Mark Cuban is many things. He is a technology entrepreneur, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, investor on ABC’s Shark Tank, and family man with three GenZ aged children. What you may not know is that he is also the founder of a text messaging app called Cyber Dust.
Cyber Dust is a private messaging app that deletes a users text messages, called dusts, 24 seconds after they are read. Cuban likens this to a normal private face to face conversation between friends. Messages never hit a hard drive so when they disappear, they’re gone for good. Also, the platform can detect screenshots. You would be notified if a screenshot was taken but the way the application is set up your name nor information never appears in a dust screen.
It is fitting that Mark Cuban is the creator behind this technology; especially knowing the backstory. After an eight year litigation battle with the SEC over insider trading allegations, which brought into question electronic communications from Cuban, he decided to build a disappearing messaging system to create the equivalent of a live, personal conversation that was, and would remain 100% private. The theory behind this is that as soon as you hit send on any electronic communication you lose control and ownership of the message, but you don’t lose responsibility for it. Cyber Dust texts are highly encrypted and cannot be monitored or stored.
Privacy technology like Cyber Dust is exactly what Generation Z craves. Having grown up as digital natives in a world where they have always been connected to the internet, Gen Z doesn’t separate their online and offline lives. But, they have seen how fast something can go viral, the negative effects of picture hacks, and the regret of not being able to take back a comment or post. While the idea of posting numerous selfies and blasting out status updates across social media swims upstream to previous generations ideals of internet privacy, Gen Z is actually quite savvy when it comes to privacy settings. They are concerned mostly with sharing their information with select friends, groups and brands. They can toggle between “do-not-track” browsing modes and platforms utilizing location services with ease. Overall, Gen Z is gravitating towards apps that allow them creative expression and anonymity.
Enter Mark Cuban. While Cyber Dust wasn’t built with the intention of being the go-to platform for Gen Z communication, it is well on its way to reach that status. I decided to check out Cyber Dust for myself and see what it was like. Having been a long time subscriber to Mark Cuban’s personal blog I knew that he is always on the cutting edge of technology, and at times, controversial. So when I registered, I was pleased to be assigned 10 initial default friends – one being Mark Cuban himself under his handle name: BlogMaverick.
Under Cuban’s handle ‘BlogMaverick’ he has a profile description opening himself up to receive AMA questions. AMA stands for ‘ask-me-anything’. Since I had just been featured in the news for an after school academy program I created teaching elementary students about entrepreneurship using a Lemonade Stand business model, I sent him a text message about that. Here are a few highlights from our text conversation:
Chad Collins: “How would you describe Generation Z?”
Mark Cuban: “Lazy.”
Chad Collins: “In your opinion, is the lemonade stand business model the best way to teach younger kids to be entrepreneurs?”
Mark Cuban: “Watching Shark Tank is first. A lemonade stand is second =)”
Chad Collins: “What would it take for you to stop and buy lemonade if you saw a stand in your neighborhood?”
Mark Cuban: “I love to help innovative and motivated kids. I always stop and buy the lemonade.”
The shock and awe rests in the fact that Generation ‘Lay’-Z is actually the most entrepreneurial generation to date. They get characterized as the digital generation that are multi-device whizzes, while prior generations simultaneously assign them a reputation of being lazy and ADHD.
Together, Cuban and I did reach agreement to each do our parts to benefit this generation. Mark will bring the technology through continued entrepreneurial pursuits, and I will continue to educate Gen Z and inspire entrepreneurship through holding a Lemonade Stand Academy.
About Chad T Collins:
Chad T. Collins is an educator and advocate for Generation Z as well as a contributing writer to Business Innovators Magazine on topics of Education, Entrepreneurship and Career Branding. For more information, please visit: http://facebook.com/ChadCollinsCMO
Mark Cuban photo credit Getty – Steve Jennings