Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Mark Cuban’s Start-Up Investing Tips: Buy Now! Bonus Advice: How to Manage 5,000 Emails a Day

I spend a lot of time talking to start-up companies and start-up investors, and I hear two distinctly different schools of thought:

  1. Things are brutal! We’re about to see companies falling like flies this year as they run out of money. And those that are able to get money are getting it on terrible terms.
  2. Things are great! We’re about to see companies falling like flies this year as they run out of money. Which means that the remaining ones will be worth investing in–at reasonable valuations.

Put Mark Cuban in the second camp. More or less: The billionaire investor claims he’s never been that interested in valuations, period–just whether or not the companies he’s looking at can make money.

The SEC might argue with that, but Cuban didn’t talk to me about that when I saw him last week at the Consumer Electronics Show, where he was promoting a live 3-D broadcast of the BCS college football championship.

He did explain his start-up investing philosophy, though. Key takeaway–if you’re pitching Cuban for an investment, don’t tell him that you plan on flipping your company.

Bonus advice from Cuban, who prominently posts his email address everywhere he can, and consequently gets 500 to 5,000 emails a day: How to manage a full inbox using Gmail and a Sidekick. He’s got some (off-color) advice for Google (GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt, by the way: That kicks in around the 3:30 mark, if you’re interested.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik