Entrepreneurs

Mark Cuban: ‘When you're 22, 23, 24, there's no such thing as failure’

Photo by John Lamparski

Young people looking to land that perfect first job may be soothed to hear billionaire tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban's perspective: Any job you get is a good opportunity to learn.

"Kids who are graduating today, they ask about jobs and things they should do and everything, and I always like to tell them, you don't have to get the perfect job," says Cuban on The Thrive Global Podcast.

"When you're 22, 23, 24, there's no such thing as failure, really."

The point is to get started and learn as much as you can.

"Whatever job you take, you're getting paid to learn. And you just spend however many years paying to go to school, and you paid a lot of money, probably still owe money. Take that job. You're gonna get paid to learn, and if it was like my experience where I learned what not to do and I was getting paid, it was still well worth it."

Finding your strengths is a matter of trying, learning and trying again, the tech billionaire says.

"I truly believe each and every one of us is really good at something. Right? The hard part is finding out what that is." -Mark Cuban, "Shark Tank" star

"I also tell kids, I truly believe each and every one of us is really good at something. Right? The hard part is finding out what that is and going through all the different — kissing all the frogs before you find the prince of the job, right? And I think you have to try and experience as many things as you can, and once you get there then try to be as good as you can at it."

After graduating from Indiana University in 1981, Cuban himself had a string of failed starts in the professional world. "I had quit or been fired from three straight jobs," including from a software company, says Cuban in an interview on ABC's "Shark Tank," where he is a judge.

But the experiences taught him something valuable.

"I was never into technology in college. I took one computer class and cheated at it," says Cuban.

"But when I got one of my first jobs out of school using technology, it was like, wait, I love this. I've taught myself the program, I could go seven hours, eight hours without taking a break thinking it was 10 minutes because I was concentrating so hard and so excited and really loved it. And that's when I realized that I can be really, really good at technology."

Cuban went on to start a systems integration computer company, MicroSolutions, which he sold to CompuServe in 1990. The success that turned him into a billionaire was when Cuban and his friend Todd Wagner launched AudioNet, which became Broadcast.net. They sold the start-up to Yahoo for $5.7 billion in April 2000.

"I was never into technology in college. I took one computer class and cheated at it." -Mark Cuban, billionaire tech entrepreneur 

"One of my favorite sayings is, it doesn't matter how many times you fail, just have to be right once. Then everybody can call you an overnight success," says Cuban. "I've failed a company that sold powdered milk, I failed the jobs I've gotten fired from. And all those were learning experiences."

Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

See also:

How Mark Cuban went from a working-class family in Pittsburgh to a self-made billionaire

Mark Cuban and 24 other leaders and execs offer their No. 1 best money-saving tip