Michael Dell

Born    : February 23, 1965 in Houston, Texas, U.S.

Education        : University of Texas, Austin, 1983–1984

Occupation      : CEO and founder, Dell, Inc.

Net Worth       : Above $12.3 Billion (2009)

Religious         : Judaism

Spouse(s)         : Susan Dell

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He’s Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell Computers and one of the greatest entrepreneur of this generation. At 40 years old he’s built one of the most successful companies in the world and he’s one of the world’s youngest billionaires. The company has grown to $32 billion in 18 years. In fact, great leadership is what makes him so highly successful, not technical brain. He was at number 18 on the Forbes’s list of richest people in 2002 and 2004 respectively; while in 2003 he was on 24.

The PC business is full of rags-to-riches stories. But perhaps none is as dramatic as the rise of Dell Computer. He started off his company from his room at the University of Texas with less than $1,000. After being one year at University, he dropped out as his part-time computer business took off.

He was born on February 23, 1965. In 1984, the 19-year-old Michael Dell had a simple idea. Why not sell custom-made computers directly to customers? At the time, computer manufacturers sold their machines wholesale to retailers, who marked up the price for consumers. With about $1,000 and an unprecedented idea in the PC industry, Dell found a way to bypass the middleman and sell custom-built PCs directly to customers. Dell assembled computers from cheap surplus parts, and then created the machines to the specifications of his customers.

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What makes Dell Computer unique is not what it sells, but rather how it sells it. Dell was first in the PC industry to pioneer the direct-selling model, a method that competitors such as Compaq and Apple Computer are only now starting to embrace. By cutting out the intermediary and creating a direct link between manufacturer and customer, Dell was able to provide customers with computers that cost less and that were more apt to meet customer needs. Prior to this there was absolutely no aspect of customization of the PC. Buying computer invariably involved the presence of a middleman. He also pioneered the industry’s first service and support programs.

Twenty-one years later, the simple idea is considered a revolution in the technology world, and it still working. Dell’s still doing essentially the same made-to-order computers directly to customers but on a scale that now brings in $18 billion a year and employs 25,000 people. Dell’s breathtaking success made him, at age 27 the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company in history, and Fortune magazine named his company one of the most admired firms in America, following General Electric, Coca-Cola, and Microsoft. Dell has offices in over 34 countries and a presence in more than 170 countries. The company’s business clientele includes almost all the companies in the Fortune 500.The company manufactures its PCs in six locations: Texas, Tennessee, Brazil, Ireland, Malaysia, and China.

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The next frontier for Dell has been the Web and once again the computer giant seems to be holding its place as a leader in the PC industry. Dell is acknowledged as the largest online commercial seller of computer systems, with $50 million per day in online sales. The value of Dell’s stock is reported to have risen almost 70,000 per cent over the past decade.

It’s important to point out that Michael Dell’s parents wanted him to stop playing with computers in college and get into medical school. But Michael Dell followed a different path. He is today credited for inspiring millions of entrepreneurs to pursue their dream of creating new innovation and not simply do what you are told to do. It’s important that we listen to ourselves and follow the path that we desire. People around us have great intentions, but many times they don’t understand the life and goals of the entrepreneur. Believe in yourself.

There are two key reasons for his continuing success. Dell Corp. is renowned for its ability to drive down prices. The products are affordable because of the company’s hold over their vendors. The other reason is that Dell has been able to leverage the power of the Internet to great advantage. Dell is the largest supplier of PCs over the Internet. He is an IT governor of the World Economic Forum and is a member of the U.S. Business Council. He is also a member of the Computer Systems Policy Project, serves on the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Dell has been honored many times for his extraordinary leadership capabilities, earning the titles of “Entrepreneur of the Year” from Inc. magazine, and “Man of the Year” by PC magazine. He constantly heads the list of the world’s youngest billionaires.

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Michael Dell can be painfully shy, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t charismatic. Rarely has a bad word been uttered about his personality. As ‘a visionary, leader, entrepreneur, boss, person, and manager, Michael gets nothing but praise. For good reason too; he proved that a college dropout can fulfill his dreams and succeed. Our advice though, is that unless you have visions of grandeur where you want to build a multi-billion dollar company, stay in school.

Michael Dell explained his secrets of success in an entrepreneurs’ conference in Texas, when he said “First of all, don’t start a business just because everybody else is doing it or it looks like it’s a way to make a lot of money. Start a business because you found something you really love doing and have a passion for Start a business because you found something unique that you can do betty’ than anyone else. And start a business because you really want to make a big contribution to society over a long period of time.”

Michael Dell
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