Noah Garrett, special to Local Tech Wire

DURHAM, N.C. – Let the fireworks begin!

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban along with an accomplished panel of investors and technology leaders shared their experience on free enterprise, business, entrepreneurship, investing, and how to build a successful business during Local Tech Wire’s Executive Exchange event on Thursday at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham.

The panel led by Mitch Mumma of Intersouth Partners featured a diverse group that included Rich Lee, CEO of Hosted Solutions; Aaron Houghton co-founder of iContact; Mike Doernberg of ReverbNation, and Cuban, who also owns HDNet and is an avid investor in various start-ups throughout the country as well as founder of

The panel all agreed that it’s a great time to be an entrepreneur, and it takes focus and passion to create a successful business.

Three of the four panelists see workforce talent as the biggest obstacle.

“We are clearly having a problem finding talented people to scale businesses.” In contrast, Cuban said the biggest obstacle he sees is love. “You don’t need money, you just need love,” he said.” Make sure you love what you do.”

In regards to finding talent for your company or team, the panel threw out various ideas that all made sense. For example, no what and who you are looking for; look for someone who is adaptable and willing to change; and make sure the person fits with the culture of the company.

Aaron Houghton of iContact said he looks for failure. Added Houghton, “Some of the best contributors I’ve found are the ones who tried a business and decided to get out for whatever reason.”

Statistics show that almost half of companies fail within the first five years of creation. Along those lines, moderator Mich Mumma simply asked each of them about luck. And, none of them regarded it as major factor in success.

“Luck is relevant to scale,” Cuban chimed in quickly. “Every entrepreneur has one, two, or three things they are good at; but sometimes we lie to ourselves. Basically, know what you suck at.”

Other points of interest during the discussion included the role of social media, what laws need to be passed or appealed to help the investor community, and other personal questions such as what each person was good at. The final question is one that many were on edge to know the answer to: What’s the next big thing?

Each panelists saw cloud computing, more bandwidth, and smart power grids and energy as areas of interest in the future. Cuban added to the list with mobile technology and personalized medicine as other items to keep an eye on.

Approximately 250 people are currently attending LTW’s Executive Exchange event in Durham.

Keep checking back for more posts from the event.

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