Founder of Dell Computers
Live Web cast June 8, 2000, 1 p.m. ET
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At age 12, he washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant to save money for his stamp collection. At age 18, he was selling personal computers out of his dorm room at the University of Texas at Austin. Today, at age 35, Michael S. Dell is a multi-billionaire and CEO of Dell Computer Corporation, the fastest-growing major computer systems company in the world.
When he was at college launching his fledgling business, Dell's parents encouraged him to quit the business and focus on his studies. Instead, he dropped out of school and focused on business.
The rest is computer history. In 1984, Dell's first full year of operation, company sales hit $6 million. In fiscal 2000, company sales soared to more than $25 billion.
Michael Dell's breakthrough idea was to bypass the middleman and sell custom-built personal computers (PCs) directly to the customers. No retailers, no bricks and mortar sales. To overcome consumer resistance to phone sales, Dell established a strong technical-support and service program. The strategy worked, here and abroad. Dell Computer Corporation is now one of the top vendors of personal computers worldwide, with offices in 34 countries and more than 35,000 employees serving customers in 170 countries and territories.
When Dell Computer Corporation joined the Fortune 500 list in 1992, Michael Dell became the youngest CEO of a company ever to earn a ranking on the list. Since 1995, the company has been included on Fortune's list of "Most Admired Companies."
Dell also embraced the Internet as a selling tool early on. Today, it is the largest online commercial seller of computer systems, with an average of $40 million per day in online sales -- about 50 percent of Dell's revenues on an annual basis.
To tell his remarkable story in his own words, Michael Dell wrote the best-selling book Direct From Dell: Strategies That Revolutionized an Industry (1999.)
Dell is a member of the Board of Directors of the United States Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum, and the Computerworld/Smithsonian Awards. He also serves on the nominating committee for the National Technology Medal of Honor, and is a member of The Business Council. He is a friend and contributor to Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush.
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