The story of Michael Dell, the man behind Dell Technologies

Michael Dell, an American entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Dell Technologies, one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world.


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Named after its founder, Michael Dell, the company is one of the largest technological corporations in the world, employing more than 165,000 people in the U.S. and around the world. If you are viewing this website on a platform other than a phone, there’s a high chance it might be on a dell desktop or a laptop. Building a computer is hard work, but studying what consumers truly want from a machine and tailor making them one is smart work. This is exactly what Michael did which took him to the top of the computer business.

Dell was born in 1965 in Houston, to a Jewish family. During his school days, he took a couple of part time jobs like selling newspaper subscriptions, job of a dishwasher and selling magazines. Since childhood, Michael was curious about electronics. At 15, he got his first computer, the Apple II but rather than using it for work, he carefully took it apart to study its working. He took up pre-med at Texas University as his dad wanted him to be a doctor. He sold subscriptions to the Houston Post in summer. He made a sum of $18k that summer just from selling subscriptions and the teen proceeded to buy a BMW leaving the dealers flabbergasted after paying the price in cash. He continued to expand this business by hiring few employees and ended up earning a profit of nearly $200k in the first year itself. 

The Computer was the most talked about subject in the 80s. His parents insisted him to continue his education but he desired to unleash his own venture. He saw the opportunity passing by and decided to chase his dreams. Dell learnt the major players in the business were offering the standard models which they designed their way and came with some upgrades which could be bought separately. But the companies did not think about the consumer’s actual needs from a computer back then. Dell shifted to the computer business, selling modified models which were made as per the customer’s requirements. He transformed his car’s trunk into a portable inventory and stuck a flyer to one of the boxes and drove around to advertise his company initially named “PC’s Limited”. As customers began to receive the models with the specs they desired, the orders started to soar. The company shifted its office from a room in a condominium to a business centre in Austin. The company was making sales worth $80k worth of pc upgrades, kits, and add on components. The company followed a simple philosophy, asking customer what it really wants and making a computer accordingly.

At the age of 27, Dell became the youngest CEO of a company which made it to the Fortune 500 list. The company soon started selling pcs online through its own website dell.com. The sale then was reported to be around $1m per day in the 90s.In 2001, Dell acquired 12.8 percent of the world market share and overtook Compaq to get the largest world pc manufacturer title.

Our business is about technology, yes. But it’s also about operations and customer relationships – Michael Dell

Apart from the computer venture, he founded an investment firm to manage his family investment. It also offers a variety of services like private equity activities, trading securities and real estate. Some of the accolades for Dell include “Entrepreneur of the Year” (at age 24) from Inc. magazine, “Top CEO in American Business” from Worth magazine, “CEO of the Year” from Financial World, Industry Week and Chief Executive magazines. Dell also received the 2013 Franklin Institute’s Bower Award for Business Leadership.

Dell’s estimated net worth as of June 2020 is about $30 billion. Michael has been a philanthropist too. In 1999, Michael and his wife Susan established the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which focuses on, among other causes, grants, urban education, childhood health and family economic stability. Since 1999, the MSDF has committed $1.23 billion to non-profits and social enterprises in the United States, India and South Africa. By 2011, the foundation had committed more than $650 million to children’s issues and community initiatives in the United States, India and South Africa. In 2002, Dell received an honorary doctorate in Economics from the University of Limerick in honor of his investment in Ireland and the local community and for his support for educational initiatives. In 2012, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation committed $50 million for medical education. The Dell Medical School began enrolling students in 2016. In 2018 Dell Technologies returned to public markets through a complicated financial restructuring.

Michael Dell has been always been thinking about smarter ways to complete any task. Back in childhood, he thought of a smarter path to catch a number of fishes when his family went fishing. Michael held together with a trotline on a network of ropes with great pain. By doing this he was able to attach many fish hooks together. After that, he spread them far into the water. It was attached and secured to a stick which dived deep in the sand. When Michael rolled down his trotline after dinner, he found that there were more fishes on the hooks than what others had caught.

His inspiring journey teaches us it’s a simple yet a creative idea which has the potential to take you to the top of the table. Its just that you need some kind of smart work along with the hard work you always need to put in. And most importantly when you are designing and fabricating any kind of product be it anything, always respect your client’s need,the feedback and treat them as your first priority. Also after sales, the after-sales service matters a lot which impacts your future relationship with the people. This is the thing which has kept Dell Technologies moving ahead and maintain its competitive edge.

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