Shark Tank’s Cheesy Indulgence

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Mark Cuban

When someone with deep pockets makes a mistake, it is called “an experiment.” When someone starting out or just an average Joe makes a mistake, it is considered a major blunder. Hence, the reason for my post.

Mark Cuban, one of the six rotating investors on ABC TV’s Shark Tank, admitted in an interview on Reddit that allowing a T-Mobile product placement followed by a T-Mobile commercial, right in the middle of the show last season, was in poor taste. He actually used the word “cheesy.”

We are loyal fans of the show so we will give it another shot this season, but if we start to see blatant product endorsements on the show, we are going to immediately tune out. Watching real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran talk about her ability to use her T-Mobile phone to access information about one of the on-air startups was insulting to the viewers. We all knew Shark Tank was getting paid to have Barbara say that.

Cuban’s actual excuse on Reddit was, “It was beyond cheesy. None of the sharks liked it, but we learned from it and it will be different in the future.” So what does that mean? They won’t endorse products on the air as a form of advertising, or they will do a better job camouflaging it?

Reddit is a collection of entries on a website submitted by registered users. It looks like a bulletin board system. The entries are organized into areas of interest called “reddits.” The word Reddit comes from “I read it.” Users vote on stories, thumbs up or down. The result determines the positioning of the content on the site.

Cuban was featured on Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) thread. Users posed questions and he answered them quickly and candidly.

Reddit also asked Cuban how many of the deals on Shark Tank get modified or cancelled after the cameras stop rolling? Also, had any of the Sharks ever decided to make a deal with someone after the cameras stopped?

I think you are going to find Cuban’s answer very interesting. “We get the chance to do due diligence after the show. As a result, you uncover things that were not brought up in the show, so it’s not unusual for a deal to fall through in the DD phase. I have had things like people who never paid their taxes, people who lied on the show, people who thought that spending money on their personal credit cards should be considered a business expense, you name it.”

Cuban continued, “There is so much pressure on the entrepreneur during the show that sometimes they say what they think we want to hear rather than the truth. The DD helps us separate the two.”

“How many of the deals have you had to break off in the DD phase?”

“Probably about 25 per cent of them!”

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