The economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis has devastated small businesses throughout Texas, as shelter-in-place orders have forced the shuttering of most offices, shops, and restaurants. Business owners have been forced to navigate this unprecedented situation.
To offer a little bit of help, Texas Monthly teamed up with the Texas Business Hall of Fame to host a Facebook Live session on Thursday in which Mark Cuban, a billionaire investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, answered pressing questions from entrepreneurs in need of a lifeline.
During the hour-long discussion, Cuban spoke with Texas Monthly editor at large Tom Foster about a wide range of topics, including how he overcame one of his own early and unexpected business challenges, the paycheck protection loan program, and how America can bring a new type of manufacturing industry back.
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Participants in the Facebook session also drew upon Cuban’s tech expertise. He was asked how small businesses can leverage artificial intelligence in this difficult moment. He took the opportunity to speak to a greater need for self-education by entrepreneurs as the world evolves into a place of AI haves and have-nots. Because small businesses can’t afford to invest the billions of dollars that companies like Google, Facebook, and IBM can, it’s even more incumbent on business owners to teach themselves about the potential of technology.
“You’re going to have to understand AI in terms of your decision making,” Cuban said. “When we get on the other side of this, it’s going to be used for things that you probably didn’t anticipate.”
Foster also asked Cuban about how up-front business owners should be with their employees—even, or especially when, they face a dire financial situation. “You’ve got to be completely transparent,” Cuban said. “The worst thing you can do, the most horrific thing you can do is say, ‘It’ll be okay,’ and then three days later lay people off.
To hear more about these and the other topics Cuban addressed, watch the full video of the discussion below.