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Why Mark Cuban Threw Away His Watch When He Became a Millionaire

Mark Cuban said he didn't want to feel like anybody owned his time anymore.
Cover Image Source: Mark Cuban | Brian Fluharty | Getty Images
Cover Image Source: Mark Cuban | Brian Fluharty | Getty Images

Mark Cuban, the American entrepreneur who has achieved success in various businesses, recently revealed at a SXSW panel that on the day he sold his first startup, a company called MicroSolutions that gave live sports updates, for $6 million, he took off his watch and threw it away, saying that it was symbolic.

According to Cuban, he didn't want to feel like anybody owned his time, anymore. "Time is the one asset you can never get back. You can never truly own [it]," said Cuban. "I wanted to be ... in a position where I get to call my shots [and] spend time the way I wanted to spend time. That was always my motivating factor."

Cuban said the realization of working to make his time his own came from watching his father work 60 hours per week for a company that upholstered cars just outside of Pittsburgh. 

 Mark Cuban attends the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California/GettyImages/Rich Fury
Mark Cuban attends the 2019 NBA Awards at Barker Hangar | Getty Images/Rich Fury

"This time wasn’t spent to learn about what my dad did, but to learn that his job didn’t have a future," Cuban said. "His time was never his own...he wanted me to create my path." Even today, he values time like nothing else, spending most of it either with his family, helping run the Dallas Mavericks, or simply by appearing on "Shark Tank."  "I wanted to make enough money so I didn’t have to respond to anybody else,” Cuban said in a recently released MasterClass course. "I could make my schedule and live my own life the way I wanted to do it."

Today, the 65-year-old is the richest Shark on "Shark Tank" with a net worth of over $5 billion. Cuban's secret to success lies in his determination and willingness to work hard. “I’m not retired because I’m too competitive, every entrepreneur [in] the back of their mind says, ‘I want to be that entrepreneur that disrupts an industry and changes it.’ What’s better than that?” he said in a 2022 podcast episode of "Re: Thinking with Adam Grant." 


Just one year after Cuban sold the software platform to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in 1999, he bought a majority stake in Dallas Mavericks, which is currently one of the most valuable sports franchises.

Now he makes most of his money through his VC firm, Mark Cuban Companies through which he has invested in over 400 businesses to date, with the stake in the Dallas Mavericks being at the top. Cuban currently owns 85% of the NBA team, which Forbes values at  $3.3 billion. Mavericks make up nearly $3 billion of Cuban’s $5.1 billion net worth, per Parade.


Cuban is leaving "Shark Tank" where he has been appearing since 2011. So far, Cuban has invested close to $19 million across 85 companies in his time on "Shark Tank." As per Fortune, Cuban's largest investment to date was the $2 million buy-in to Ten Thirty-One Productions, which later created and produced haunted houses and more, for 20% of the business.

Some of his other notable investments on the show include Prep Expert. He invested $200,000 in this SAT/ACT prep tool. He also successfully saved the cocktail company Beatbox Beverages from crashing with an investment of $1 million for 33% equity. He is reportedly winding up his 13-year-long stint to spend more time with his family and focus on his businesses.