There may not be many people who recognize Mark Cuban, unless said person is either a) an NBA fan (Mark is the crazy owner of the Dallas Mavericks), or b) a fan of the show "Shark Tank," where investors such as Mark invest on ideas they hear. The fact of the matter, though, is that Mark is one of the most influential tech people of the past 20 years. He was able to take advantage of the dotcom bubble, and then forsee how to avoid going bankrupt from it. So who is he?
In 1982, Cuban moved to Dallas, Texas. Cuban first found work as a bartender, then as a salesperson for Your Business Software, one of the first PC software retailers in Dallas. He was fired less than a year later, after meeting with a client to procure new business instead of opening the store.
Cuban started a company, MicroSolutions, with support from his previous customers from Your Business Software. MicroSolutions was initially a system integrator and software reseller. The company was an early proponent of technologies such as Carbon Copy, Lotus Notes, and CompuServe. One of the company's largest clients was Perot Systems. In 1990, Cuban sold MicroSolutions to CompuServe—then a subsidiary of H&R Block—for $6 million. He made approximately $2 million after taxes on the deal.
In 1995, Cuban and fellow Indiana University alumnus Todd Wagner started Audionet, combining their mutual interest in Indiana Hoosier college basketball and webcasting. With a single server and an ISDN line, Audionet became Broadcast.com in 1998. By 1999, Broadcast.com had grown to 330 employees and $13.5 million in revenue for the second quarter. In 1999, during the dot com boom, Broadcast.com was acquired by Yahoo! for $5.9 billion in Yahoo! stock.