ve sold 25, 30% of your
depending on the earlier
valuations, right?
You don’t wanna have to raise
Why do you think it has to be
in how it fades, as opposed
to just telling somebody
everybody’s skin type is
gonna react differently
to the fade.
So it’ll effectively work
for at least a month.
What’s it cost you for the ink?
– Ink is cheap.
– Right.
The time is just the time
from the tattoo artist, right?
They’re gonna charge
that separately anyways,
so why wouldn’t you already have
your store and say, “Look, it’ll
be great.
“Based off of your skin type,
“here’s a little chart.
“We’re teaching our tattoo
“based off the chart.
“You’ve got 30 days for
sure, and we’re only
“gonna charge you 10 bucks.
“The tattoo artist will
charge you whatever,
“depending on the complexity.”
Then we’ll learn because
people are trying it.
– That’s a great question, great
For a while, that wasn’t our
We were having trouble getting
the ink
to go into the skin, stay in
and heal nicely.
Just now we started to
solve those problems,
and this has started
to become our concern.
If we keep talking to
– Wait, wait, wait,
wait, wait, wait, wait.
So you’re saying it didn’t work.
– Well, didn’t work is
a little challenging.
Let me clarify for a second.
– It’s very binary.
(audience laughing)
– No, to the extent that it
we were getting ink to go in the
and go away, but it
wasn’t lasting very long.
It was lasting less than 30
Something we had to work on–
– So why didn’t you come up with
a two-week tattoo?
– You can just get a sticker.
– What’s that?
– You can just get one of those
– But still, you’ve got the
upside of it
being able to be retained.
Come back every two, three
The point is, like someone said
you wanna be able to get it out
As long as you set the
the right way.
You might not sell as many,
but at least you’re
going to get the feedback
and as long as there’s no threat
of injury or threat of
which it doesn’t sound like
you’re concerned about.
– No.
– Then why wouldn’t you
just start doing it?
I’m sure the differentiation is
off of skin type, right?
– Sure.
– The ink and the skin type,
which is gonna be a variance
so you can’t promise a specific
of time anyways.
Why wouldn’t you just do it now?
– These are great points.
– Well, that’s why I’m here.
(audience laughing)
You didn’t answer the question.
You’ve talked around it.
– At this point, we haven’t even
the ink to look that great.
– Well, that’s a problem, right,
because that’s not what you
You said that you’re going to
Either it works or it doesn’t
Does it work?
– Define work.
(audience laughing)
– Do I say that looks like shit
or I can live with that?
– It depends, but it doesn’t
look great right now.
– What’s even worse is if you
oh, I thought it was gonna fade.
If that–
– That’s not the issue at all.
– That’s not the issue?
– It’s going away.
– It’s gone, gone?
– Yes.
– What does it take for you to
from two weeks to four weeks to
six weeks?
‘Cause that’s the uncertainty
from an investor’s perspective.
How do you solve that problem
and what is the solution?
– Engineering.
That’s exactly why we’re doing
the labs.
Slight changes to the
formulation, slight tweaks.
– Is it engineering or is it
chemistry or?
– Engineering.
– Engineering.
Explain that ’cause
that part I’m uncertain
in dealing with inks.
– We have two more presentation.
– Okay, sorry.
– You’re starting to fade away.
(audience laughing)
– It’s a great idea.
– Very short presentation.
– It’s really a great idea.
The challenge from my end is
you’ve already raised $3.3
You’ve gotta be able to show me
that you
can effectively use that $3.3
to get to a sellable product.
Now I’ll say it again,
perfection is the enemy of
If you can get to the point
it’s not a perfect product, but
it’s so differentiated, it does
Like the henna tattoos and
people know it’s a henna tattoo.
Really, for a drunk at 12, you
went out,
you go to NYU and it’s two in
the morning
and your friends are getting a
and you don’t want a
henna ’cause you’ll look
like a bum, but you can do this
and it lasts for a month or two
or whatever, and you’re getting
the ink
and you’re going through the
whole thing,
yes, people are still
gonna say yes to that
and they’ll pay a premium for
In this particular case, you’ve
gotta know
what business you can be in, as
to the perfect business
you’re looking to solve
and the problem you’re looking
to solve.
Again, you can introduce this
and solve
that late-night problem and
at least I got a tattoo.
I saw what it was like, I know
it’s all about.
Charge a premium for
that, and then work on
your chemistry in parallel.
I think it’s a great idea.
I think you’ve already
raised too much money
for me to get involved,
but you know my email,
and so you can keep me updated.
– Sure.
Thanks, Mark.
Thank you, guys.
(audience applauding)
– [Cynthia] Okay, ladies and
please welcome Kobi Wu of
(audience applauding)
(Greg grunting)
– Don’t do that to me.
Don’t do that.
(Greg grunting)
It’s great to be back.
Thank you, everybody.
I graduated here
A15 from the executive MBA
Cynthia, thank you for inviting
I did not win, Josh won that
but that’s okay.
We’re here today.
Very excited to introduce you
to Visuwall Technologies
and introducing it
to all of you, as well.
Very simply, we are a
data-driven marketplace that is
the way for programmatic
one storefront at a time.
As you know, the face
of retail is changing,
or maybe you don’t know that,
but you can see it if you’re
walking down the street.
If you go down any
street in Your Town, USA,
you’ll see a lot of vacancies.
Those vacancies are staying
for 24 to 36 months.
Landlords are making no
money during that time.
It’s painful.
But it’s a huge opportunity
that’s been hiding in plain
What we do is we take a vacant
we put a big pretty picture in
Media, eye-level media.
You’ve seen it before.
It looks great.
But we’re doing a little bit
than creating just a
billboard at eye level.
We have computer vision
that’s sitting behind every
that’s telling you how many
are walking by and the
level of engagement.
What do I mean by engagement?
♪ Cardi B I run this shit like
cardio ♪
– We’re gonna talk about
it for a little bit.
♪ Diamond district in the Jag ♪
– Turn it up, my team.
♪ Certified, you know I’m
gang, gang, gang, gang ♪
♪ Drop the top and blow the
brains ♪
♪ I said I like it like that ♪
♪ Oh he’s so handsome, what’s
his ♪
– All right, all right.
Cardi B and I, we decided that
that is engagement, those heads
and for as long as they were
Granted, I slowed it down, but
you know
that you saw two eyes
looking at that picture.
That’s very important analytics
for any brand, and not for
landlords, as well.
Visuwall is basically a
that allows an advertiser, a
media buyer,
a brand director, whoever, to go
the platform, find the location,
assess the media rate
and plan their campaign.
Production for us is turnkey.
You just deliver the artwork to
and we take care of the rest.
Then there’s a dashboard that
gives you your analytics in real
so you can see what’s going on
with your campaign
in real time, by the second, by
the day,
by the hour or at the end for a
neat and tidy report.
The analytics that we’re
providing to you,
like I said, it’s computer
so we’re able to tell you the
if it’s a man or woman walking
your approximately age and
they’re smiling, happy, sad,
disgusted, confused, what have
It’s no secret most New Yorkers
are disgusted or neutral.
(audience laughing)
The way we deliver our artwork
is simple.
The media can be a vinyl cling
that’s adhered to the
interior of a window.
You could take over the full
landscape of the window.
We call those scapes.
It’s window sill to window sill.
There’s sheets, which is four by
which is the standard
side of a bus shelter,
so you’re very familiar with
We also have a shadow box where
you can
display an actual product in the
You just pop that sucker in
and we take care of that for
Then the third is kinda the
of where we’re going.
Digital screens in a storefront
which allows us–
– Let me interrupt, sorry
to interrupt, I apologize.
– Sure.
– Not all those in the previous
were digital screens, right?
They were–
– No, those are static.
– Those are static, just sheets.
Okay, got it, okay, sorry.
– You’re moving to the digital.
– I’m moving in digital.
Digital allows us to sell it,
sell the media now instead of
where it has to stay put for
a week, two weeks, a month.
Now we can sell it by the
so 10 seconds, 30 seconds,
or even a 60-second domination.
Overall, the synopsis of our
are we’re providing incremental
to the landlord.
Thank you very much.
We’re providing demographic
and traffic analytics
that people on both
sides of the marketplace
find super valuable.
Not for nothing, we’re
increasing curb appeal.
Doesn’t it look so much better
than just
that brown paper that’s peeling
when it gets cold and it looks
and you don’t know what’s going
on inside
and you’re actually kinda
what’s going on side,
but then you’re like,
no, no, no, let me just scurry
To date, we’ve done very well.
Since we left Stern, we have
with some great brands.
We even have Uber, adidas,
Marie Claire on the hopper.
Hopefully up in window by March.
Our landlords have provided us
across New York and Los Angeles.
We’ve got about 80 on
the platform right now.
We’re looking to expand that as
grow into our broker strategy.
We are probably going to see
$300,000 in this first quarter.
Thank you.
(audience applauding)
We’re excited about
that because, of course,
that’s exceeding 50% of what it
took us
12 months to make last year.
We’re gonna be in Chicago and
by the end of this year.
We will be expanding
to additional markets,
like Seattle, Boston,
by the end of 2020.
By the end of Q2, you will see
a new marketplace and
dashboard which allows
all of you all, if you have a
to list it yourself.
Basically, we’re like an
Airbnb now, if you will.
We’ve kicked the door
in, in terms of retail,
in terms of beauty.
We’re now kinda looking at
sports and entertainment.
We feel that the journey
to arenas in order to see a game
or to see a concert is the
next thing to go after.
If you know anybody.
(audience laughing)
– But why, why?
– Because.
– Because, that’s always a good
– Because is a great answer.
No, if you’re on your way to the
brands are excited to
present their messages.
– You’re just talking about
better traffic availability?
– Absolutely.
– Got it.
– It’s a concentrated group of
that are on their way to the
But not for nothing, the brands
are in the arena now have
an opportunity outside.
We can expand that footprint.
(audience laughing)
Thank you so much.
I’m looking forward to speaking
to anybody
who has an arena in their back
or a team franchise.
(audience laughing and
– Do you have something, Greg?
– My first question
is measurement, attribution.
I get it, domination and
The brands are gonna ask you to
I see you have the dashboard.
But it has to, at some
point, convert to something.
How far down the funnel are you
taking your customers?
Or is it way, you’re keeping
way up top, branded plus?
– We are absolutely looking
digging in a little bit deeper.
With the introduction to the
QR code reader on iPhones,
people are starting to find ways
to implement that in windows,
which we’re finding helps with
at least
that click-through engagement.
We’ve geofenced all of our
and we can understand
who’s in those locations
from mobile devices.
– Good start.
– We can deliver ads directly to
mobile devices.
Tap that ad.
If you see it, it’ll
take you right through
to whatever dedicated page–
– Hold on, hold on, okay, okay.
– Now you’re excited?
– No.
– No.
(audience laughing)
– You have to explain to me
what you’re doing from a
computer vision perspective
because a lotta people say
there’s computer vision,
but just putting the little
like you have there, isn’t gonna
give you
computer vision and
it’s not gonna give you
accurate demographic information
and it’s not gonna give
you an accurate count.
You gotta tell me exactly
what you’re doing and how.
– The sensor that’s actually in
is looking at the people that
are directly in front of it.
It counts out to 30 feet.
We have another sensor that
would move
across a hundred feet.
– What technology are you using?
Because, again, and if
you just don’t know,
you don’t know, but
there are different ways,
using computer vision,
there are different ways
to count what goes in front of
Most of them fail
because once you go from,
it double counts and triple
and quadruple counts.
Walk back.
Four people, it’s hard to
There are very specific
that do that, a couple of which
are a couple of my companies
that I
have patents with.
– I know about one or two.
– That’s why I’m asking
– A, I’m open to using some of
other technologies.
– It’s expensive.
– It is.
– Put aside the camera,
you need the connectivity
because if you want it in real
Where I was gonna go with this,
you don’t need it.
– What, the computer vision?
– Yeah, you don’t need the
demographic information.
What makes this work is,
I think it’s a great idea,
but what makes it work
is you just use sheets, which
are cheap.
If you’re selling to, if
you’re going to a brand.
First of all, you’ve acquired
Like you said, there’s a lot of
real estate, so it’s a great
But what makes it work is you
don’t have
to make a capital, would make it
work good
is not having to make any type
of capital investment because
by doing it this way,
put aside using displays,
you have to have power, you
have to have connectivity,
you have to pay by the bit or ya
to pay for the setup fees,
you have to monitor it,
you have to measure it,
you have to confirm the
That complicates it
– It does.
– As opposed to, and put aside
the music.
The cost of a sheet,
like one of the sheets you have
what does that cost?
– A couple hundred bucks.
– At the most.
Even customized and everything.
Being able to say to a brand,
“Okay, on the way to the
American Airlines Center,
“or going down Fifth Avenue in
New York,
“for $27,000, we already know,
“there’s 26,000 people walking
“on any given day.
“This is the cheapest way for
“to get access to those people.
“Everybody else has got
this huge capital cost.
“We’re lean and mean.
“We’ll give you a beautiful
“that makes you stand out.
“We can change it as often as
you want.
“Pay me.”
Now your way,
you’ve complicated it because
you feel
that there’s such a need to
demographics to get everybody
on how they’re seeing that
jacked up your costs
Rather than taking the
path of least resistance,
which is always the best way
because you can iterate, you can
you can take care of your
much more quickly, and you’re
all this other ancillary
money to do the technology.
If you said to me, “Mark,
“if you wanna see my companies,
“you can go to
“I went through and
looked at this company.
“Alissa’s Cookies would be
“Because all your inventory’s
“I have this inventory that it
takes us
“three days to get the sheet
made up,”
or maybe one day if you go to a
fast print place.
“We can have it up.
“For a thousands dollars, you
get it up
“for one day to promote your
That’s easy money.
– It is.
– Then you do your split with
the real estate company–
– The landlord.
– Property management company.
Boom, boom, boom, you get to go
everywhere immediately.
You don’t have to make sure that
have power and all that other
Why not keep it simple and just
the path of least
resistance to more money?
– Okay.
(audience laughing)
– We’re running out of time
’cause we
have one more group.
– Real quick, how much
money have you raised?
– 550,000.
– Don’t raise another nickel.
– Don’t want to.
– Seriously.
It’s a great idea–
– Thank you.
– If you simplify it.
Just go where it’s easy
for people to spend money
and you don’t have any capital
Window meet sheet from customer
that paid me X amount of
depending on the traffic and how
inventory I have available
’cause then
you can vary it.
If you’re selling
everything on Fifth Avenue,
as an example, raise your
If you’re not, you lower ’em.
They can be variable pricing.
Do it that way and it’s easy
– So scrap the technology part–
– Yeah, who needs that shit?
– Oh, (laughing) okay.
– Seriously because
it’s gonna be incorrect
no matter how hard you try.
That diminishes the overall
value there.
– Hm.
– Good luck.
– Thank you.
– Thank you.
(audience applauding)
– [Cynthia] All right.
– Who’s my next victim?
(audience laughing)
– [Cynthia] Actually, you
still wanna come up, Chris?
(audience laughing)
Christopher Mitchell.
– Wait, Christopher, before you
come out,
first of all, I was remiss.
Sunday nights on ABC, Shark
(audience laughing)
I’m gonna tell you, this
is exactly how it works.
We know nothing when people walk
On TV, you see it for 10
We get in there and we might
grill ’em.
If it’s a silly deal, it
might take 20, 30 minutes,
but if it’s legit, something
like these companies,
it could go on for two hours.
– Wow.
– Then they edit it down.
What you’re going through,
it’s not just me.
There’s five idiots up there
(audience laughing)
and we’re all grilling you.
– [Kobi] I feel for those guys.
(audience laughing)
– Me, too.
(audience laughing)
Go ahead.
– [Cynthia] Christopher
Mitchell of Geopipe.
(audience applauding)
– Hey, everyone.
Have you ever thought
about what it would take
to create a perfect copy of New
San Francisco or Paris
that you could explore
in your computer?
I’m Dr. Christopher Mitchell
and I’m excited to introduce
and you all, to Geopipe.
Creating detailed virtual
copies of the real world
is a core problem across many
worlds that can be used for
simulation and interaction.
While raw data about the world,
everything from photographs to
laser scans
to maps is readily available
it’s still expensive and time
to turn this data into usable 3D
Geopipe aims to be this missing
between data acquisition
and data presentation.
For example, consider autonomous
They need to be trained in
virtual copies
of real cities, virtual copies
that show
where every single curb, lane,
tree and street sign is.
But creating those models today
can take huge teams of
artists months of time.
Geopipe aims to solve
this by understanding
what’s in the world,
not just how it looks.
Similarly, for video games, you
often want
to take a game and set it in a
real world,
but creating a model of an
entire city
can take a team of artists
Geopipe can create a
model of an entire city
in less than an hour.
Finally, consider an architect.
Even for extruding and modeling,
a plain white model of a single
can take an hour.
If you need to add detail and
and expand this to an entire
the time can spiral out
of control to months.
Geopipe allows you to
get a model of a city
at any level of detail, at any
in about 30 seconds.
We’re working within what in
is estimated to be a $17 billion
of 3D mapping and 3D modeling.
Then within this, about
7 billion will be spent
specifically on creating
3D models of the real world
for automotive applications,
training simulations,
for entertainment and for
engineering and construction.
My co-founder Thomas is rarely
without a Star Wars T-shirt,
and I really love trains.
But more relevantly, we share a
for distributed systems and
I’m Geopipe’s chief science
chief executive officer, excuse
I got my Ph.D in computer
right here at NYU.
Although Thomas almost came to
he’s at Brown.
He’s in the last month of his
also in computer science.
We have exactly the skillset
to solve this problem, and we’ve
15 years working together
building teams
and solving big problems.
We’ve also collected an advisory
with expertise across business,
entrepreneurship and academia,
and we now have a team
of four working with us.
We consider one of the coolest
how it works under the hood.
We start with raw data about the
that same raw data that I talked
that’s pretty readily available,
everything from photos
to laser scans to maps.
We get this data from
a variety of sources,
public, private and government.
Then we pass it through our
proprietary algorithmic
As cliched as it is, we do use
deep learning and computer
vision techniques,
and I’m happy to go into
as much depth as you like,
to examine this data
and understand the shape
and facades of every building,
the locations of trees,
the number of lanes
in roads, where sidewalks
are, where water is.
Then we go one step further,
turning this
enriched understanding of the
into detailed immersive 3D
We allow our customers
to access our models
through a simple,
easy-to-use web interface
called Contextsnap.
They simply select an area that
they need,
the level of detail that’s
to their application, and then
can download those models to use
in the software that they
already love.
We also allow customers who
would prefer
to take our models and put them
into games, simulations and VR
to use our Unity SDK and our API
to stream those worlds directly
into their applications.
For example, our Unity
SDK allows you to fly,
drive or walk through an
immersive copy
of a real city with
every detail reproduced.
– This is every detail being
– We’re getting there.
(audience laughing)
Happy to talk more about that.
We bootstrapped ourselves with
about 400K
in non-diluted funding
over the last two 1/2 years
to a first fully functioning
We’ve worked with customers in
architecture space and
in the gaming space.
We’ve had dozens of
free and paid customers.
We’re working on bringing an
$200,000 of potential annual
through our pipeline to prove
product market fit this year.
Thank you to Techstars,
to the Berkley Innovation Lab
and to other places that we’ve
been able
to refine our company
and our business model.
We’re in the process of
the coverage, getting more
building our team,
getting to ever higher levels of
We’re in the process of closing
the final chunk of a 500K
pre-seed round.
If you’re as excited as we are
understanding and analyzing the
on a massive scale, we
would love to speak to you.
We are Geopipe.
(audience applauding)
– The demo that you gave us–
– Yes.
– Didn’t have all the detail?
– Correct.
– Is that where you’re at,
and you’re in progression to get
– That’s exactly it.
– Your real challenge is
processing speed
and the time it takes
to process everything?
That’s your cost and that’s
your time consumption?
– Almost all of our
budget goes to R and D.
We have models we can produce
that are already good,
more than good enough,
for architecture, engineering,
construction companies.
– Those are physical models
that are printed out?
– No, these are virtual models.
– Only virtual, okay.
– They can look at them on a
They can print them out, but
they mostly
use them for virtual
– When you say what’s good
’cause that’s the question.
Because if it’s good enough
right now,
then you have a product.
– Exactly.
– If it’s not good enough, like
what you
showed earlier, then there’s
types of challenges.
– It is good enough for
engineering and construction.
We’ve had those as customers.
– Did anything you showed
us show us the level
of detail that represents
what you can do right now?
– Yes, everything in that is
what we
can do right now, and good
for that first set of customers.
We’re just reaching the point
we’re good enough for gaming
and entertainment applications.
– Then I’m guessing, and
tell me if I’m wrong,
the challenges now are capturing
enough data for your models,
or having the right data in your
so that you can create it with
the least
expense possible in the
least amount of time
’cause you’re saying you can do
in an hour 1/2.
– Right.
– Right.
What’s kept you from getting to
the higher end production?
– Yup.
It’s simply the R and
D time to implement–
– But what are you R and D’ing?
That’s what I wanna get to.
– We, my co-founder and
I, both have expertise
in this area, and we’ve–
– I know, you told us.
– Planned out, yes,
(audience laughing)
exactly what we need to do.
We know what additional
computer vision techniques
we need to extract more
from the data we already
have, for example.
– Right, okay.
You’re creating the
libraries or you’re using
third-party libraries?
– We’re creating the libraries.
– You’re creating libraries that
can take
a picture, extract the data that
you need
to be able to re-create it, and
you use
other sources of data into your
to be able to find what you
already know?
– Right.
– Right?
You’ll take satellite, not
satellite data,
but you’ll take actual data
– Could be satellite data.
– Yeah, but those are typically.
Okay, could be whatever data.
Then you need to be able to
more from the computer vision to
more discreet data.
Then you need to have
the processing power.
Writing those algorithms
to extract more CV, more
data from computers,
from pictures,
is gonna be time consuming
and it’s not easy.
Otherwise, you’ve already done
it, right?
– Right.
– How long, when, how many more
how many people?
– Then if I can add to that.
– Please do.
– How are you gonna make,
what’s some easy money
that you can make along the way
to help your burn and help
pay some of the bills?
– To answer your question first,
that’s why it’s good that we
have customers whose needs we’re
in terms of the level of detail,
because those are customers who
are already paying us and giving
us money.
– How are you charging them?
– We are charging either
on a monthly basis,
depending on the number of users
at those companies that
are on the platform,
or on an annual basis.
That works well.
– You’re saying these are the
and the destinations
we’ve already created?
You have access to those models?
– Right.
– You pre-configure certain
and you say, “Here’s the level
of detail
“that we have.
“Does that fit your need?”
– Exactly.
– If it’s like a game
where it doesn’t have
to be too detailed, then you’ve
saved ’em a bunch of coding
and they just download the model
and they input it into Unity or
– Correct, right.
– Why not go bigger with that?
Because that seems to
have a decent size market,
to Greg’s point.
– Yes, and that’s exactly
the point we’re at now,
of expanding our marketing
to get more people, that product
in front of more people.
We do not wanna fall into the
of letting perfection be the
enemy of actually making money,
so we’re working on getting
to just use that plugin for
get them hooked, and then get
– How many people do you have
on the CV algorithms and that
side of it?
– We have three people working
on that.
– Okay, three people.
You wanna use the 500K
in your pre-seed round
to do what?
– We wanna hire two
additional backend engineers
to work on exactly that, as well
as a
sales and business lead to keep
getting it in front of more
across the enterprise.
– Are you working with any of
processing manufacturers, like
or the new Google stuff?
Who are you working with there?
– We’re working with Nvidia,
we’re in
their Inception Program.
We work with Google to
get access to their cloud.
We’ve gotten several
hundred thousand dollars
of credit that saved us from
to spend money on servers.
Well, AWS and Azure, as well.
We’re also looking to work with
of the companies that have more
than we’ve been able to
get our hands on now.
– Have you written this at all
to custom?
If I understand it right, you
three major sellers.
One is selling it because you
to get people to trust it.
Two is your extraction
because you’ve gotta get
into the detail of it.
That’s just, like you said,
that’s research and development.
Then three is your
processing speed and time
because that $200,000 in credit
is very dear to you because that
can be enormous, particularly as
test everything, because
you’re gonna be doing
all your limits and all that
kinda shit.
It takes a lotta time
to try to get it right,
a lotta trial and error.
How are you gonna deal with that
and can you write it
to specific processors,
like some of the new ones
that are being developed?
– Yeah, so, in fact, we
don’t have to write it
for specific processors.
– I know you don’t have to, but
you need
to get it to the point where
it’s so fast
that someone doesn’t have to pay
a ton of money or it doesn’t
take you
as long to test.
– Right, but we’re using things
TensorFlow where we let somebody
spend the R and D time on
giving us GANs that we can use
to look at a three-dimensional
point cut
and understand this is
a tree versus this is–
– No, I understand using
and then it’s already on AWS
and you’re doing all that.
But where I’m trying to get to
in terms of potential investing,
is if you can do it much faster.
‘Cause Google’s not gonna
optimize to you.
None of ’em are gonna optimize
to you.
If you get to optimize to you,
for your GANs, whatever,
or your neural networks,
then you can have multiple
running at the same time,
one feeding the other,
and you can get shit done a lot
Is that an opportunity?
– It is an opportunity.
– At what point in time do
you get to that opportunity?
– We’re already going after
When we generate these cities
in about an hour, that’s about,
generally, four dozen processors
– What does it cost you?
Assuming you didn’t have AWS for
’cause you’re gonna run
outta your credits here
any minute, what’s it
gonna cost you per minute?
– About $15 an hour per
Just running the numbers, it
takes us–
– So $60.
– Yeah, it takes us a few
hundred dollars
to generate out an entire city.
Then we amortize those costs.
We then resell those models.
– As you get more discrete
that’s gonna take more
– That’s gonna scale up,
– Look, I like the idea.
I don’t really know the industry
at all,
but obviously if you’re able to
unique CV algorithms that allow
to get to the level of detail to
from external data points
and train your models
very quickly so you
can bring in new cities
and new destinations,
that’s a unique opportunity.
– We think so.
– For your pre-seed, what’s the
that you’re working for?
– We’re raising that on $4
million cap.
We have circled 400K of that so
and we’re raising the final
hundred K.
– 500K more or 500 total?
– 500 total.
We have 400 already, getting the
last 100.
– Now I’ll negotiate with
you ’cause I’m a shark.
Yeah, reach out to me,
you’ve got my email.
– Excellent, will do, thank you.
– Wow.
(audience applauding and
Thank you.
– Thanks very much.
– Thank you.
That was pretty cool.
So, Mark, thank you for coming.
– My pleasure, thanks for having
– People are gonna go to dinner.
Maybe next year in 2020
you could come back.
– Right, I’ll call you
from the White House, cool.
(audience laughing)
(audience laughing)
– Thank you, that was so good.

11 thoughts on “Fireside Chat, Q&A and “Stern Tank” with Mark Cuban”

  1. this is great but i don't think this is a fireside chat. First off that was one person speaking to a public audience ( the president to america) within the context of an intimate, private-looking environment. this is an interview with two guys in director's chairs not sitting directly in front each other but slightly askew towards the audience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *