Tag: Michael Dell (Page 1 of 2)

Michael and Susan Dell Pledge $36 Million to Help Rebuild Texas Following Hurricane Harvey

Michael and Susan Dell, courtesy photo.

Michael Dell, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies announced in a post on Facebook Friday plans to donate $36 million to a fund to Rebuild Texas.

“We must rebuild the Texas communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey together,” Dell wrote.

On Friday, Michael and Susan Dell launched the Rebuild Texas Fund with Gov. Greg Abbott and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. He has pledged to match $1 for every $2 in donations until midnight on Sept. 4th.

“We are in it for the long-haul: our goal is to raise over $100 million for the recovery and rebuilding of our communities in the years to come,” Dell wrote. “Please join us by donating at www.rebuildtx.org or by texting “RebuildTX” to 91999. And please spread the word – every dollar matters!”

Dell grew up on Grape Street in the Meyerland neighborhood in Houston, which suffered extensive damage from more than 50 inches of rain hitting the city during Hurricane Harvey. On Facebook, Dell posted a picture of the flood waters that have submerged houses in his old neighborhood.

In addition to the Facebook post, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Michael and Susan Dell announced the RebuildTX fund on Good Morning America on Friday.

“This is our home. And we know that it will take all of us working together, over the long term, to rebuild our Texas communities,” Dell said in a statement. “The Rebuild Texas Fund will be a partnership among rally companies, community leaders and individuals to work alongside state and federal officials to provide an additional source of funding and ideas for recovery and rebuilding.”

The New York Times in an article reports the Dell Foundation donation is the largest single donation to the recovery efforts following Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is working with the OneStar Foundation, was created to support the State of Texas by strengthening the nonprofit sector, on the Rebuild Texas Fund.

Since its founding in 1999, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation has committed more than $1.32 billion to global children’s issues and community initiatives to date. The Dell family also donated $50 million to the University of Texas at Austin to create the Dell Medical School. (Read more about the Foundation and its work in this story from Silicon Hills News from the 2014 Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in Austin.)

Michael Dell Talks About Taking Risks as a Private Company

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

IMG_4828The Aspen institute, an educational and policies studies organization based in Washington, D.C., launched Aspen Across America, a series of talks with extraordinary individuals Wednesday night.

The series kicked off at the Blanton Art Museum with a talk between Journalist and world-renowned biography Walter Isaacson and one of Austin’s top tech innovators and entrepreneurs Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers. The University of Texas at Austin sponsored the event.

“Austin is a hotbed of innovation and high tech development and it has been for more than 30 years and it continues to grow along with our university,” said Gregory Fenves, executive vice president and provost of the University of Texas at Austin.

The Aspen Institute chose Austin to launch its series, in part, because the city reflects “innovation and creativity and the spirit of human potential.”

Dell’s Entrepreneurial Roots

IMG_4819Isaacson’s latest book is The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks created the Digital Revolution.” In his role as a biographer, Isaacson asked Dell to recount his early years as an entrepreneur and his fascination with computers as a young kid growing up in Houston.

In Junior High, Dell got access to a Teletype terminal during his math class. He would stay after school and type in programs. He began to learn about microprocessors from Byte Magazine. And there was a Radio Shack store between his house and the school that he frequented.

When he was 15 he saved enough money to buy an Apple II. He took it apart and he figured out how it worked and how to upgrade it.

In 1981, IBM released its personal computer and at the age of 16, Dell became fascinated with them. He started upgrading the machines and that continued when he entered college.

“I kind of had this side activity while I was going to school of upgrading these machines,” Dell said. “It got in the way of my studies a little bit.”

Around November of 1983, his parents thought he was focusing more on his computer business than his studies. They paid him a surprise visit to his dorm room and they gave him a stern lecture. Dell told his parents he would quit doing the computer business and focus on his studies. That lasted about 10 days.

“I really, really tried hard,” Dell said. “During that 10 days, I decided it wasn’t a hobby or a fun thing, it was actually something I was very, very passionate about and something I wanted to do much, much more. If they hadn’t made me stop I might never have done the company.”

The Beginning of Dell’s Computer Business

Dell incorporated the company about a week before finals. He finished his freshman year as a biology major. Then he dropped out of the University of Texas and founded Dell Computers with $1,000. He relocated the company from his dorm room to a proper office.

The business grew in the first nine month to $6 million, Dell said. It grew in the next year to $33 million, he said. It grew about 80 percent per year compounded for eight years and then for the six years after that it grew 60 percent, he said.

Dell’s secret sauce was the way he sold the PCs.

“It was certainly the time of enormous growth in the personal computer industry,” he said. “But what I observed was the way the machines were being sold was inefficient. When we introduced our 286 machine it was twice the performance of the IBM machine and half the price.”

Dell created a new business model and a new way to engage with customers.

At that point, Isaacson pointed out that what Dell has in common with Benjamin Franklin, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates is that they all dropped out of college.

“Was being rebellious and willing to take that big leap an important part what made you who you are?” Isaacson asked.

“It actually didn’t seem like a big risk,” Dell said. “Because at the University of Texas, if you leave for a semester, you can come back. We kind of came to an understanding, my parents and I, that I would take the business into a different phase and if it worked I would keep doing it, and so far, so good.”

At age 27, Dell became the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company ever. Isaacson asked him what that was like.

“It was fun,” Dell said. “The good news is I wasn’t the first young person in the technology sector. There were others I could look to that had done things like that. We were just focused on growing our business, expanding around the world, tons of opportunity.”

Going Private

Next, Isaacson quizzed Dell about the completion of taking the company private. Dell Computers had been a public company for 25 years and last October it went private.

“How liberating has that been?” Isaacson asked.

“It’s been great,” Dell said. “It really has allowed us to think about the business in a different way. To think about it more in a three year, five year and 10 year horizon. To take on some risks that are harder to take on in a public company. It’s allowed us to go after some investments we’ve been able to go after. “

IMG_4827As a private company, Dell has been able to accelerate its growth rate, gain market share in its various businesses and they are all performing well, Dell said. Now that the company is private it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in projects that will lower its earnings in the short term but will be great businesses years from now, Dell said. The company has made big investments in Healthcare, Cloud computing, software and cybersecurity.

Dell doesn’t have to respond to a 90-day shot clock any longer. As a publicly traded company, Dell had to report its earnings every 90 days and that led to a short-term focus for the business, Dell said. As a private company, Dell enjoys the benefit of planning for the long term.

The healthcare industry and information technology

The healthcare technology industry holds a lot of promise for Dell, he said.

“You look at the economy, healthcare is consuming a larger and larger portion of the economy but IT has not played the transformative role it has in healthcare as it has in other sectors,” he said.

Healthcare will become more effective, efficient and affordable through the use of data and analytics, Dell said.

“Our whole industry has an incredible amount of computing power that is being made available at lower costs,” he said.

By combining computing power with genomic research, healthcare providers can create targeted therapy for specific types of cancer, Dell said. For example, they can tackle conditions like neuroblastoma, a deadly childhood cancer. And in a very short period of time, they can create a therapy for a patient that would have taken 10 times or 100 times the time and it wouldn’t have been as targeted, Dell said.

Medical imaging is another area that can be tapped into to provide better analysis. Dell stores eight billion medical images for customers. If physicians could access that database easily they might be able to use it to diagnose and treat patients more effectively, he said.

The Data Revolution

The next wave in the digital revolution will be the merger of the information technology and life sciences and healthcare industry, Isaacson said.

That will not be the only wave, Dell said.

“If you think about computing power, its cost is just coming down at a tremendous rate,” he said. “For a few pennies, you can put silicon in any number of devices, machines, gadgets and physical objects. And say you go from having a billion connected devices to 100 billion or a trillion. Now you are creating enormous amounts of data and that data can be used to create better outcomes, better results and improved productivity, efficiency. And again you step back and you look at the world’s unsolved problems whether they be in energy, environment or medicine as we get more computational power I think we’ll address those problems at a faster rate. It’s a very exciting time. “

The data economy will provide the next trillion dollars of growth for Dell’s customers, he said.

Innovation in the Education

Education is another area ripe for disruption and innovation, Isaacson said.

Benjamin Franklin created the one room school in Philadelphia and if he walked into a school today, he’d see a room, about 24 desks and a blackboard in the front, the same thing they had back then, Isaacson said.

“The things that have not changed very much, don’t change very quickly,” Dell said. And that’s K-12 education, he said. But Dell, through the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation are working to improve that in the U.S. and throughout the world by using better data and common measurements.

“You’ve got to have a dashboard, you’ve got to have data to judge outcomes,” he said.

Monopolies aren’t very good at changing, Dell said.

“That’s been a big part of the problem with school districts,” he said.

The Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Isaacson asked Dell what lessons he has learned in business that applies to philanthropy.

“We’ve certainly learned that data matters,” Dell said. “It’s Ok to experiment and make mistakes. We’ve learned that many philanthropic or charitable organizations have great intentions but their ability to execute don’t match up necessarily. We’ve had a pretty hands on approach in ensuring the results of our grants.”

The Dell Foundation likes to find areas to make a discernable difference in a defined amount of time and then move on to something else, Dell said.

Isaacson pointed out that unequal opportunity among kids in our society seems to be widening and asked Dell what could be done to make opportunities for every kid in America more equal?

That’s not just a question for America, but a question for what’s going on in the world economy, Dell said
“A kid that doesn’t have the 21st century skills in a developed country is going to have a difficult time keeping up,” Dell said. “The education system has had a difficult time keeping up with that requirement. I think this is a big, big challenge.”

How Does Dell Foster Creativity?

During the question and answer session with the audience, one person asked Dell how he keeps his company competitive and creative.

One of the challenges big companies have, as they grow, is that they don’t want to take risks., Dell said.

“Part of my job is to reinsert risk into the company, which means you have to accept some failure,” he said. “If you’re failing over and over again at the same thing, that’s not risk, that’s something else. We consciously take on projects. Think about it this way, you’ve got 10 projects and seven or eight of them work out well and a couple of them don’t work that’s ok.”

But the key is to try new things and experiment, he said.

“As companies grow, they often forget to keep experimenting,” he said. “The reason you got to be a large company is because you took on risk, you accepted failure and you weren’t looking for the perfect solution. We have all kinds of programs and incentives to encourage that.”

As a private company, Dell can be bolder and take on more risk, he said.

“The results may be more volatile but that’s the way things happen,” he said. “There’s no such thing as the straight trajectory of a business.”

And the best way to grow is to listen to your customers, Dell said.

“It sounds kind of corny but the best mentors for us have been our customers,” he said. “We just learned the most from our customers.”

One young man asked Dell what advice he would give to young entrepreneurs.

“Experiment,” Dell said. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Just get started. You’ll know more six months after starting. Just start.”

Dell Performs Well as a Private Company

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

A year ago, Dell went private, the largest company ever to do so.

And Michael Dell, its founder and CEO, couldn’t be happier.

“I believe one of the advantages of being private is that we can direct 100 percent of our energy toward the success of our customers and partners and focus on a future that is well beyond the next quarter or the next year or the next shareholder activist,” Dell said. He kicked off the fourth annual Dell World, an event that attracts thousands of Dell customers and partners to Austin, during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Dell didn’t mention Hewlett-Packard by name, but alluded to HP’s recent announcement about plans to split itself into two separate companies. And other upheaval in the industry like IBM’s move to sell its server business to Lenovo. He said the moves created chaos and uncertainty for customers and partners.

Being private gives Dell the “the freedom and the focus that we love to have and that is translating into results,” Dell said.

B1oVPtlCYAEPXlTDell is the fastest growing large integrated IT company in the world, Dell said.

“Delivering year over year growth across every region in the world,” he said.

The company grew its PC shipments worldwide by 10 percent in the third quarter, Dell said. In the U.S., Dell grew its share by 19.7 percent. Overall, in the U.S., PC shipments grew by 4.3 percent, he said. Excluding Dell from total data, the rest of the industry grew just 0.2 percent, he said.

“We still believe the PC is how real business gets done,” Dell said.

Dell is number one in servers in North America and is number one in storage and it has had double-digit growth year over year in its software business and its number one in healthcare IT services, Dell said.

Dell also just announced a new customer service center in Chicago. It now has 15 customer service centers in 11 countries, Dell said.

Dell has aligned its business around four major customer imperatives: transform, inform, connect and protect, he said.

Concern about security is the number one prohibiter to the adoption of cloud technologies, big data, and mobility for companies, Dell said. That’s why security is one of Dell’s main priorities to address for its customers, he said.

During the question and answer session with reporters and analysts, someone asked Dell if the company is doing so well, why did it lay off employees. Dell confirmed to CNBC that it was laying off a few thousand employees this year. The company has 109,000 employees worldwide. In response, Dell said that it offered voluntary severance packages to employees to realign its business to meet areas of growth and expansion. He said as Dell grows, some positions are no longer necessary, but the company is hiring employees in sales, research and development and other areas, he said.

Elizabeth Gore to Join Dell as its Entrepreneur in Residence

Ingrid Vanderveldt (left) with Elizabeth Gore at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network conference in Austin in June.  Gore is the new Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell.

Ingrid Vanderveldt (left) with Elizabeth Gore at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in Austin in June. Gore is the new Entrepreneur in Residence at Dell.

Dell has named Elizabeth Gore with the United Nations Foundation, its next Entrepreneur in Residence.

Dell made the announcement at TechCrunch Disrupt Monday.

Gore, who currently serves as entrepreneur in residence for the United Nations Foundation, will join the company in February of 2015.

Gore will be Dell’s second entrepreneur in residence. Ingrid Vanderveldt held the job until June when she stepped down. Both Gore and Vanderveldt attended the global Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in June in Austin.

At Dell, Gore will provide support for small and medium sized business and help them grow. She will also encourage policies and practices to support entrepreneurship globally.

“It has been an honor to support the causes of the United Nations through working with entrepreneurs to scale innovations that improve lives,” Gore said in a news release. “Technology is the most consistent and reliable force that continues to enable and improve human potential through innovation. Dell’s global footprint and influence will give entrepreneurs the platform to take their solutions to the next level.”

Gore will also remain actively involved with the UN Foundation as a senior fellow and as chair for its Global Entrepreneurs Council.

Michael Dell is also involved with the UN Foundation. This summer, he was appointed as the UN Foundation’s first ever Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship.

“Entrepreneurs have the power to transform our global economy, but they face challenges around access to markets, capital and technology. There is no silver bullet, and a multi-faceted approach to ensure their successes is necessary,” Karen Quintos, Dell senior vice president and chief marketing officer said in a news statement. “Elizabeth’s impressive background, deep expertise working with both public and private sector, make her an ideal fit as Dell’s next EIR. We are thrilled to have her on board, creating positive change for entrepreneurs, and helping to remove the barriers to risk-taking that exist in many cultures.”

Michael Dell Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge to Support ALS Research

Photo reprinted with permission from Michael Dell

Photo reprinted with permission from Michael Dell

Michael Dell took the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS research Saturday in front of the construction site for the new Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

CNBC’s Jon Fortt challenged Dell.

In a posting to his Facebook page, Dell, in turn, challenged Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce.com and Actor Samuel Jackson. He also announced he made a donation to the ALS organization to find a cure for the disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. ALS is a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Eventually, people with ALS lose the ability to initiate and control muscle movement, which often leads to total paralysis and death within two to five years of diagnosis. There is no cure and only one drug approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that modestly extends survival. Veterans are approximately twice as likely be diagnosed with the disease.”

In accepting the challenge, Dell joined other tech titans who have also taken the icy soak like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $11 million in donations for the ALS Association. “The ALS Association has received $11.4 million in donations compared to $1.7 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 16),” according to a news release. “These donations have come from existing donors and 220,255 new donors to The Association.”

“Never before have we been in a better position to fuel our fight against this disease,” Barbara Newhouse, President and CEO of the ALS Association, wrote in a blog post on the nonprofit organization’s website. “Increased awareness and unprecedented financial support will enable us to think outside the box. We will be able to strategize about efforts in ways that previously would not have been possible, all while we work to fulfill and enhance our existing mission priorities nationwide.”

Michael Dell Named the UN Foundation’s Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship

Photo courtesy of Dell

Photo courtesy of Dell

To focus the globe on entrepreneurship, what better way than to put someone in charge who has been there, done that.

Last week, the United Nations Foundation named Michael Dell as its Global Advocate for Entrepreneurship.

The UN made the announcement at its Global Accelerator, an event featuring top entrepreneurs, UN leaders and other global leaders.

In his new role, Dell “will advocate for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship to solve global problems in support of UN programs. He will work closely with the Foundation and its Global Entrepreneurs Council. The vision for this new role aligns with Dell’s efforts to engage with global entrepreneurs for positive social impact, and with UN programs which embrace innovation and entrepreneurship,” according to a news release.

“Michael Dell’s entrepreneurial spirit and dedication to using technology for positive social change show what people around the world can do to help the UN address global challenges,” Kathy Calvin, President and CEO of the UN Foundation, said in a news release. “Michael has been a risk taker and change maker from the day he built a global company from his college dorm room. Now his company Dell Inc. affects lives of people around the world. We know Michael will bring this same drive and passion to his new role for the UN Foundation. He will work to maximize the power of entrepreneurship by helping people support international development and global priorities for growth, prosperity and peace.”

The UN Foundation is focusing on entrepreneurship and innovation to reduce poverty and improve lives globally.

“At this time of economic uncertainty and global challenges, it’s more important than ever that the business community work closely with organizations, elected leaders and policymakers to help our global economy grow and prosper,” Dell said in a news release. “I’m honored to accept this position and look forward to championing the growth of entrepreneurs globally.”

Beyond Technology, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Focuses on Helping Children Worldwide

Founder of Silicon Hills News

Alex Witt, anchor with MSNBC interviewing Susan and Michael Dell at the Dell Women's Entrepreneur Network. Photo courtesy of Dell.

Alex Witt, anchor with MSNBC interviewing Susan and Michael Dell at the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network. Photo courtesy of Dell.

A lot of people in Austin and beyond know the story about how Michael Dell started his computer company at the age of 19 in a dorm room at the University of Texas with $1,000.

He grew the company into a multi-billion dollar international computer maker and he has recently taken it private and reinvented its focus on software, services, cloud computing and computers.

But last week 200 female CEOs from all over the world attended the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network conference in Austin and they got to hear about another part of Dell’s success.

Michael and Susan Dell participated in an afternoon fireside chat with Alex Witt, an anchor with MSNBC. She interviewed them about the impact of their private family foundation, which they started in 1999 with $277 million. It expanded to more than $1 billion in assets. And the foundation has given away close to $1 billion since its inception.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation focuses on urban education, childhood health and family economic stability. The foundation expanded its grants and programs to India in 2006 and Africa in 2010.

Helping Families in Urban Food Deserts

Susan Dell mentioned how difficult it can be for moms in urban settings in the U.S. to find fresh fruit and vegetables for their kids. She called them urban food deserts. She recounted a story about one mom who rode a bus two hours to get to a farmer’s market to buy fresh produce for her family. The mom convinced the farmers to set up a market at her children’s school, Dell said.

“These stories are important to share,” she said.

They illustrate how people can make a difference. She also said her foundation published a series of Be Well books aimed at moms with little resources in urban areas to help them lead healthier lifestyles. The books feature stories of moms who are creatively finding ways to fight childhood obesity in their homes and communities.

“It’s not that they don’t want healthy foods, it’s that it’s not available,” she said.

“If you’re a person who is living in an urban setting you find yourself with not as many options and you’ve got to get creative,” Susan Dell said.

Some of the moms took back a park and did neighborhood patrols to make sure it was safe for their kids to exercise and play, Dell said.

Michael and Susan Dell, photo courtesy of their family foundation.

Michael and Susan Dell, photo courtesy of their family foundation.

Susan and Michael Dell are the parents of four children and they know the challenges parents face in limiting screen time for their children and getting their kids to eat right and exercise.

“We limit screen time in our household,” Susan Dell said.

Other simple changes like not buying sugary drinks or junk food, putting out fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks, broiling and steaming foods, instead of frying, can make a huge difference, Dell said.

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation Focus on Education

Witt asked Michael Dell how the foundation chooses the programs it wants to work on in the education area.

“We worked with individual schools, districts and the state level,” Michael Dell said.

But in running the foundation, he found there was very little data available to assess the effectiveness of programs. And the data varied vastly from school to school so there was no way to compare the data. So the foundation created Ed-Fi Alliance in 2012, a nonprofit startup focused on data collection in schools. And now it’s in half of the nation’s school districts.

“The foundation had a baby and it’s called the Ed-Fi Alliance,” he said.

The goal was to give teachers more information and enable better outcomes for students.

Dell has also established the Dell Scholars program nationwide. It has helped 2,500 Dell Scholars from underprivileged backgrounds. They have an 85 percent college graduation rate, compared to a 20 percent average for kids in the same socio-economic circumstances, Susan Dell said.

The key to the success is Dell also provides wraparound services to support the students, which includes everything from money for incidental expenses like clothes and laundry.

“These students are coming from very challenging backgrounds,” she said. “They have the ability to study hard and do well but they don’t have what it takes to get beyond these obstacles.”

Susan Dell about the success of one young woman, a Dell Scholar, who came from a family of six with an annual income of $21,500. The woman graduated from UT, went to Teach for America and then got a job with Goldman Sachs.

She recently quit because she’s going to graduate school at Harvard.

“Every once in awhile we can put a face to what we’re doing,” Susan Dell said.

The key to funding successful programs is to ask a lot of questions and get to the root cause of the problem and to have an understanding about what the problem is, Susan Dell said.

imgres-8And sometimes programs simply don’t work out. The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation recently published a website: LessonsEarned.org to share their successes and failures with others in hopes they can learn from them.

When Michael Dell invests in a country, he looks for an opportunity for progress and a stable and progressive government.

“If they don’t want to change, it’s pretty hard to convince them to change,” he said. “We also start with a baseline of data. What’s going on here and what’s the opportunity? What kind of progress can occur?”

The work requires patience and perseverance, Michael Dell said.

“You have to operate in a local context – understand the local rules, customs and the motivations of the individuals involved you are trying to impact in some way,” he said. “If we are not welcome there, we tend to go somewhere else.”

Government involvement is key to a program working in any country, he said.

“It’s important to recognize that governments have fairly enormous resources – far more than private foundations,” Michael Dell said. “And so one of the things private foundations can do is catalyze the spending or the activity of the government in a constructive way.”

The key to the success of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is its focus on children, Susan Dell said.

“You cannot do everything, but if you focus then you can make an impact with your work,” she said. “If you want to think about how you can change the world for the better, for us, we think that starting with the world’s children is a good place.”

Michael Dell on the Past, Present and Future of Technology

Founder of Silicon Hills News

IMG_2865In 1984, Michael Dell dropped out of the University of Texas to found Dell Computers.

“At the time, it didn’t seem like that big of a risk,” Dell said. “I didn’t have anything to lose.”

He saw a really compelling opportunity to launch a company focused on the way computers were being sold and distributed.
He made a deal with his parents that he would go off and do his company for a semester and if it worked, he would keep doing it and if it didn’t, he would go back to school.

Dell spoke Thursday night at the Omni Hotel in a keynote address put on by the UT Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency as part of its UTEWeek. Brett Hurt, co-founder of BazaarVoice and Entrepreneur in Residence at UT, interviewed him before a packed ballroom of a couple hundred people.

At the beginning of his company, after several months, Dell presented his parents with a financial statement on the company’s performance. He still has that statement.

“For the first nine months, the company had revenues of about $6 million,” Dell said. “It was profitable from day one. It had about a 15 percent operating margin.”

The company had very little expenses, Dell said. The second year, Dell grew to $33 million in revenue. For the first eight years, the company grew 80 percent a year compounded and six years after that it grew at 60 percent a year compounded, he said.

“Put all those numbers together and you get tens of billions of dollars,” Dell said.

The essence was this was the dawn of the microprocessor age, Dell said. He came up with a way to deal with customers that gave the company a competitive advantage – the direct from Dell selling model, he said.

Hurt asked Dell if students should drop out of college to found a company. Hurt said he used Dell as an example of a Longhorn student who saw an opportunity and dropped out to pursue it.

“I get angry letters from parents sometimes,” Dell said. “I have to be a little careful.”

The decision is a personal one and generally a student should know it inside, he said. They shouldn’t have to get a lot of advice, he said.

“If I had gone and asked for advice, people probably would have said you’re nuts, it’ll never work, don’t drop out of school” Dell said. “But I wasn’t motivated by what other people thought.”

Hurt asked Dell what are some of the big ways entrepreneurship has changed since Dell launched his company.

Now the infrastructure and resources like startup labs and incubators make it a lot easier for entrepreneurs to launch a company, Dell said.

“The great thing we have in this country is we have a culture that accepts and embraces risk,” Dell said.

Job creation in the economy come from new and emerging businesses, Dell said.

The U.S. culture treats failure in a way that causes people to want to continue pursuing ventures, Dell said. That culture of risk taking is a huge competitive advantage for the U.S., he said.

Hurt asked Dell what advice he would give his 17-year-old self if he could go back in time. Dell said he would have learned more about management and building teams.

Dell took one class at UT focused on business: macroeconomics. He learned to buy low and sell high. He was a biology major. And he was only in school for a year.

“A lot of it was learning by making mistakes and experimenting,” Dell said.

When an entrepreneur does something that has never been done a naïve perspective or a different perspective is often where breakthroughs come from, Dell said. If you know too much, it’s not helpful, he said.

“I think there are things you can learn from experience but when you are doing something that has never been done before it’s more response time, thinking on your feet, agility that have a higher premium than necessarily experience,” Dell said.

In the world today, the rate of change is accelerating in all industries because of technology, Dell said. That’s creating new opportunities, he said. This is where people with new perspectives, they tend to be younger, bring new ideas, he said.

Hurt asked Dell why he took the company private last year. Dell completed a $25 billion buyout to take the company private last October.

“We were a public company for 25 years,” Dell said. “The stock appreciated 13,500 percent during that time.”

About six or seven years ago, Dell started changing its business from products to solutions, software and services, he said.

It began investing in different areas to provide more solutions to its customers, Dell said. The company made a number of acquisitions.

Dell wanted to focus on more long term planning, he said.

“Our decision making is simplified greatly,” Dell said. “It’s kind of like it was when we started the company…It allows us to dedicate our energy to our customers.”

Dell refers to itself as “the world’s largest startup.”

Since going private, Dell is incubating new businesses and crowdsourcing ideas, Dell said. It’s working with customers in new ways, he said. It launched a venture fund and it has all kinds of resources for entrepreneurs, he said. Cloud, mobile, social and cyber security are all key areas of focus for the company, Dell said.

Another trend Dell is excited about is in data applications. A huge opportunity exists in data analytics, particularly in industries like healthcare, Dell said. Dell has seven billion images in its medical archive, he said. What’s interesting is when Dell layers predictive analytics on top of that archive and can provide information to doctors around the world, he said.

Hurt asked Dell about the role the city has played in Dell’s success. Dell said Austin has been a wonderful place to grow his company. He has hired a lot of people out of the University of Texas. Today, Austin is still great, he said. UT is one of the main things that attracts people to move here, he said.

“There really hasn’t been a better time to be alive in the world,” Dell said. “This is a fantastic place. It’s hard to imagine a better place to be.”

Hurt said there’s quite a bit of pessimism out there about entrepreneurship.

“There’s always whiners and complainers, but screw them,” Dell said.

Dell has done a lot to make Austin a better place for all of its citizens. Last year, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation donated $60 million to create the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. Dell joked that it was the closest he would come to becoming a doctor. He went to UT to study biology with the intention of pursuing a medical degree.

During a question and answer session with the audience, Dell recounted his first job as a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant at the age of 12 in Houston, his hometown. He soon got promoted to water boy and then assistant maitre d. He then got hired away by a Mexican restaurant. He later worked in a store that sold jewelry, stamps and coins and when he got his driver’s license at 16, Dell worked for the now defunct Houston Post delivering newspapers.

“I think those early job experiences are unbelievably valuable,” Dell said. They taught him a lot of lessons.

Another audience member asked Dell about mistakes he made early on.

Dell recounted how he didn’t know the company needed an Federal Communications Commission approval to sell computers. The FCC shut the company down. They had to scramble to get an FCC approval, he said.

“That was certainly a pretty major crisis at the time,” Dell said.

In the late 1980s, Dell had a problem with inventory management. The company ended up learning a lot about inventory management, he said. But it was a near fatal experience at the time, he said.

In fact, in the first three or four years, Dell could have gone out of business five or ten times, Dell said.

“Fortunately they weren’t big enough mistakes to put the company out of business,” Dell said.

UT Entrepreneurship Week to Feature Michael Dell and Rod Canion

headerlogoThe University of Texas at Austin is a hotbed of startup activity.
Last year, the University claimed the number seven spot on Entrepreneur Magazine’s list of the most entrepreneurial colleges in the nation.
And the Longhorn Entrepreneurship Agency, part of student government at UT, plans to showcase some of the state’s most accomplished PC entrepreneurs during its third annual UT Entrepreneurship Week which runs Feb. 28th through March 6th.
Michael Dell, founder of Dell, will speak on March 6th about how he started his company in a dorm room at the university in 1984 and how he took the company private late last year to create what he has dubbed as “the world’s largest startup.”
And the celebration of the PC industry also features a talk with Rod Canion, one of the cofounders of Campaq Computers, founded in 1982 in Houston. Canion’s talk is on March 5th. Canion and his co-founders previously worked at Texas Instruments when they set out to create Compaq. In 2002, HP acquired Compaq for $25 billion.
Brett Hurt, Entrepreneur in Residence at UT and founder of Bazaarvoice, will conduct the interviews. The event is being sponsored by the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship.

Guavas, Neverware and Fantoo Win Dell’s Pitch Slam

Founder of Silicon Hills News

BbUE_U6CQAA5dXxGuavus, Neverware and Fantoo won the votes of the judges at the first Pitch Slam event at Dell World.
Michael Dell cast his vote for Guavus, based in San Mateo, which has raised $48 million in three series of funding since 2006. The company has created analytics applications that pull data from companies and give them a competitive edge by uncovering new insights to help them make better decisions.
The United Nations Foundation’s Resident Entrepreneur Elizabeth Gore voted for Neverware, which has created software to extend the lifetime of computers in schools and to allow them to run the latest software applications.
The New York-based startup, founded in 2011, has raised $1 million in seed-stage funding. It’s software and hardware, called a Juicebox, is currently in more than 100 schools in the New York area and it plans to expand nationwide next year, said Neverware’s CEO Jonathan Hefter.
And Shark Tank star and FUBU Founder Daymond John voted for Fantoo, based in London, has created a personal intelligence engine for email and messaging. The company can tell through data analysis which emails are priorities and send them to the top of the inbox, said Jordan Fantaay, its founder. This year, the company raised $788,000 in crowdfunding.
Ingrid Vanderveldt, Dell’s Entrepreneur in Residence, moderated the event.
The seven startups had five minutes to deliver their pitch and three minutes for Q&A from the judges at the Social Media Theater at the Dell World Expo before a packed crowd. People filled every seat and several sat on the floor while others stood along the perimeter to watch the event.

Ihiji co-founder and CEO Stuart Rench pitching at Dell's Pitch Slam event at Dell World.

Ihiji co-founder and CEO Stuart Rench pitching at Dell’s Pitch Slam event at Dell World.

The only Austin-based team ihiji received a warm reception from the crowd. The company has created software combined with a palm-sized device that lets IT workers easily detect, diagnose and resolve network problems, said Stuart Rench, its co-founder and CEO.
It was seeking a partnership with Dell.
The other teams included Nebula, an integrated hardware and software appliance to provide cloud services, SimpleRelevance, an email marketing company, and Bottlenose, an enterprise trend intelligence company.

Video from Dell:

« Older posts

© 2024 SiliconHills

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑