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