Mark Cuban's advice to Ivy League students: 'No balls, no babies'

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Mark Cuban: 'American Dream Is Alive'

Here are 9 lessons and insights from Mark Cuban during his visit at the University of Pennsylvania.

A few weeks ago, Mark Cuban dropped by the University of Pennsylvania for the Authors@Wharton Series to share some stories and insights from his life as a billionaire serial entrepreneur, an active investor and Shark, a father, the vocal owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and the author of the book How to Win at the Sport of Business. Here are some of the lessons, insights, and takeaways from the one and a half hour session he had with us, including his biggest piece of advice: "No balls, no babies."

1. The American Dream is alive

"I don't do the show (Shark Tank) to get deal flow. I do the show because it sends the message that the American Dream is alive and well. Shark Tank is the No. 1 show in all of television watched by families together. And everyday people come up to me and say, 'I watch the show with my 12-year-old, my 15-year-old, and for the first time they're interested in business.' And to be able to get kids excited in business ... I call it the new-age lemonade stand. It sends the message that anybody can start a business, anybody who works hard can be successful, and that's why I do it."

2. Learn the language of business

"If you are not taking up business now, getting an MBA is fine. If you don't understand the basics of accounting, finance, marketing, it's the same thing. For me, my goal is to always carve my own destiny and reduce my dependence on others as much as possible. If you don't know the language of business and you always need somebody to translate for you, that's a problem."

3. Be relentless

Cuban was asked whether or not he would have invested in the young Mark Cuban, and his reply was, "I think I would, simply because I was relentless, whether it was selling powdered milk, buying stamps, whether it was the bar business. No matter what it was, there was no question that you would get effort from me. There was no question that I was going to do whatever it took to try to get you your money back, and so I probably would."

4. Learn how to learn

"The skill that was most important to me that I learned in Indiana was to 'Learn how to learn.' The one thing that is essential that you need to take out of going to school here is that you should never stop learning if you want to be successful, because none of us live in a world we're born into ... the beauty in technology and why I love it so much is there's the people who invent something, then there's everybody else. Everybody else starts at the exact same point learning those same technologies. And so, if you know how to learn and if you're excited about learning, you're willing to invest your time to learn, you can move forward. If you don't, you will fall behind."

5. The very worst judge of your abilities is you

"It's very, very hard for entrepreneurs to be self-aware. We lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that this idea is the best. I'm able to do this thing better than everybody else. Or this is faster, better and we find ourselves describing our ideas with an -er and -est without realizing that the competition is looking at themselves in the same way. So as an entrepreneur, as somebody looking at any type of business environment, you have to be looking at yourself from a different perspective. You have to understand what you suck at in order to fix it, and you have to understand what you're very good at in order to get better at it."

6. Know what you're good at

"I know what I'm good at. I'm not a perfectionist. I'm disorganized. I'm like ready, fire, aim and so I try to partner with people who complement that skill set so they can keep me organized. I try to take advantage of my being disorganized and try to move fast. Sometimes I move too fast, and that leaves some holes, so I have to go back and fill those gaps."

7. Be nice

"Being nice pays. Would you rather have business with somebody nice? One of the ways to be incredibly successful no matter what you do is to reduce the stress of those around you. If I have the chance to be nice to somebody, I'll do it, because the best branding in the world, the best customer service and best customer connection, and the best employee connection is just being nice and reducing stress. Sometimes just being nice makes all the difference, because everybody wants to do business with somebody who is nice."

8. You only need to be right once

"It doesn't matter how many times you fail. You hit it once and you're an overnight success. No one keep tracks of your failures. No one remembers. No one cares. You guys don't think less of me because I tried to sell powdered milk. It doesn't matter. The beauty of being young is you can just go out and try starting a business and try something new."

9. No balls, no babies

"My favorite saying is, 'No balls, no babies' ... you've just got to be there and you just have to go for it. There are going to be times when you take the chance and just think to yourself, 'No balls, no babies.'" You can view the full video of Cuban saying it here.

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Mark Cuban's advice to Ivy League students: 'No balls, no babies'
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban stands behind the Dallas bench in the opening minutes against the New York Knicks during their NBA game February 24, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Mavericks won, 110-108. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 17: Owner Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks looks on during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on January 17, 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Mavericks defeated the Suns 110-107. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team owner and business man Mark Cuban walks with his legal team to the federal courthouse after a break in his inside trading trial in Dallas, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Jurors in the federal government's insider-trading lawsuit against the billionaire began deliberating Wednesday in federal district court following a trial that spanned three weeks. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team owner and business man, speaks to the media outside the federal courthouse after a verdict in his inside trading trial in Dallas, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Jurors said that billionaire Mark Cuban did not commit insider-trading when he sold his shares in an Internet company in 2004 after learning of a development that would dilute the value of his investment. The jury in federal court found that the SEC failed to prove several key elements of its case, including that Cuban traded on nonpublic information. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Billionaire Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team owner Mark Cuban, center, walks with his legal team to the federal courthouse after a break in his insider trading trial in Dallas, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Jurors say billionaire Mark Cuban did not commit insider-trading when he sold his shares in an Internet company in 2004 after learning of a development that would dilute the value of his investment. The jury in federal court found that the SEC failed to prove several key elements of its case, including that Cuban traded on nonpublic information. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, speaks with members of the media as he exits federal court in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013. Cuban said he doesn't recall details of a conversation in which he was allegedly warned that information he received about a company was confidential. Photographer: Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, exits federal court in Dallas, Texas, U.S., on Monday, Sept. 30, 2013. Cuban goes to trial over regulators' claims he engaged in insider trading when he sold his stake in a Canadian Internet search company nine years ago. Photographer: Ben Torres/Bloomberg via Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: TV personality Mark Cuban attends the 2013 American Music Awards Powered by Dodge at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/AMA2013/Getty Images for Dodge)
The Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (24) is hugged Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban after the Mavs' 90-82 win at the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA,PA - NOVEMBER 16: Owner of the Dallas Mavericks Mark Cuban looks on against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on November 16, 2015 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 16: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, looks on prior to the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on November 16, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES CA - OCTOBER 29: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, follows the action from behind the bench during the third quarter of the basketball game against Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center October 29, 2015, in Los Angeles California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, Investor, Entrepreneur and Owner, Dallas Mavericks, offers his critique to finalists at the Global Startup Showcase, as one of four judges at 2015 WSJD Live on October 20, 2015 in Laguna Beach, California. WSJ D Live brings together top CEOs, founders, pioneers, investors and luminaries to explore the most exciting tech opportunities emerging around the world. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, and his wife Tiffany Cuban arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The U.S. and China announced agreement on broad anti-hacking principles aimed at stopping the theft of corporate trade secrets though President Barack Obama pointedly said he has not ruled out invoking sanctions for violators. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Dallas Mavericks basketball team, left, and his wife Tiffany Cuban arrive at a state dinner in honor of Chinese President Xi Jinping at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Sept. 25, 2015. The U.S. and China announced agreement on broad anti-hacking principles aimed at stopping the theft of corporate trade secrets though President Barack Obama pointedly said he has not ruled out invoking sanctions for violators. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
SHARK TANK - Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary is a 'Shark' on ABC's 'Shark Tank.' (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
SHARK TANK - Mark Cuban is a 'Shark' on ABC's 'Shark Tank.' (Photo by Bob D'Amico/ABC via Getty Images)
Dallas Mavericks' Mark Cuban in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban reacts to a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Monday, Nov. 16, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban jokes with Boston Celtics forward Jae Crowder (99) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban watches from the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
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