This quarter, Residents at The Garage at Northwestern were given a once in a lifetime opportunity with The Secret Field Trip. More than 200 Residents competed in an Instagram contest (check out some of the submissions here), showcasing their most interesting, funny, and candid moments at The Garage for a chance to hang out with entrepreneurial superstar, investor, author, philanthropist and shark from ABC’s Shark Tank, Mark Cuban on the iconic Chicago Bulls court at the United Center. Ten lucky Residents were selected and privately escorted onto the court to see the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks warm up, and meet with the man himself, Mark Cuban.
Mark spent 30 minutes courtside with The Garage Residents, sharing real life wisdom and advice with the Northwestern student entrepreneurs. After making more than 150 investments, 70 of which are Shark Tank investments, what are Mark Cuban’s best tips for student founders? First, he pressed the importance of sale and cash flow, not downloads, KPI’s, but sales to people. Second, having a “secret sauce” is essential to take off, and he encouraged students to bootstrap their startups early rather than raise money to maintain ownership of their companies and work for themselves. According to Mark, it’s good if people think you’re crazy. Student founded startups shouldn’t be aspiring to be the next Airbnb, the next Instagram, the next Uber. If you’re looking to be the next big thing, you aren’t looking in the right spot. He shared his own interests in up and coming fields like AI, neural networks, automation, computer vision, machine learning, and robotics and pushed students to continuously learn about new fields.
Finally, Mark shared some practical career advice with the students. According to Mark, if you’re straddled between maintaining a startup and taking that salaried position, take the job. Get paid to learn and learn forever.
After a candid chat with Mark Cuban, students got to stick around to watch the Chicago Bulls take on the Dallas Mavericks, capping off what might’ve been the best night ever with The Garage. For all the photos of this truly once in a lifetime field trip, check out our Facebook page.
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