Cuban was once asked how he defined success. He replied, “Being able to wake up every day with a smile on my face, looking forward to the day. Which is exactly how I described it when I was broke, sleeping on the floor.” While his vision of success might not have changed much over the years, Cuban is no doubt closer to his dreams than he was back in his university days. What did it take for this boy who sold garbage bags and powdered milk to become a billionaire and the envy of young sports fans everywhere? Preparation: “I don\'t really have new ideas, but I manage to combine information in ways most people hadn\'t considered,” says Cuban. Talent, innate ability and luck aside, Cuban is the first to point out that the only reason he got to where he is today is because of the research he did into the industry when he was first starting out. He learned enough about the field in order to see where the opportunities lied and how he could make his entrance. Cuban credits “knowing the industry very well” as one of his most important success factors. Hard Work: For Cuban, there could be no substitute for the time and sweat that he put into everything he did. He wasn’t born an IT genius; he read software manuals every night and spent hours in the library reading business and technology books until he had mastered the subject. It was Cuban’s hard work ethic that edged him over his competitors. Passion: “I have always been interested in innovative and cutting edge-technologies coupled with a large market opportunity,” says Cuban. From his very first day of work at Your Business Software, Cuban knew he had found his niche. He spent every free moment learning as much as he could about technology, not because he had to, but because he wanted to. It was this enthusiasm and interest that allowed him to succeed. Determination: Cuban didn’t just fail once or twice; he failed so many times that another person might have given up. But, Cuban knew he was destined to run a company and with his passion for technology, he knew that with enough persistence, he would one day be able to find the winning formula. He learned what he could from each experience and moved on, never losing sight of his final goal. Cyberspace: “I can be sitting in the bathroom with my Sidekick, and I’ll still be reading email,” says Cuban. Never one to stray far from his computer, Cuban has created a system of virtual management, communicating with staff, fans, and customers via email and his blog, that he says has increased his productivity as well as that of his entire organization. By maintaining a public vision and having open channels of communication, Cuban has utilized the Internet to its maximum potential. When Cuban is in search of motivation, he takes to reading his favourite novel, Ayn Rand’s 1943 The Fountainhead. He models himself after Howard Roark, the book’s main character who “knew who he was and stayed true to himself while around him conformity was the status quo.” By taking risks, speaking his mind and following his passion no matter what the circumstances, Cuban has become one of America’s most beloved and captivating billionaires.