There are few people who I have more respect for than Mark Cuban. Did I just lose half my audience? Oh well. For those still here, feel free to skip the next section unless you feel the same way.
My Mark Cuban Man Crush
I can’t say that I’ve followed everything he’s ever said, but usually when he says something, I find myself agreeing to it. Sometimes when I feel something is a scam, Cuban comes out and says so. For example, here’s his take on Power Bracelets:
I’ve also written about Mark Cuban on Student Debt.
However, the best example of me agreeing with him goes way back to 2008, soon after I started writing about MLM scams. A few months after I wrote about my first MLM (MonaVie), Mark Cuban would call them as scams as well:
“There are no shortcuts. NONE. With all of this craziness in the stock and financial markets, there will be scams popping up left and right. The less money you have, the more likely someone will come at you with some scheme. The schemes will guarantee returns, use multi level marketing, or be something crazy that is now ‘backed by the US Government’. Please ignore them. Always remember this. If a deal is a great deal, they aren’t going to share it with you.”
And while this article isn’t about MLM, I have to note the irony that Dallas-based Mark Cuban calls them “scams” while I’m being sued by Dallas-based Le-Vel for have the same opinion. (* See note at the end of the article).
Have I appropriately disclosed my man-crush on Mark Cuban? Good. (Though if you see on me on Shark Tank, I’m going to try to get Mr. Wonderful in a bidding war. And since he’s a Bostonian he might just win.)
Let’s Get Politics Out of the Way
I’m “only” 6 weeks late to the party with by highlighting Mark Cuban’s thoughts on SocioCapitalism. Next time, maybe Google News will put it in the homepage that I read 3 or 4 times every day. I’m not sure why this article published around the same time suddenly became relevant to bring my attention to it.
I know I’ve “beaten around the bush” too much already, but let me quickly address: the points Mark Cuban makes about politics and people. There are going to coincide with his points:
1. Social Media Influencers are more important than traditional political endorsements
I mostly agree. Social media is greatly important and it probably has surpassed traditional political endorsements. However, there’s a lot of other media out there that shouldn’t be discounted.
2. SocioCapitalism is and has been Capitalism for Millennials. You haven’t been paying attention. Bernie has.
I agree with the points Cuban makes, but I think that he overstates the importance of SocioCapitalism in general. It can be a big deal if things go viral and/or reach a critical mass/tipping point. If I create a shoe company like Tom’s Shoes giving a pair it isn’t necessary going to beat out Nike… or even compete. That’s not say it can’t be successful, but I think it is best-viewed as a “would be nice” not a “must have.”
If you want to see an example of this NOT working visit my website: Be Better Now. I’ve donated a few hundred dollars to charity. That amounts to about as many visitors as I get on a typical month… and I have no advertisements on the website. (I admit that I’ve terribly mismanaged the website due to my other commitments.)
3. There has not been a single instance of leadership from any of the candidates
True… Cuban goes in detail how it’s just “us” vs. “them” with each party. There’s no one attempting to bridge (or even narrow) the gap. Cuban has a great conclusion, “There are new ideas in this world that matter. It would be nice to get one from a Presidential candidate.”
(Personally, I’d settle for a candidate that could pass legislation to put an end to pyramid schemes as suggested in this Bloomberg article. It might not seem like much, but it would give many millions of economically disadvantaged people a couple hundred dollars a month… a very BIG DEAL for those people. I’m a fan of easily picked, very low-lying fruit, right?)
4. It’s a problem that all the candidates appear to be technologically illiterate.
As Cuban might say on Shark Tank, “Oh Hells Yeah!” I’m not sure that any of the candidates have any grasp of technology… and Cuban explains why it is vital. Candidates can bicker back and forth about things are very subjective, but where’s the candidate that understands very basic technology? Demonstrating knowledge of technology is easy when everyone else knows nothing. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.
Yet it seems that no one really gets it. (Carly Fiorina at least made an effort, but fell very, very short.)
Finally, Cuban on Personal Finance!
Here’s Cuban point that caught my attention:
I think the real problem is the uncertainty that comes with more than half of the country having under 10k in liquid assets and about 35pct having under 1k.
I’ve been there. When you don’t have enough to buy ealth insurance, even with subsidies, that is stress. If you are fortunate enough to get insurance and your savings are less than your deductible, that’s stress. When you know that one problem with your car and you are carless, that is stress.
Much of the savings from the drop in gas prices has not been spent because of these stresses.
It reminds me of a joke from one of my favorite comedians:
We can laugh at that because of course we aren’t going to drown.
It’s not so funny when half of America has a very small emergency fund and a third not much of anything. (Seriously people, Get Dobot Now.)
Add it all up and at least half the country is stressed about keeping their heads above water. It’s not that they are mad at politicians, it’s that no one, politicians or elsewhere has proposed anything that gives anyone a glimmer of hope of swimming above their debt.
I like to say that you need to know where you are starting from to know where you are going. I recommend you track your personal finance journey with Personal Capital’s software.
I’m not saying that blogs have all the answers for America. However, there is probably a large portion of people who could be helped by the information. (Of course having the information and actually acting on it are two different things.)
Cuban’s post goes on about getting high-quality food at a reasonable price to low-income families. My thought is that Healthy Harvest on Shark Tank’s is the right idea, especially given John Oliver’s food facts on how much is wasted:
It’s just a matter of logistics in getting the food to the people. I have to believe that shipping the food is a solvable problem. We’ve been shipping food for years right? Also, the world appears to be drowning in excess cheap oil. Maybe the devil is in the details.
(Thank you for following me on the journey of this blog post. I realize it was all over the place. I simply felt like I needed to reiterate the financial problems that many in the country face. Perhaps, if we work together, perhaps we can bring financial knowledge and help to everyone.
* This article is not targeted or aimed towards Dallas, Texas, or any particular state. I’m noting the coincidence Mark Cuban’s and his views to an international audience about MLM and my own views to a similarly international audience. This website is very rarely geared to a particular state and when it is, it explicitly and clearly stated such as Can You Fix California’s Budget?. I shouldn’t have to include this disclaimer at all, but it’s better to be safe, clear, and transparent, due to the number of scammers who want to harass me with lawsuits for expressing my opinion in order to help consumers.