5 Reasons Mark Cuban Thinks You Should Invest in Shark Tank

By C. Killian

Sep 14, 2012

For those of you unfamiliar with the premise of Shark Tank, it goes like this: An aspiring entrepreneur walks into a room and stands in front of five successful investors, all of whom exhibit a sort-of effortless air of superiority—what with their shoulders-back-chest-out posture and their leather chairs, positioned so perfectly equidistant from one another but also on a platform, as if to enhance the act of looking "down" while locking eyes with our suddenly clammy contestant. From here, that suddenly clammy contestant will have to ask if any of the investors would be willing to provide the money necessary to fund his or her big business idea. And for many of these contestants, the outcome is make-or-break.

So, you see, it's pretty easy to figure out where Shark Tank got its name. I recently had a chance to see the process firsthand, so I can plainly say: When an entrepreneur walks into the Shark Tank, things get pretty intense. It's almost too painful to watch, but just painful enough to make for good TV.

But I'm not here to pitch you this show. I'm handing that responsibility over to resident "Sharks" Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec, who I spoke to while I was on the set. Let's allow them to pitch us an idea for once.

Here are their top five reasons to "invest" in Shark Tank...

5. You Can Trust It: The Businesses and Entrepreneurs Are Real

It's easy to assume this is all just a scam, set up by producers to create entertaining television, but the guys insist that's not the case.

"When people say 'Is it real?' I gotta tell ya, it's real. We're not trying to make TV. We're, at least I know I am, just really, really into it. I'm trying to get the investment."
—Robert Herjavec

"And we know nothing about these companies before those entrepreneurs walk out onto the floor. All that the producers will say before [the entrepreneur] comes out is his or her name. So what's the first thing you see us do? You see us pick up the [notepad] and start writing everything down."
—Marc Cuban

4. Sometimes the Craziest Sh*t Turns Out to Be the Best Investment

I spent a lot of time talking to Cuban about the "cat guy," as seen in the video below, who he "foolishly" invested in:

How's he doing now? He's made Cuban's money back and them some:

"The reason I invested in him isn't because he was so good at drawing cats, it was because he was so creative and he was technical. Not only has he been able to do the cat stuff, and build it up and pay me my money back, but he's been able to help me with other businesses in terms of the technology."
—Mark Cuban

Another case-in-point: The Tower Paddle guy, who Mark also invested in for his skills with search-engine optimization techniques as well as his involvement with a trending new sport, stand-up paddle boarding.

"Everyone thought I was nuts [when I invested with him], but I figured 'Okay, worst case I end up with a great SEO guy and best case I end up with a great SEO guy and we make money.' But his business has gone from $18k a month to $200k a month, so he's just crushing it."
—Mark Cuban

3. You'll Learn How to Pitch Your Own Business

"When people watch the show and then realize they're going to be on the show, they'll go back and start watching the show over and over—it's like a scouting report on each of us, it's almost like a sport. I think the best way to be prepared is to know your business inside and out. Know your numbers cold. Know why you want to be in this business. Be prepared [to explain] all those different angles."
—Mark Cuban

2. You'll Witness Plenty of Shark-on-Shark Drama

If you watch the show, you'll be quick to notice the undertones of competition and (sometimes) hostility between the sharks.

"We get competitive with each other. We don't want to have the business that fails."
—Mark Cuban

"I gotta tell ya, that's been one of the interesting dynamics with Cuban on the show. He really brought the show to another level, and I hate to admit it, but I hate it when he succeeds. It makes me... I want to do better. I want to compete."
—Robert Herjavec

"Yeah, we're friends, but we're competitive as can be, and it gets feisty. It's almost like family where you get so used to the habits of other people that it sometimes gets annoying. So I have my way of doing things, he has his way—and when you see each other twelve hours a day—especially now because there's so many shooting days, you know..."
—Mark Cuban

"It's remarkable how emotional [we] get about it."
—Robert Herjavec

1. You'll Strengthen Your Faith in the American Dream

"I think everybody that comes out there has a dream. Fundamentally, the reason this show works is that everybody wants to be successful. I don't think anybody wakes up and says, 'I want my life to suck today.'"
—Robert Herjavec

"I've mentioned to the producers that I've reached out on my own to President Obama's group and I've gone out to Romney's group to say, 'You know while you guys are arguing about taxes we've had I don't know how many pitches and taxes have never come up.'"
—Mark Cuban

"You're right, we spend way too much time talking about taxes in this country. It's ridiculous'"
—Robert Herjavec

"Business tax, income tax—all of these things that come up politically, I mean we TALK to the entrepreneurs, twelve a day, from every walk of life, every part of the country, every type of business, every size business... just about as wide a cross-section as you can get. Taxes have never come up, because it always comes down to the same thing: Is it a good business and what do you need to be successful? This is what we should all be focusing on."
—Mark Cuban

Hmmm, so things got a little weirdly political at the end, but there you have it: On top of the plans you're obviously already conjuring up on how to sneak these two onto the 2012 electoral ballot, you now have five solid reasons, pitched to you by the Shark Tank Sharks themselves, to tune in.

Have you been convinced?

Shark Tank returns for Season 4 tonight at 8pm on ABC.

  • Comments (11)
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  • JT_Kirk Sep 16, 2012

    Cuban makes a good pitch here. I watched last night's episode, and my big problem is the Simon Cowell element of having to be excessively cruel to people who haven't gotten their pitches together, it comes off really nasty at times to the point where it becomes a message I wouldn't want younger family members watching. I understand the necessity of it, these are busy people that want to cut to the meat, but I just don't think it should be the focus of the entertainment. I've had discussions with my niece about the business choices that are made on the show, but when someone gets torn down it always generates negativity.

  • safibwana Sep 16, 2012

    Congratulations on posting a highly relevant comment.

  • DawsonLeery Sep 17, 2012

    If he is the Mark Cuban that I know (because I couldn't watch the show yet), he owns the NBA team, which became the champions two seasons ago, the Dallas Mavericks...

  • safibwana Sep 16, 2012

    Who's Mark Cuban? Sounds vaguely familiar. Isn't he a baseball player?

  • ral4884 Sep 15, 2012

    I've watched both Dragons Den and Shark Tank and find both of them very entertaining.I always end up rooting for the little guy. I remember one kid ( about 14 ) who was a whiz at stocks. He had already made like 70 grand and was asking for more money to invest. He got an offer and it was funny to see him go ask his parents to ok it. It was awesome. Its good to see the American Dream still exists. I was happy for the kid.

  • DavidJackson8 Sep 15, 2012

    I don't watch the show regularly, but I watch it for a bit every now and then in between commercials and such while I'm watching baseball or an actual TV show. Mostly to see the stupid or creative ideas some of the people pitch, and also slightly to see how some of them react when the Sharks give them a smaller offer than they had hoped.

    It's not bad, and provides for some decent entertainment. But obviously, I don't love it -- otherwise I'd actually try and watch a whole episode.

  • nullnull45 Sep 15, 2012

    The shark tank concept is a new one on me, like the idea though.

  • qbe_64 Sep 15, 2012

    Dragons Den: Premiered October 3, 2006 in CANADA!!

    Shark Tank: Premiered August 9, 2009.

    Herjavec and O'Leary are both originally Dragons.

    A-B-C, Always be Copying (Canadian content)

  • lucdejonge Sep 15, 2012

    ....Actually this all started in Japan, then the UK took that idea and changed the style of the show and gave it the name Dragon's Den, which is what both the Canadian and the US versions are based on, so Canada copied it first, at least the US gave it a new name, Canadians couldn't even do that

  • DavidJackson8 Sep 15, 2012

    Well, even as someone who lives in Canada, I find myself preferring Shark Tank over Dragons Den.

    While I'm not aware of the origin and so ABC may very well have "copied" it, I think it's also possible that O'Leary and/or Herjavec and/or their production company pitched the idea to US networks after seeing it work with CBC. Which, if true, would make ABC seem less like copiers and more like... uhhh... investors?

  • stanking Sep 15, 2012

    Originality is overrated. Ask Microsoft, or Google, or Samsung.