I knew from profiling him in the past that billionaire entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge Mark Cuban prefers to do interviews by email. And even though I am personally a fan of the phone interview, because I love a good follow-up question (“and how did that make you feel?”), I wasn’t going to get in the way of another busy parent getting it done.
So here is what Mark Cuban said when I emailed him to ask about how parenthood had affected his thinking and his career.
How old were you when you became a father, and how do you think fatherhood changed your perspective?
45. Holding your newly born child in your arms changes everything. It’s the first time I ever felt what unlimited love felt like.
Lots of people say they were “transformed” by parenthood. Did that happen to you?
Of course. Just the look, feel or smell of my kids can change my day. And as they got older, it became even more so. I enjoy them more now as teenagers than as infants.
What was the childcare split between you and your wife?
She makes all the general decisions [about] school and the like for the kids. She spends the time to learn all that needs to be learned. Then we discuss, but I defer to her. Plus I travel, so it’s more natural for her.
What were you responsible for?
Technology, sports, and dad jokes.
Did you ever take paternity leave?
No. But I work a lot from home.
What’s your perspective on paid family leave for men?
I’m fine with it. I think it has to be there. But I prefer customizing it to the family rather than a set period. So far no one has really abused it in my companies.
The stereotypical entrepreneur is a young college dropout in a hoodie, but lots of the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank are parents inventing things for other parents or kids. How do you think parenthood affects entrepreneurship?
Necessity is the mother of invention. Entrepreneurs solve problems. Being a parent doesn’t make you a better or worse entrepreneur.
Did you ever have a professional rough patch when your kids were little?
Not because of my kids. But sure. Who doesn’t? My bigger rough spot was when my two girls were young and I realized they gravitated more to their mom’s interests than mine. I got caught up some with my son being born. The girls didn’t take to poop jokes like my son does :)
What have you learned from your kids?
The joy of innocence. That it’s OK to be childlike as a parent. That as an older father, I have to work a little harder to stay in shape to keep up. That things I thought were essential, like reading books, can evolve to learning via video and other means. That it’s not the medium that’s important, it’s their level of curiosity and desire to learn.
What’s your biggest parenting mistake?
What’s your biggest parenting hack?
Look at their TikTok to know exactly what they are interested in.
- Why House Democrats Refused to Save McCarthy
- The 100 Best Mystery and Thriller Books of All Time
- Inside One Indian iPhone Factory
- What Happens to Diane Feinstein's Senate Seat
- Self-Silencing Is Making Women Sick: Essay
- The Enduring Charm of John Grisham
- Kerry Washington: The Story of My Abortion
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time