I sure would jump at the chance to have coffee with Michael Dell. But not because of the reasons you might guess.
He is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Dell Technologies, one of the world’s largest technology infrastructure companies. He is ranked 27th richest in the world by Forbes.
He has many, many awards. The ones I find most interesting are: “Entrepreneur of the Year” (at age 24) from Inc. magazine and the 2013 Franklin Institute’s Bower Award for Business Leadership.
What I admire most about this man whom I don’t know is that (from what I’ve read about his life) he never, ever denied his inner entrepreneur. From birth, Michael Dell exhaled and inhaled entrepreneurial vapors.
He didn’t wait for anyone’s prompting, partnership, or permission.
In fact, his parents wanted very much for him to become a doctor.
Instead, he became a self-made billionaire.
Who could have predicted that? Not his parents, as close as they were to him and even though they had witnessed his entrepreneurial energy fueling his thoughts and actions at remarkable RPMs since early childhood. With earned allowance money, he purchased his first calculator at age seven. At age 15, after playing with computers at Radio Shack, he got his first computer, an Apple II, which he promptly disassembled to see how it worked. He got a job as a restaurant dishwasher at age 12 and was quickly promoted to maitre d’. During high school in Houston, Texas, Michael sold subscriptions to the Houston Post as a side job. But the family expected him to apply his intellect and talents to become a doctor.
In order to please them, he entered the pre-med program at the University of Texas. As a freshman, he used his dorm room as a business base, selling personal computer upgrade kits. He then applied for a vendor license to bid on contracts for the State of Texas, winning bids by not having the overhead of a computer store
Michael Dell also continued learning to target specific populations for newspaper subscriptions rather than just making cold calls. He hired several employees, and after earning a gross profit of nearly $200,000 in his first year of business, he dropped out of the University of Texas at age 19.
Today, Dell is an American billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He has a net worth of $41.8 billion as of February 2021.
It is also notable that he has been married once, and still is after over 30 years. He and his wife established the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, which focuses on grants, urban education, childhood health, and family economic stability. Since 1999, their foundation has committed $1.23 billion to non-profits and social enterprises in the United States, India, and South Africa.
How does admiring Michael Dell help me as an entrepreneur? you’re wondering.
He wrote a book, Direct from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry (HarperBusiness), but that was in 1999! I really hope he writes another one. Until that time, we ourselves can mine for the golden nuggets of wisdom in his success story. As an example of what I mean, here are five lessons I gleaned from how Michael Dell has lived his life so far:
*Take LOTS of actions with the goal of producing profitable results.
*Don’t worry about what your peers, family, competitors or anyone thinks about your dream. (You can get expert advice once you are in there actually solving problems.)
*Use personal values and boundaries to give you a happy, balanced life (that’s different from having limiting beliefs).
*Sell something that really helps people.
*Big success means you can be generous and help others in big ways.
Being an entrepreneur is in itself admirable, because it means you are willing to take the helm and captain your own life. See yourself steering through the storms, not letting discouragement drown you, even for a minute. By contemplating other successful entrepreneurs (many have books you can read!), you can keep your sails full of inspiration.
Here is how Barbara Dee helps entrepreneurs get published.