"You don't have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream." These words were said by the man who proved it right. The name is Mr Michael Saul Dell, an American businessman, investor, philanthropist, and author.
He is the Founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, one of the world's largest and biggest name in technology infrastructure companies. He is ranked as the 20th richest person in the world by Forbes, with a net worth of $32.2 billion as of June 2019.
Mr Michael Dell is a self-made business tycoon with a vision to change the world of technology. Following the simple idea that by selling customized personal computer systems directly to customers he could best understand their needs and provide the most effective computing solutions to meet those needs, Dell has made Dell Computer Corp. the world's leading direct computer systems company.
He was born in 1965 in Houston, US, to a Jewish family. His mother Lorraine Charlotte was a stockbroker, and father Alexander Dell was an orthodontist, he attended Herod Elementary School in Houston but was not fully involved in it. He was more interested in entering the business world. To fulfil his dream he applied to take a high school equivalency exam at an early age of eight. In his early teen days, he invested his earnings from part-time jobs in stocks and precious metals.
Dell's success wasn't entirely surprising. Dell's parents wanted him to be a doctor. But by the time he was in junior high, Dell was hooked on computers. Dell showed an early interest in technology and business. At the age of 15, he got his first computer, an Apple II, while most of his classmates were tinkering under the hoods of old cars, Dell loved to tinker with his Apple II, which he promptly disassembled to see how it worked.
Michael Dell has often been quoted as saying, "I always knew I wanted to run a business someday." Indeed, it does appear that Dell was born a businessman. At the age of 12, he was making thousands of dollars in mail-order sales to stamp collectors. During his senior year in high school, he made $18,000 selling newspaper subscriptions for the now-defunct Houston Post and bought his first BMW-paying in cash, no less. Obviously no ordinary paperboy, Dell had figured out that the most likely subscribers were newlyweds or families who had just moved in. So using sources such as the city marriage license bureau, he put together a targeted mailing list on his first computer-an Apple II-and sent out personalized mailings offering special subscription deals.
To please his parents, Dell enrolled as a pre-med student at the University of Texas in 1983, but by then his only real interest was in computers. During his first semester, Dell spent his spare time buying up remaindered, outmoded PCs from local retailers, then upgrading and selling them from his dorm room. He was so successful, that one day his roommate piled his ever-growing inventory up against the door of their dorm room.
As a student of the University of Texas at Austin, Dell started his computer business called PCs Limited in 1984. By the second half of his freshman year, Dell had sold $80,000 worth of computers. Dell took this as a sign it was time to move his burgeoning business off-campus. His parents were furious when he told them he wanted to drop out of college to run his company full-time, so to appease them, Dell agreed to go back to school if the summer's sales proved disappointing. In his first month in business, Dell sold some $180,000 worth of PCs. He never returned for his sophomore year. He took his company, which he started as PCs Limited public in 1998. PCs Limited later became the Dell Computer Corporation and ultimately Dell Inc., when the product line expanded to include more than personal computers.
At the age of 27, in 1992, he became the youngest CEO of a company ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 corporations. He continued his work and in 1996, Dell started selling computers over the Web, the same year his company launched its first servers. Dell Inc. soon reported about $1 million in sales per day from dell.com. The metric marked the first time the rankings had shifted over the previous seven years.
On March 4, 2004, Dell stepped down as CEO but stayed as chairman of Dell Inc.'s board. He served on the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum and the executive committee of the International Business Council. He was also on the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and sat on the governing board of the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad.
While he has yet to completely silence his critics, Michael Dell has proven that he has the flexibility, the stamina and the vision to remain at the top of the country's most competitive business, even though the bumpiest of times. And he proved it that too.
In 2006 Dell Inc., lost the title of world’s largest PC manufacturer to Hewlett-Packard (HP)—including a 4.1-million-unit recall and an overhaul of the customer service division struggling with complaints. In response, Dell was reinstated as CEO in 2007 to oversee Dell 2.0, a far-reaching revamp of the company as he moved the focus from PCs to corporate software and services as well as other electronic devices.
In 1999 Intensely private and notoriously shy, Dell has come out of his shell over the years, say those who know him, thanks to his wife Susan, a Dallas native whom he married on October 28, 1989, in Austin, Texas 1989. The couple has four children.
One of the reasons Dell Computer Corp. has remained so successful is Michael Dell's firm belief in constantly rethinking his company's operations.
Keeping this in mind, in 2004, Dell and his wife, Susan, formed the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to manage the investments and philanthropic efforts of the Dell family. Through the foundation, Dell used some of his wealth to help children around the world by focusing on health, education, safety, youth development, and early childhood care. The foundation, which by 2005 had an endowment of more than $1 billion, gave millions of dollars to help victims of the 2004 tsunami in southern Asia. In 2006 it donated $50 million to the University of Texas at Austin. Since 1999, the MSDF has committed $1.23 billion to non-profits and social enterprises in the United States, India and South Africa. Dell is also behind the founding of the Dell Jewish Community Campus in the Northwest Hills neighbourhood of Austin.
Dell's 1999 book, Direct from Dell: Strategies That Revolutionized an Industry, is an account of his early life, his company's founding, growth and missteps, as well as lessons learned. The book was written in collaboration with Catherine Freedman.
He has been named CEO of the Year by ‘Financial World’ (1993), ‘Industry Week’ (1998), and ‘Chief Executive’ (2001).
He is also the recipient of the 2013 Franklin Institute's Bower Award for Business Leadership.