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Mark Cuban: The Billion Dollar Man

We chatted with the 'Shark Tank' star about his fears, failures, and successes as he preps for a guest appearance on ABC's 'Cristela.'

Businessman and TV personality Mark Cuban speaks onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
Getty Images

It may seem like Mark Cuban has done it all, but the businessman turned Shark Tank TV star will be dipping his toes in a different type of ocean as a guest actor on Friday's episode of ABC's Cristela

We chatted with the billion dollar man about his hit reality series, what it was like to work on a sitcom, and lessons learned as one of the hardest-working and successful investors in the world. 

Check out the interview below, as well as an exclusive sneak peek from tomorrow night's episode of Cristela.

Zimbio: We love your philosophy on failure and read that you once failed at a powdered milk business. Is there a particular venture that failed in the past, but would find success with today's consumer?

Mark Cuban: My first Shark Tank deal was with a company called ToyGaroo. For $40/month, they shipped you $300 worth of toys for your young kids. When the kids got tired of them, you just shipped them back. They had 1800 subscribers and were on their way to a great business. Unfortunately, success requires the founders to get along. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn't get them to work things out. It should have worked then and would work now.

Z: We're obviously used to seeing you as a shark on Shark Tank. How was it to act in front of a live studio audience for Cristela?

MC: I love to act. It's so different from business. In business, you try to take control of every situation. In acting, you have to lose all inhibitions and control and just react. Cristela, the director, and cast made it so easy. Everyone just had fun, which let me try things and even made me look like I had some comedic timing. I'm really proud of the show. They are breaking new ground and the fact that I got to be a little part of it and talk Mavs was amazing. I can't wait to watch it and I'm available for any future roles, in case anyone asks!

Z: If sitcom acting didn't make you feel out of your element, what does? Do you have any fears/phobias?

MC: I'm terrified of heights. I get revolted by olives. I despise golf, but that's all. 

Z: Going back to Shark Tank, what is the most outrageously terrible product/idea that has ever been pitched? What would you tell that entrepreneur today? 

Every hug and 'I love you, daddy' I get from my kids isn't weighed down by concerns about what I can provide for them.

–Mark Cuban

There are so many. The absolute worst was RoloDoc. They thought they could string together buzz words and call it a company and product. I would tell them that self-awareness is an incredibly valuable trait for an entrepreneur. You have to be brutally honest about yourself and your business. They needed to find their first semblance of it. 

Z: You're worth an estimated 2.6 billion dollars. Have you purchased anything recently where you had to take a step back and think "Really? Did I really just buy that?"

MC: Not for a while, but I would be lying if I didn't shake my head and wonder how this happened to me. The best part of being "OMG rich" is not having to worry about the little financial things that I worried about for so many years. That freedom allows me to realize that every hug and "I love you, daddy" I get from my kids isn't weighed down by concerns about what I can provide for them. I get to fully enjoy every one of those moments in a way I never imagined I could. 

Z: You've found great success in sports, technology, and entertainment. Is there a certain industry that you're hoping to tap into? What currently interests you?

MC: Personalized medicine. Our world is going to change in ways we can't even imagine by the time my kids have kids. The idea that their parents bought medicines that were "one size fits all" instead of being formulated for each person will seem barbaric. You, me, and your mom taking the same medicine sometimes will make them shake their heads in disbelief. Beyond that, it's privacy when your body essentially turns into a math equation. How you protect who you are and what you share will be critical.

Z: We always want successful businessmen/investors to tell us what to do. What's the one thing we shouldn't do if we're hoping to launch a business?

MC: Listen to someone who doesn't have to deal with the consequences of their advice.

Mark Cuban's episode of Cristela will air Friday, November 7 at 8:30/7:30c on ABC. Check out a sneak peek of his appearance below. A special military-themed episode of Shark Tank, featuring Michelle Obama, will follow at 9/8c. 

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