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September 21, 2004

Cuban's Rules for Success

Mark Cuban writes about the twelve factors of success in his blog. Read the post for all twelve. My favorite is:

11. Pigs Get Fat, Hogs Get Slaughtered. This is one I got from my partner Todd Wagner. He is right on. Sometimes you have to go for the jugular, but more often than not, the biggest mistake people make are getting too greedy. Every good deal has a win win solution. There is nothing I hate more than someone who tries to squeeze every last penny out of the deal. They often raise the aggrevation level to the point where it’s not worth doing the deal. They also raise the dislike level to the point where even if a deal gets done, you look for ways to never do business with that person or company again.

Business happens over years and years. Value is measured in the total upside of a business relationship, not by how much you squeezed out in any one deal.

If you are a lawyer reading this post, think about Cuban's advice in the context of your relationships with your clients. Do you really need to turn your copy machine into a profit center? Does every single minute of time spent thinking about a client's case need to show up on the bill? Several days ago a client complained to me about her previous attorney. She said that she would call the attorney to find out when the project he was working for her on would be done (it was already several weeks overdue), and she would get billed for the phone call! The $37.50 per call did not matter to the client financially, but she became so aggravated she not only switched lawyers, but tells everyone she knows about her experience.


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Greed greed greed!

You are preaching to the choir when you talk of attorneys who get greedy. We had the misfortune to hire an attorney who - we now believe - actively wanted our business to fail. He overcharged us (he admitted it when confronted with the fact, and refunded it only after some really firm talk - he'd planned on keeping it!) and caused numerous delays that have prevented us from opening our business this month, as we'd planned. Needless to say, not only is he not our attorney anymore, we are not saying any good things about him at all.

One of my favorite old sayings from my entrepreneurial mentor, my father. Greed gets in the way of success for so many people.


I have been both a lawyer in a firm serving clients and a client lawyer at a company. It is incredibly annoying to be charged for phone calls like that. I often didn't charge my clients for little requests. In my firm we discussed whether we should write on bills (we only did time billing) phone calls and other work with a N/C (no charge) cost.

Now I try to do value billing whenever possible.

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