- Mark, it's great to see you. It's great to have you kicking off CES. It's important to me to have you here, Mark, because you may not recall this, but we first met when you were at broadcast.com and we had this idea that we could extend CES's reach through broadcast.com and we cut a deal and it's been a great relationship ever since.

- I do remember that. I mean, it seems like yesterday, but it's been a lot of years. But yeah, that was the early days of streaming when people didn't really understand what streaming was and you had the foresight to think, "You know what, let's take the show and take it global," and we did.

- That's right. And then you started coming to CES. I don't know if it was through us or not but you fell in love with this new thing called high-definition television, tell us what happened then.

- No, it's funny. I actually went to my first CES back when it was in Chicago, maybe way, way, way, way back when, but yeah so with broadcast.com in the streaming industry, I recognized early on that people loved content the way they wanted to get it, how they wanted to get, where they wanted to get it. And I always enjoyed going to CES and walking around and just seeing what was new. And I started seeing these televisions that were just incredible. And as a big sports fan, watching sports, watching movies, everything was just a whole different world, and not only was the picture incredible, but they were skinny and they can hang up on your wall and they had plasma and LCD. And so to me, I saw that as the future. And so based off of what I saw, I started the first all-definition TV network called HDNet and then HDNet movies back in 2001, and the HD world was born.

- Absolutely and you know, we in Washington we're working hard to get that HDTV standard, but we had a whole effort and we created something called the Academy of DTV Pioneers. And you were one of our first big-time inductees. And you were such a proponent of HDTV in the biggest way. And you spoke around the country, if not the world, about the value of HDTV. Remember there were a lot of skeptics out there.

- Oh yeah, there were a ton of skeptics. I remember going to Fox and there was one guy in particular there. And he was saying, "Look, the difference between these analog TVs, "which were 50 pounds or whatever "and high-definition TV picture quality, "it's not gonna happen, "you're barking up the wrong tree, Mark." And I was like, "No, you're wrong, "these screens that are on your wall "these high-definition screens, "they're gonna follow the same price performance curve "as PCs and PC monitors. "They're gonna get smaller, cheaper, faster." And here we are now, you know back then 40-inch LCD or plasma cost $25,000, people literally thought I was crazy. Who's gonna spend $20-$25,000. to watch your TV network. And I'm like you just wait. And now rest is history.

- Absolutely. And it was one of the great examples where actually the United States I think did it well because we had an industry government effort. We said consumers want the best possible HDTV. You are the biggest advocate of it. You're always out there talking about it, and let's look back and say, let's be honest, we were right. And that's a nice thing to say. People don't remember though all the doubters, but one of the things is that sports has really enhanced by HDTV, and now by 4K and 8K soon. Can you talk about technology and sports and how you see that intersection?

- Boy, there's a lot that's going to change. I mean you go back to 1995 with streaming and the underpinning as I just mentioned was, how you want it, where you want it, when you want it. And back then, we had a lot of limitations and even up to recently, we had a lot of bandwidth limitations. But what really is changing is now bandwidth is fungible. It's not expensive like it used to be, it's plentiful. It's not only wired to your home but it's also wireless. And we're seeing 5G and five, 10 years from now we'll have some form of 6G. And so with all that, and the advancements with augmented reality and artificial intelligence, and virtual reality, there are going to be so many changes to how we distribute entertainment, and sports is going to lead the way. I can see with the NBA over the next couple of years that we'll see advancements in VR, and you so some people will be watching with goggles because it's such an engrossing experience. We'll have augmented reality. We'll have overlays. If you're gambling on a game, you'll see gambling related. If you're a 10-year-old kid who likes sports and wants to watch the NBA with special characters overlaid, there'll be overlays for that. We'll use AI to enhance the picture. We're already starting to see things now, where they're with the chip sets that are coming in televisions using AI, it will be able to identify what's on the screen and present different types of formats, information, whatever it may be. In this AI world, Gary, the sky's the limit, and as processors get faster and bandwidth gets faster. What we see today 10 years from now we're gonna look back and think it's archaic.

- You know that sports has certainly adapted. Usually it's not that quick, but you've had to adapt really quickly in the last year. You know, the NBA bubble, it was one that was successful. Can you talk about how that decision was made and how everyone was able to react so quickly? Any, like, inside view of how that occurred? What the issues were?

- It was crazy. Obviously it was the Mavericks, our team, playing the Denver Nuggets on March 11, 2020, when the NBA shut down. And it was stunning. And we had to focus first on, what was the science and what's the technology in order to keep our players, or our staff or stakeholders safe. And once we got to the point where we thought we could do that, by keeping everybody in a very protected environment that we called the bubble down in Orlando with Disney, we were able to finish our season. And little known fact, we replicated that bubble for "Shark Tank" when we filmed "Shark Tank" this season as well. And so I think the NBA did a great job. Now here we are in the 2021 season, and we're going to different arenas and it's a little bit more difficult, but we have to be agile. And I think that really is at the underpinning of what the NBA and all sports are trying to do. We have to be very agile. You have to pay attention to the science and you have to be very considerate of safety because if we can't keep our employees safe, then we always have to reconsider.

- Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned "Shark Tank" actually because it's one of our favorite shows in my house,

- Thank you.

- And congratulations, I see that it's coming Friday nights on ABC again, that's fantastic. You've been there since the very beginning. I just have to ask, I didn't know about the bubble, first of all, I was wondering how you were doing it and look so comfortable on the set, but obviously so those people are in your pod, right?

- Yep.

- Are they still in your pod or is it expired?

- That is expired. My pod expired a long time. We went to the Venetian hotel in Vegas, and we just took over the entire hotel for two pods in August and September of about 10 days each. And it was very strict filming. If you watch a show Friday nights on ABC, you will see that, we are more than six feet apart from each other. We don't go and hug the entrepreneurs if they get a deal any more. We were very, very strict. And we went through that entire period without any positives. And you know, it wasn't just about shooting "Shark Tank." It was also setting a precedent for shooting shows in Hollywood. You know, people want their shows whether it's streamed, whether it's traditional television, they want to be entertained particularly now. And there was a law in production and we were able to set a standard to say, look, you can create a bubble. You can do this safely, even when cases are growing. And we were proud of that fact and obviously it also helped hundreds of staff and production people keep their jobs.

- Now that's great, and it's a great, great show, but I do have a question for you personally about "Shark Tank." How do you manage to keep track and spend the time with each one of those, how many companies are you up to that you've invested in on "Shark Tank"? What's the number?

- From "Shark Tank" alone is probably 150. Now I've sold some of them and some of them didn't quite make it over the years. You know, I've been on 10 of the 12 years. So I came on as a guest. But the way I keep track of them I have a lot of really smart people who are smarter than me, work with the companies but obviously I wanna have a connection to them and help them every step of the way. And so my kind of work hack is every week, I have them send me an email with an update on their business with bad news first. And the reason I do bad news first and what I tell them is I expect good news. I invested in you because I believe in you I believe in your company. I believe in the employees. So I expect good things to happen. It's when you have a problem that's when you have to bring me in. That's what I have to be a shark. And so I get those reports every week. So every Friday night I'm working late going through them but it's really, really worked for me.

- Well you are the tech guy on "Shark Tank" and at CES obviously we have a huge number of tech entrepreneurs and people like you. What advice would you give someone who wants to start a company who's going to CES? What is it they should be doing? What do you look for in tech entrepreneurs?

- So again, I've been going to CES for decades, And even from the first days, I would always start not with the big companies in the middle. So if you're going as an attendee, trying to figure out how you can get connections, how you can find new technology for your business, how you can maybe find customers, don't start with the big companies, because you just got to wait in line and they have all the fun stuff going on. You know you're throwing baseballs with Justin Verlander. You're making putts with some famous golfer, right? Start on the outside and work your way in, start in the small centers and work your way through that. Because that's where you find things from around the world, that you typically aren't going to just read about somewhere on the net. That's where you can see a demo of something really cool. I ran into a company called Samba, just walking through one of the halls, I think it was the Sands, that we just talked about having chip sets that analyze what's on the screen and they run data. They take that data and use it and analyze it to help advertisers determine what works for them and what doesn't work and what best to advertise on television. And that's a deal that I saw just walking the halls of CES, and I can't tell you how many times that's happened to be. And so, you know you find some of the coolest, newest, most different stuff, when you're walking where you don't see the big companies. And that's what I really love about CES. You don't just draw the big guys. You draw the companies that there's somebody who had an amazing idea, who had the initiative to start this company, may just be a one -erson show but they came to CES to show their wares. And if you can find them, you can make a great deal.

- Well, since the beginning we've run the show for the smallest company the startups and going all digital this year I'll say it's a challenge but it's been a great challenge because it's an opportunity. First of all, every startup and every big company gets the same positioning in a sense on our website on the platform. And we've tried to focus on what you talk about, the serendipity, the joy of discovery, the connectivity, and that's what it's about. We'll never recreate the love, the excitement of Las Vegas, how cool it is. And the serendipity is difficult but the communication, the personalization, the ability to discover something through keyword searches or through otherwise the conferences that's why we have them there. And when Mark Cuban walks the halls it like having Walmart walk.

- Let me just tell you one thing, not to interrupt but the sore feet gone, waiting in line in for the bathroom, gone. When going through registration and having to have the right registration information and then moving to the other line to get your badge, gone. So this virtual approach, isn't so bad. There's a lot of pluses to it.

- Well, Mark, in 2022 I'm gonna personally deliver you the registration and I would get you a bathroom, and we will give you the VIP service which we've never given you, but you are a VIP. We love having you. I'm so glad you're there. So you mentioned a few technologies. What are you really excited about for the future? Well, it's a great question. You know, everything starts with artificial intelligence and I recommend to all entrepreneurs, all CEOs, anybody in a management capacity or anybody in the technology industry, you have to understand the fundamentals of artificial intelligence. It is changing everything. And the challenge with it, isn't just understanding it but it's knowing how to apply it to your business. I've been doing tutorials, I've been doing reading books, competing in the age of AI, the master algorithm, anything I can find that really updates me, because artificial intelligence is going to change everything in the electronics industries. Already begun to change it, but that's just going to accelerate. It's going to touch ambient voice. We all heard about Alexa. Many of us have tried it, have one at home and that's just going to continue to escalate. So I think ambient voice, particularly now after COVID or during COVID, we want to be in a low-touch environment. So using our voice to initiate things is going to be big. We're starting to see it now, and almost all of our consumer electronics devices. And now it's moving to our cars as well. And so understanding AI and seeing where that goes within your part of the consumer electronics industry is going to be huge. Not understanding it at least the basics of it is like, you know, back in the '80s and '90s when I first was a kid and got started, people used to say, I don't need to know anything about computers. You know, I'll just use that typewriter over there, or I don't need to connect my computers together. I'll just carry my floppy. If you don't understand artificial intelligence basics at least, you're going to be just like those folks and you're going to be left behind.

- Absolutely, I totally agree, whether it's AI or 5G or self-driving or drones. But there's an international competitiveness going on there, and we have a new administration starting in Washington soon. What advice would you give them? What would you like to see them do? You're a great American citizen. I know you're a patriot, and I know your team's a globally exposed team. But what do you think this administration should do different?

- I look at infrastructure a little bit differently. To me Infrastructure is going to be pushing artificial intelligence and extending that particularly into robotics. We talk a lot about in this country about bringing manufacturing back. The only way we're going to be able to bring manufacturing back is if we're a leader not just in artificial intelligence, but also in robotics the way we're going to make all the little things that we end up having imported from overseas, particularly Southeast Asia, is by going to be advancing our ability to do robotics in ways that other countries can't. But the challenge is, we are not the leader in robotics. We do pretty well with software, but we're behind Japan, we're behind Germany, we're behind Korea, we're behind China. And so if we want that manufacturing base to come back here, we have to invest and get ahead there. We have to continue to invest in 5G and push forward to future levels. In future types of communications, high-speed communications, because you know the ability to communicate quickly, the ability to communicate in real time with zero latency starts to create new applications. We still have not seen the breakthrough high-bandwidth applications that I hope we'll see. There are any hundred megabit applications. Real-time a hundred megabit applications that all of us use on a daily basis. And so that's an open door for us to create new things. We haven't really pushed the envelope in self-driving cars yet and redesigning cities to support self-driving cars. So there's so many ways that the government can get involved. We talk about urban areas and we talk about changing zoning laws so we have fair housing rules. When we're redesigning and redeveloping, maybe we should start designing layouts where we recognize that Amazon and Walmart and Target, and even small companies ship in almost real time and redesign how homes and apartments are built. Build streets that support self-driving cars and other self-driving vehicles in a safe manner, so that we can start experiencing the future a little bit sooner. That's going to help our economy grow, but you know all those things are things that I think need to be important and need to be invested in for our country to stay a leader, technologically and economically.

- Great point, final question. COVID: we talked about the bubble but do you think COVID has changed some things permanently or accelerated the digital transition? And do you think it's changing where people will live? What real estate will be valuable? Say how smart cities will be constructed. Resilience, even the value of office buildings, and see whether or not will have windows.

- Yeah, all of the above. I mean, first of all every building has got to become smart. You got to know what a Merv is, the way that you filter air, you've got to understand all these things that there's got to be lower touch. And we have seen an acceleration that digital companies have a web presence. They've got to be able to deliver through e-commerce. And if they can't, then they're going to be at a significant disadvantage. You've got to be able to recognize that this, we're probably going to have other viruses that we have to deal with. Hopefully not, but most likely, and at least you have to deal with the probability that it will happen. And so how you design your offices the flow of people, whether or not people can continue to work from home you know, some companies it's OK. Other companies, it's more difficult. And so like with my companies, we're trying to allow people to work from home because it saves on commute time. It allows people to be closer to their kids. You know, we invest in home offices for them, but you also have to recognize that you want that serendipity that happens in an office that's together. So you have to design ways for people to come together. Hopefully CES can be one of those destinations where, you know, corporations will bring all their people and not just to see the cool stuff at CES but to have that communal experience together and do things together. We're talking about, our companies once a week or once every two weeks, or in some cases two or three times a week, we get together not even in an office, but in other facilities that we rent or own so that we can bring our people together to get to know each other. There are so many things that are going to change but that's also opportunity as well. You know, our streets are going to be less crowded you know. Rrom a environmental perspective, there's less pollution because there's less driving. There's so many ways we can take advantage of this. And again, going to what I mentioned earlier on what you just brought up for smart cities, we have to redesign our cities. We have to make zoning changes. We can't do protective zoning to protect this industry or that industry. We've got to make it so it's a lot easier to live a lot easier to commute, less pollution. There's so many things that we have to consider. No food deserts, no hospital deserts. It's time for a full redesign. And these changes in technology and the commitment hopefully we'll have from a new administration will be able to do it in a green manner. That makes it a lot better for everybody.

- Well, that's great, Mark. You know, a lot of people want you to run for president. And I can see why with a vision. You've always been right, Mark, about your vision for the future of technology, and I love your optimism. I share it. We will see you in Las Vegas next year for CES and good luck with the Mavs. Thanks for your time today.

- Thanks Gary, thanks for all you do. I mean, I don't think people realize that a lot of these changes in electronics industry, the push forward, that's come from you over these years. I mean, you don't stand still. You're out there fighting for entrepreneurs. You're out there fighting for the United States of America globally. And I truly appreciate all the work you and CTA has done.

- Thank you very much. It's a passion for innovation that we share and we agree that. We're both Americans and we like to see our country first. So thank you, Mark. Just keep, I'll keep cheering for you and you keep cheering for me and good luck with the Mavs this year.

- Thanks, appreciate it, Gary. Thank you.


 

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