Entrepreneurial Success

Success Stories Best Business Practices Michael Dell

Legendary Founder, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Dell Computer Corporation


"It's through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we've always mapped our path at Dell. There's always an opportunity to make a difference."


"You don't have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be
successful. You just need a framework and a dream."



Michael's Entrepreneurial Spirit

  •  Michael is 8:  Michael makes a serious attempt to earn his high school diploma more quickly by passing a test and invites a person from a testing company.

4 WHYs of True Success

  •  Michael is 12:  Michael embarks upon his very first business venture. Fascinated with stamps and commercial opportunities they offer, Michael creates his own stamps auction. He wants to bypass traditional auctioneers, learn more about stamps, and collect a commission in the process. Michael gets a bunch of people in the neighborhood to consign their stamps to him; advertises "Dell's Stamps" in Linn's Stamp Journal; types, with one finger, a twelve-page catalogue and mails it out. He earns $2,000 and learns an early, powerful lesson about rewards of eliminating the middleman. He also learns that if you've got a good idea, it pays to do something about it.


  •  Michael is 16:  Michael gets a summer job selling newspaper subscriptions to The Houston Post and learns the power of market segmentation. The newspaper gave Michael a list of new phone numbers issued by the telephone company and tells him to cold call them. Michael soon notices the pattern, however, based on the feedback he is getting from potential customers during these conversations. There are two kinds of people who almost always buy subscriptions to the Post: people who have just married and people who have just moved into new houses or apartments. Michael hires a couple of his high school buddies to search for such people. He creates a personalized letter for high-potential customers. Michael earned $18,000 that year, more than his school teacher did.

How To Discover Opportunities

  •  Michael is 18:  Michael, a freshman student at the University of Texas in Austin, applies for a vendor's license and starts selling high-performance computers upgraded by him. He declares he ultimately wants to compete with IBM and registers the company "PC's Limited".

  •  Michael is 19:  Michael incorporates "Dell Computer Corporation" with initial start-up investment of $1,000. He finishes his freshman year and leaves the University to devote himself to the venture, full-time.


  •  Michael is 26:  Michael becomes the youngest CEO of a company ever to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500.

7 Routes To High Profits


Best Practices and Success Stories

Dell Inc.: Strategies that Revolutionized Industry

Dell Inc.: Sustainable Competitive Advantage

Dell Inc.: Customer-focused Culture

Dell Inc.: Culture of Independent Owners

Market Segmentation by Dell Inc.

Dell Inc.: EON Solution

Creating Customer Value

Succeeding Online

Mark Zuckerberg

Jack Ma

Vadim Kotelnikov

Steve Jobs    Konosuke Matsushita


Disruptive Innopreneur    Venturepreneur

Revenue Model

Venture Management

Entrepreneurial Leader



1. Direct from Dell, Michael Dell with Catherine Fredman

The Power of Passion

Michael Dell, born in February 1965, is fascinated with computers. In 1980, he purchased his first computer the Apple II and promptly took it apart to understand how it was designed and made. In 1983, 18-years old Michael declared he ultimately wanted to beat IBM and started conducting a lucrative business out of his dormitory room at the University of Texas, selling upgraded PCs and add-on components.

6+6 Drivers for Entrepreneurship

Innovation Is Love

Michael Dell founded Dell Inc. in 1984 with $1,000 and an unprecedented idea to build relationships directly with customers.

Customer Care

Customer Value Creation: Yin-Yang Strategies



Dell Inc. is a premier provider of computing products and services to customers from consumers to the world's largest corporations, including many of the companies on the Fortune 500. With the addition of Dell Inc. to this list in 1992, Mr. Dell became the youngest CEO of a company ever to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500. The company ranked among Top 10 on Fortune magazine's Global "Most Admired" list.

The Tree of Business Success

Michael Dell is the author of Direct From Dell: Strategies That Revolutionized an Industry, his story of the rise of the company and the strategies he has refined that apply to all businesses.

3 Strategies of Market Leaders

Surprise To Win: 3 Strategies

Creating Sustainable Profits: 9 Questions To Answer



Michael Dell as an Advisor

  • IT governor of the World Economic Forum

  • Member of the executive committee of the International Business Council

  • Member of the U.S. Business Council

  • Member of the U.S. President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

  • Member of the U.S. President's Export Council

  • Member of the governing board of the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad

More about / by Michael Dell

Michael Dell Discovers the Power of Market Segmentation at the Age of 16

Making Effective Decisions

Opportunity-driven Business Development

Ignoring conventional wisdom and doing things their way

The Fun Factor

Reassessing Past Decisions

Management By Wandering Around