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Michael Dell helped launch the personal computer revolution in the 1980s with the creation of the Dell Computer Corporation, now known as Dell Inc.
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Born on February 23, 1965, in Houston, Texas, Michael Dell showed an early interest in technology and gadgets. At the age of 15, he purchased an early Apple computer in order to take it apart to see how it worked. In college, he started building computers and selling them directly to people, focusing on strong customer support and cheaper prices. Dell Computer was the world's largest PC maker.
"A bunch of guys sitting around trying to decide what we want to have done with our money after we're dead, that's not a very good idea. Forget all that. We're going to do this while we're still here and get it right."
[On his early entry into philanthropy.]
"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."
Born on February 23, 1965, in Houston, Texas, Michael Dell helped launch the personal computer revolution in the 1980s with the creation of the Dell Computer Corporation (now known as Dell Inc.), which began in the founder's dorm room at the University of Texas and quickly blossomed into a megawatt computer company. By 1992, just eight years after Dell was founded, Michael Dell was the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Dell's success wasn't entirely surprising. While his mother, a stockbroker, and his father, an orthodontist, pushed their son to consider medicine, Dell showed an early interest in technology and business.
A hard worker, Dell landed a job washing dishes at a Chinese restaurant at the age 12 so that he could put away money for his stamp collection. A few years later he harnassed his ability to sift through data to find new customers for newspaper subscriptions for the Houston Post, which earned the high school student $18,000 in one single year.
Intrigued by the expanding world of computers and gadgetry, Dell purchased an early Apple computer at the age of 15 for the strict purpose of taking it apart to see how it worked.
It was in college that Dell found the niche that would become his boom. The PC world was still young and Dell realized that no company had tried selling directly to customers. Bypassing the middleman and the markups, Dell tapped his savings account for $1,000 and started building and selling computers for people he knew at college. His emphasis, however, wasn't just on good machines, but strong customer support and cheaper prices. Soon, he had accounts outside of school and it wasn't long before Dell dropped out and focused all his efforts on his business.
The numbers proved staggering. In 1984, Dell's first full year in business, he had $6 million in sales. By 2000, Dell was a billionaire and his company had offices in 34 countries and employee count of more than 35,000. The following year, Dell Computer surpassed Compaq Computer as the world's largest PC maker.
Overall, Dell's first 20 years proved to be one of the most successful businesses on the planet, surprising such titans as Wal-Mart and General Electric. Dell's story is so compelling that, in 1999, he published a best-selling book about his success, Direct from Dell: Strategies That Revolutionized the Industry.
Intensely private and notoriously shy, Dell has come out of his shell over the years, say those who know him, thanks to his wife Susan, a Dallas native whom he married in 1989. The couple has four children.
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