Michael Dell: Dell Computer Corp.
With $1,000 and an idea born in his Texas dormitory: to provide affordable PCs to university students, Michael Dell would come to create the world’s leading direct computer systems company and become the youngest ever CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
“Don’t spend so much time trying to choose the perfect opportunity, that you miss the right opportunity.”
Trust Your Instincts—But Don’t Forget a Backup Plan
After my first year of college, I told my father I would rather focus on pursuing my business than return to school. He was furious, and had high hopes that I would become a doctor. I promised to return to the pre-med program if my summer sales didn’t go well.
Dell never did return to college, as his first month’s sales reached $180,000—certainly better than any doctor’s monthly salary.
Be A Visionary—Imagine What the Industry Could Look Like
It is through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve always mapped our path at Dell. There’s always an opportunity to make a difference.
Michael Dell had the foresight in the 1980’s to realize that computers would soon become a commodity. Like any commodity, therefore, price and delivery would be central objectives. To achieve these goals, Dell cut out the middle-man, bought computer components, and sold each PC himself directly over the phone for a 15% discount over established brands. This direct selling technique would revolutionize the industry, and make Dell one of the world’s youngest billionaires.
Try never to be the smartest person in the room.
And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people … or find a different room. In professional circles it’s called networking. In organizations it’s called team building. And in life it’s called family, friends, and community. We are all gifts to each other, and my own growth as a leader has shown me again and again that the most rewarding experiences come from my relationships.