Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Doing someone else's job - owner, referee, ice cream maker, hairstylist (Mark Cuban)

For each of us, there are some jobs that we are suited for, and there are jobs which would not be good for us. I could not work in the National Football League, but most football players probably couldn't sell public safety software either. One exception: Dan Pastorini, who previously worked for DataWorks Plus (DISCLOSURE: My employer is a competitor to DataWorks Plus).

Mark Cuban has done a lot of things, and sometimes likes to tell other people how to do their job. In a famous incident in 2002, Cuban - owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks - had some choice words for the NBA's director of officials, Ed Rush.

[Cuban] said the league's director of officials Ed Rush "might have been a great ref, but I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen."

Needless to say, the National Basketball Association was not enthused with Cuban's comments, and fined him $500,000. (This is a reminder that the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment only applies to government censorship of speech, and has no applicability whatsoever to private organization censorship of speech.)

One other entity had something to say about Cuban's statement.

Minnesota-based Dairy Queen's response came Thursday in a news release:

"We are certainly impressed that Dairy Queen is top of mind with Mark Cuban. We like the publicity he's generated for us. But Mr. Cuban may be surprised to find out how much it takes to manage a Dairy Queen. We invite Mr. Cuban in to manage a Dairy Queen for a day."

So a little while later, Cuban flew home from a Dallas Mavericks away game and headed toward a Dairy Queen in Coppell, Texas.

He arrived at 6 a.m., after flying home from a Mavericks game in Atlanta, and began training by 6:30.

Kim Skeffington, a regional field consultant whose duties include working with new managers, spent about two hours teaching him the finer points of curling soft serves and mixing a frozen dessert.

James Kelly, who waited about two hours to be first in line, ordered a strawberry version of the dessert — which Skeffington made — then had Cuban sign a novelty $1 million bill.

Cuban's first cone for a customer looked squished on top.

“Be patient with me, please. I'm new at this,” he said with a wink and a smile. “It might not be pretty, but it works.”

Cuban was asked about his supervisor at the Dairy Queen - and Cuban imagined his supervisor in another job.

“I'd love to send Parrish up to the NBA to have him give them a lesson in exactly how to communicate,” Cuban said. “When anybody needed to interact with Parrish, he was right there to answer the questions. That's the way you run a business. If Parrish just went up there and just took a look, we'd be a lot better off.”

All of this occurred back in 2002, but Cuban has continued to look at other jobs. For example, he'd like to be Donald Trump's hairstylist:

Donald, you shave your head, $1 million to any charity you want.

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