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In episode 619 of Shark Tank, two guys presented the Napwell sleeping mask, an eye pillow alarm clock designed to wake you up gently by simulating a sunrise to your eyes. The guys had impressive qualifications, with advanced degrees from top schools in medicine, biophysics, computer science, and so on.

Mark Cuban responded with a rant. Mr. Cuban seemed to be saying that the product being presented was too simple for such highly qualified guys, that it must be some sort of Trojan horse for something else. The guys looked perplexed.

This is not the first time he has made similar insinuations on the show.

  1. When was the previous time he went on a similar rant? I can't remember the specifics.
  2. What does he mean? He seems to be saying that the product being presented is not the real deal, and that the entrepreneurs have something more sophisticated up their sleeves. Why? How would such a scheme benefit the entrepreneur?
  • Not sure trying to understand Mark Cuban's thought process is on topic for this site. But, it is a TV show, so... – DA. Feb 17 '15 at 0:35
  • If the product has an almost immediate need for an upgrade, or is obviously upgradeable then it could be considered a Trojan Horse. Perhaps Cuban believes that the product can be upgraded to include other simulations than a sunrise? Perhaps he felt that there was some obvious flaw and the entrepreneurs had already forseen some necessary upgrade that would whack buyers with an additinal "hidden" cost? – Johnny Bones Feb 17 '15 at 1:33
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There is two things that Cuban hates more than anything from potential co-owners.

  • People that act like they are in the technology field yet have no innovation or anything new.

  • People that support quasi-science with false claims or little/manipulated data.

This was geared to the second point I make. The company came on the show claiming "proven benefits" of their wake up product but in actuality had nothing to show for it.

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You're on the money with point 2, he's saying he thinks they have something better up their sleeves.

By getting the investment in the first product, they'll be able to develop product 2 on the quiet.

Of course when 2 is ready, the shark won't have any stake in it, only the (now fading) product 1, as they invest in a specific thing, not usually the people.

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    This is incorrect. People have tried similar things to what you are saying but the investors explicitly make sure that they invest in a company not a product. – blankip Feb 17 '15 at 7:24
  • No usually the investor is investing in the product, yes there are cases where they agree to invest in the inventor, but that has to be mutually agreed the default is the product. If you are trying to get businesses off the ground, most people DON'T want someone buying in and getting control of everything they do, they may be willing to risk it on one product to get it to market, and maybe establish a business reputation – The Wandering Dev Manager Feb 17 '15 at 8:40

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