Mad Money

Q&A With Cramer and Cuban


In this segment, Cramer and Mark Cuban took time to answer questions from some of the Hoosiers in the audience. Kyle from Indiana wanted to know how Cramer went from a beat reporter in Florida to Wall Street legend. For those of you who haven’t read Confessions of a Street Addict (shame, shame), here’s the story:

Cramer was in Tallahassee covering Florida State University football when he was unlucky enough to be living next to the sorority house made famous by serial killer Ted Bundy. It was a harrowed journey through journalism until he landed back at Harvard, where he’d earned his undergraduate degree, for law school. It was during his time there that he realized he had a talent for picking stocks. A friend, Marty Peretz, gave him a chunk of money to invest and the rest is history.

“I’m very lucky,” Cramer says. “I’m in a lot of places at the right time. And I think you can never underestimate how important luck is.”

Quiz Cramer

Matt from Indianapolis wanted to know if Cramer and Cuban had secrets of success to share with those students who are about to graduate. Cuban’s answer: Find that thing you love. And if you don’t find it on the first, second or third try – keep searching until you do. Once that happens, get to work, he said.

“You don’t have to have all the answers when you graduate,” Cuban told the audience at Assembly Hall. “You don’t have to have the final job that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with. Don’t be afraid to take chances … you’ve got nothing to lose, so go for it.”

What about those YouTube comments, Bailey from Chicago asked? “It was never a question of whether YouTube was popular or not,” Cuban answered, explaining why he thought YouTube, now owned by Google , was going to be sued into oblivion for copyright infringements. “It’s really easy for anybody here to create a really popular site if you steal all the content you can steal.”

YouTube has been sued by Viacom and other people, Cuban said, and they can’t lock down licensing deals. The bright side of the situation is that Google has so much money it can handle the lawsuits, and they won’t hurt the company or the stock, he says.

Cramer asked whether the new video site in the works from News Corp. and NBC Universal (CNBC’s parent company) will overtake YouTube, but Cuban didn’t think so. YouTube’s biggest threat is the courts, he said. One of the most important things the NewsCorp.-NBC Univeral site will do is offer a platform for advertisers. Google Video and YouTube can’t offer that.

Finally, given Cuban’s success during the dot-com era, it only makes sense that Rob from Indiana would ask what the next big thing on the web is. Cramer answered first, saying that “the web is making TV small the way TV made radio small … and I think your generation knows it better than mine.” Cramer says companies should be putting people in their 20s in high-level positions because the older executives are missing the boat.

In typical maverick style, Cuban took a different approach. He said the web is old news. “The internet’s nothing new,” Cuban said. “It’s like electricity used to be a big deal.” Budding entrepreneurs should “go find the next thing.”

Questions? Comments?