Technology entrepreneur Mark Cuban has been very fortunate during his lifetime. In a podcast interview, Cuban admitted, “Being a billionaire requires a lot of luck, a lot of great timing.”


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Cuban reasserted this stance on Twitter when a follower asked him, “What is the meaning of life in 4 words or less?” In response, he typed back: life is half random.

While this may not seem like the most insightful of responses at first, let’s dig a little deeper into what Cuban really meant by it.

Luck, timing, and effort"One thing we can all control is effort. Put in the time to become an expert in whatever you’re doing. – Mark Cuban quote

To give you a bit more background, Cuban became a billionaire after selling his company to Yahoo in 1999 for an impressive $5.7 billion at just the right time. It was the peak of the dot-com bubble when investors were excessively pumping money into internet-based startups.

But to reach that fateful point, he went through an arduous learning process so he could launch his very first company. Cuban explains in a blog post how he devoured manuals, books, magazines, and any resource on technology he could get his hands on. At the same time, he worked small-time jobs and slept on the couch or the floor of a rundown apartment. The little money he had was spent on learning.

Ohe day, he spotted an ad in the newspaper and put on his only suit to interview for the role of a software salesperson. This was the turning point that started Cuban’s career in the software industry.

“I tell people all the time, the one thing in life you can control is your effort,” Cuban says on the podcast.

Get it right once

After Cuban was fired from his job as a software salesman, he opened his own company called MicroSolutions. In 1990, he sold it for $6 million. Of course, everyone around him said it was merely “luck” and “good timing.” Just as they would tell him again years later when he sold

No one wanted to talk about all the hard work and dedication it took for Cuban to reach that point in his life. “All that matters in business is that you get it right once.” He says, “then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.”

But to get it right you need to be prepared. Cuban adds, “You have to work hard and try to put yourself in a position where if luck strikes, you can see the opportunity and take advantage of it.”

What about you?


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An interesting fact you may not know about Cuban is that, just like you’re doing right now, he would read countless stories about successful people. He would also drive by mansions and dream about the day he could live like them. Dreaming was a large part of his day-to-day, and it’s likely a key ingredient of yours too.

But if dreaming was all Cuban did, he would never be the famed serial entrepreneur he is today. Luck may play a part in everyone’s lives, but don’t make the mistake of depending on it entirely. Make a list of your goals, break those goals into plans, then turn those plans into action steps. It’s time to make your move.

Never follow your dreams. Follow your effort. It’s not about what you can dream of. That’s easy. It’s about whether or not it’s important enough to you to do the work to be ready to be successful.

— Mark Cuban