Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban speaks with moderator KC Crain during the Mackinac Policy Conference on May 31, 2023. (Andrew Roth/Michigan Advance)
Mark Cuban may own a basketball team, but he came to the Mackinac Policy Conference to hit some zingers with his address.
During a conversation that lasted a little more than half an hour, Cuban took aim at former President Donald Trump and politicians writ large, including those in attendance at the policy conference where speakers usually extol civility.
Asked about big economic trends he’s noticed, Cuban said that he was hopeful the U.S. would reach a deal to raise the debt ceiling. The U.S. House voted last night on a bipartisan deal to do just that, but it came after weeks of negotiations that could have left the country on the brink of defaulting on their debt.
“There’s so much politics, there’s so much partisanship and it’s so f–ked up,” Cuban said.
KC Crain, who moderated the conversation, joked in response that “I did tell you we’re at a policy conference.”
“And I told you I don’t care. I don’t want or need anything from any of you,” Cuban replied to laughter and applause from the audience.
It wasn’t the only time Cuban took politicians to task.
Discussing Florida GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis’ feud with the Walt Disney Co., Cuban said, “We’re arguing about all this bulls–t that makes not a damn bit of difference.”
DeSantis last month announced his campaign for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
While politicians play games, Cuban said entrepreneurs are asking, “Why can’t I start this business, why can’t I be in any town in the state of Michigan and do something special, and watch it grow, and watch it change everything?”
“So, I can tell all those dumbass politicians: You keep on wasting your time, while I get the sh-t done,” Cuban said.
“They’re literally right there,” Crain replied, prompting Cuban to ask “Am I wrong?” to more laughter and applause.
Cuban said this is driven by it being rewarding for businesses to develop in underserved areas.
“That’s where the biggest opportunities are, because nobody’s looking there,” Cuban said. “Why do you want to be the 10,001 person doing the same thing, when you could go someplace where nobody else is looking?”
The Disney feud was just one of several that Cuban pointed to as examples of “discussions about woke businesses.”
“If I had a Bud Light right here, I’d hold it up and make you all take pictures,” Cuban joked.
Anheuser-Busch has also come under fire from anti-LGBTQ+ activists who started a boycott after the company sent Dylan Mulvaney, a trans woman, a Bud Light can with her face on it. The company caved to pressure, putting two executives on leave and issued a statement that it “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people.”
Cuban also took aim at another contender for the nomination, though not by name: Trump.
“There’s some people who have a lot of money, who like to build buildings, put their name on them, get arrested,” Cuban joked. “I’ve never put my name on anything.”
Ultimately, having diverse businesses will often be a good investment long after political debates fade, Cuban said.
“Your business needs to match the demographics of your prospective customers,” Cuban said. “Whoever you’re selling to, you will connect better if the people that work for you look like the people who can buy it.”
“Call me woke; call it DEI [diversity, equity and inclusion] — I call it good business.”
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.