Why Mark Cuban Despises Meetings and Phone Calls But Loves Email
And why Cuban feels every small-business owner should become a ‘reading machine’ on four specific subjects.
This article was shared on Inc.com.
Mark Cuban. Realist? Definitely. Optimist? Absolutely.
During an exclusive Inc. “Ask Me Anything” session yesterday, Cuban said, “We will get to the other side of this, but it won’t be business as usual. There will be an America 2.0, and that’s the greatest opportunity ever for entrepreneurs.”
Naturally, Cuban was asked how small businesses can navigate the pandemic.
His top tips:
- Be transparent with your employees. Not only do they deserve it, they’re your best source of ideas.
- Be open to making major changes. Don’t dwell on someday getting back to “normal.” Focus on what your new “normal” can and should be.
- Don’t follow the herd. Do what most other companies are not doing.
- If you have the resources, don’t be afraid to advertise. Rates are down, and not only will you stand out now, you’ll be perceived as a stronger company over the long term.
Cuban was also asked how to be more productive.
“I’ll tell you exactly what I’ve done for the past 20 years,” Cuban said. “I don’t do meetings or phone calls. I’ll do a meeting if you’re going to write me a check. I’ll do a meeting if there’s a really good reason to help close a deal … other than that, it’s email.”
Cuban’s reasoning is simple. Meetings often drift to a start, and then a close. Phone calls start with pleasantries and often end the same way. In short, what Cuban calls “unproductive” time.
“I try to drive everything to email for a couple of reasons,” Cuban says. “One, I can do it any time of the night. Two, it gives me a tickler file of all the things I’m doing, what’s undone, or unread. I try to keep those to under 30. And three, if someone emailed me 10, 15, 20 years ago, I still have it … I can go back and look it up and figure out what we talked about. That makes me even more productive. In a work-at-home environment, with everyone using email and the cloud … I try to encourage people to do it the same way.”
Of course, being more productive — and spending less time commuting — can result in more free time than usual. What does Cuban recommend you do with the extra time you gain?
“Where I make my money is I try to stay one step ahead,” Cuban says. “So I’m a reading machine. I read for hours every day: books, online, courseware … ”
Cuban focuses on four subjects:
- Healthy buildings. Post-pandemic, the work environment will be different. Not just health, but also green energy.
- Robotics. In American manufacturing 1.0, overhead and other expenses were more expensive in the U.S. Robotics overcomes those costs, so investing in robotics as a nation will drive a massive ancillary employment and service ecology.
- Precision medicine. Individualized medical care, tailored medicine, specific treatments for each individual.
- Artificial intelligence. The PC revolution, the networking revolution, the internet revolution, cloud computing revolution … Cuban feels A.I. “blows them all away.” Cuban recommends taking an intro to A.I. class on Coursera, watching YouTube videos, or, if you’re “geeky,” reading the first book he read on artificial intelligence, The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World.
As Cuban says, “We will get to the other side of this, but it won’t be business as usual.”
So stop holding so many meetings. Stop holding Zoom conferences just to “check in.” Stop making phone calls when a brief email will suffice.
And use the time you save to start getting one step ahead.