When Mark Cuban wants to get involved in something you automatically assume these days that it’s a homerun if not a grand slam. For many businesses that’s a correct assumption considering Cuban has helped build up successful businesses all around the globe.
However when it came to the Hoverboard space I can tell you it was the complete opposite. The only homerun hit was by Mr. Cuban, and his masterful business decision to NOT get involved.
Mark's money can buy him anything and in the Hoverboard space that meant almost buying the rights to the “Hovertraxx” patent (in the US), the “Chic” patent (in China) and having complete global control over a market that was blowing up both literally and figuratively.
Early incidents of fires and injuries had just started to pop up around August/September 2015. Right around the same time period various other issues had risen to the surface such as false patent claims, exclusive licensing claims, litigation, cease and desist letters, varying celebrity endorsements, and severe price differentiation and price discrimination.
In my eyes Mark made an extremely educated, and savvy business decision to stay away from this firestorm (pun intended) of an industry. While on the inside at PhunkeeDuck it seemed like we had the best thing since sliced bread, for someone like Mark this industry had “Fad” and “Headaches” written all over it.
Mark clearly saw the rising tidal wave of issues that were emerging with this extremely "Hot" product (sorry for all the puns but its too difficult to avoid using them!!). No matter how exciting a product might be, if enough logical reasons keep popping up telling you "NOT" to get involved, than it is on the individual to listen to their inner psychology and make an educated decision to not get involved. Mark did this in exemplary fashion.
In retrospect its easy to talk about these things and see how brilliant Mark was in making this decision. However when you’re living and breathing your startup and during this exact time period direct discussions around a partnership between you and Mark Cuban are taking place, entrepreneurs can tend to dream, and this happened at our company PhunkeeDuck. You don’t seem to realize that a lot of what is going on in front of you is a mirage. With all the momentum and viral marketing behind your brand you have strong feelings that this deal will get done, Mark Cuban is going to be your partner and we're going to make it.
However then it all went downhill! All of a sudden Mark Cuban decides not to get involved in the industry and partnership talks with your brand break down. It was the perfect example of a seasoned entrepreneur taking a calculated risk, dipping his toes into the water, but by NO MEANS jumping head first into the deep end.
Once the Cuban deal fell apart it would have been equally as savvy on my end to have removed myself from the Hoverboard space but unfortunately I’m not Mark Cuban….yet! ; )
Stay tuned for more insight into the issues described above and plenty more detail into our discussions with Mark Cuban and his involvement in the Hoverboard space during our upcoming postings.