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Direct From Dell: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dell Computer Corporation

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In 1983, Michael S. Dell, then an incoming freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, drove away from his parents' Houston home in a white BMW he'd bought selling subscriptions to his hometown newspaper. In the backseat were three personal computers. Today, he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dell Computer Corporation, an $18 billion company, the second-l In 1983, Michael S. Dell, then an incoming freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, drove away from his parents' Houston home in a white BMW he'd bought selling subscriptions to his hometown newspaper. In the backseat were three personal computers. Today, he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dell Computer Corporation, an $18 billion company, the second-largest manufacturer and marketer of computers in the world. Founded on a deceptively simple premise--to deliver high-performance computer systems directly to the end user--Dell Computer is the envy of its competition, constantly growing at five times the industry rate, and a perennial darling of Wall Street: its stock is up more than 36,000 percent this decade, and more than 200 percent in the last year. In Direct From Dell, Michael Dell himself tells the incredible story of Dell Computer's successful rise, beginning in his college dorm room with $1,000 in capital. In these pages, you'll see the formation of a great visionary--and a great company. You'll meet the young Dell who, at the tender age of eight, had already begun looking "to eliminate unnecessary steps" and who, as a numbers-loving adolescent, was inspired by a newfound fascination with computers to save his money to buy a coveted Apple II--only to promptly take it apart. You'll encounter a young visionary who, upon witnessing the inefficiencies of an exploding industry, challenged conventional wisdom and set out to do nothing less than beat IBM at its own game. In so doing, Dell forever changed the way things "had always been done" in the computer industry. You'll also see the birth of a Dell hallmark--the direct model--which, in its ability to reach the customer directly, eliminated not only a substantial middleman markup but also the possibility of costly excess inventory, setting the stage for other extraordinary achievements. In an industry notorious for its unreliable service, Dell utilized its direct customer relationships to pioneer the concept of customer "support"--and didn't rest until the caliber of its service was rivaled only by the quality of its products and its speed of delivery. But the story of Dell Computer is no fairy tale. Marked by uncharacteristically rapid growth, the company was faced with challenges that could have threatened its very existence. From forays into retail to under- (and over-) developed product lines, Dell learned some hard lessons along the way--and emerged stronger as a result. The strategies born of those times--unrivaled speed to market; superior customer service; a fierce commitment to producing constantly high-quality custom-made systems--heralded what has perhaps been the company's crowning achievement: an early exploitation of the Internet. One of the first companies to actually make money online, Dell is now selling more than $12 million worth of systems per day over www.dell.com. Not just for CEOs or those in high tech, the strategies revealed in Direct From Dell are invaluable to managers in a broad cross section of industries. From starting a successful business to pioneering computer sales and service over the Internet, Dell shares his perspectives on: Why it's infinitely better for any business starting out to have too little capital, rather than too much How studying your customers--not your competition--will give you a greater competitive edge Why it can be life-threatening to your company to pursue too many good ideas--or to grow too fast Why it's essential to run a P&L on every area of your business Why your people prose a greater threat to the health of your business than your competition does How you can exploit your competition's weakness by exposing its greatest strength How integrating your business virtually can make the difference between being quick--and being dead Revealing nothing less than a new model for doing business in the information age, Direct From Dell is both an extraordinary business success story and a manifesto for revolutionizing any industry.


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In 1983, Michael S. Dell, then an incoming freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, drove away from his parents' Houston home in a white BMW he'd bought selling subscriptions to his hometown newspaper. In the backseat were three personal computers. Today, he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dell Computer Corporation, an $18 billion company, the second-l In 1983, Michael S. Dell, then an incoming freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, drove away from his parents' Houston home in a white BMW he'd bought selling subscriptions to his hometown newspaper. In the backseat were three personal computers. Today, he is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dell Computer Corporation, an $18 billion company, the second-largest manufacturer and marketer of computers in the world. Founded on a deceptively simple premise--to deliver high-performance computer systems directly to the end user--Dell Computer is the envy of its competition, constantly growing at five times the industry rate, and a perennial darling of Wall Street: its stock is up more than 36,000 percent this decade, and more than 200 percent in the last year. In Direct From Dell, Michael Dell himself tells the incredible story of Dell Computer's successful rise, beginning in his college dorm room with $1,000 in capital. In these pages, you'll see the formation of a great visionary--and a great company. You'll meet the young Dell who, at the tender age of eight, had already begun looking "to eliminate unnecessary steps" and who, as a numbers-loving adolescent, was inspired by a newfound fascination with computers to save his money to buy a coveted Apple II--only to promptly take it apart. You'll encounter a young visionary who, upon witnessing the inefficiencies of an exploding industry, challenged conventional wisdom and set out to do nothing less than beat IBM at its own game. In so doing, Dell forever changed the way things "had always been done" in the computer industry. You'll also see the birth of a Dell hallmark--the direct model--which, in its ability to reach the customer directly, eliminated not only a substantial middleman markup but also the possibility of costly excess inventory, setting the stage for other extraordinary achievements. In an industry notorious for its unreliable service, Dell utilized its direct customer relationships to pioneer the concept of customer "support"--and didn't rest until the caliber of its service was rivaled only by the quality of its products and its speed of delivery. But the story of Dell Computer is no fairy tale. Marked by uncharacteristically rapid growth, the company was faced with challenges that could have threatened its very existence. From forays into retail to under- (and over-) developed product lines, Dell learned some hard lessons along the way--and emerged stronger as a result. The strategies born of those times--unrivaled speed to market; superior customer service; a fierce commitment to producing constantly high-quality custom-made systems--heralded what has perhaps been the company's crowning achievement: an early exploitation of the Internet. One of the first companies to actually make money online, Dell is now selling more than $12 million worth of systems per day over www.dell.com. Not just for CEOs or those in high tech, the strategies revealed in Direct From Dell are invaluable to managers in a broad cross section of industries. From starting a successful business to pioneering computer sales and service over the Internet, Dell shares his perspectives on: Why it's infinitely better for any business starting out to have too little capital, rather than too much How studying your customers--not your competition--will give you a greater competitive edge Why it can be life-threatening to your company to pursue too many good ideas--or to grow too fast Why it's essential to run a P&L on every area of your business Why your people prose a greater threat to the health of your business than your competition does How you can exploit your competition's weakness by exposing its greatest strength How integrating your business virtually can make the difference between being quick--and being dead Revealing nothing less than a new model for doing business in the information age, Direct From Dell is both an extraordinary business success story and a manifesto for revolutionizing any industry.

30 review for Direct From Dell: Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dell Computer Corporation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Parth Agrawal

    "In your margin, lies my opportunity"- Jeff Bezos Apart from what we all know about Mr Bezos, this line is suggestive of the fact that Consumer is the King. Well friends I found another paranoid who thoroughly believes in this mantra and his name is Mr Michael Dell, founder of 'Dell Computer Corporations'. This guy has reinforced my belief that family milieu has something to do with how the child turns out to be. His mother was a stockbroker so the dinner table discussions were filled with what to "In your margin, lies my opportunity"- Jeff Bezos Apart from what we all know about Mr Bezos, this line is suggestive of the fact that Consumer is the King. Well friends I found another paranoid who thoroughly believes in this mantra and his name is Mr Michael Dell, founder of 'Dell Computer Corporations'. This guy has reinforced my belief that family milieu has something to do with how the child turns out to be. His mother was a stockbroker so the dinner table discussions were filled with what to buy, sell , hold , options, futures, economy, Central bank decisions etc. This exercise instilled a sense of creating something new in him and find someone to pay for it. He started out as a garage junkie, one who used to repair computers (as computers were the latetst fad then) of neighbors, friends but the fun part really started when he started to upgrade the computers. Customers used to give him their computers, he used to open it up and upgrade the specs and took a small commission in exchange. Even when he was in the school he was earning his money through this enterprise of his and he used the money amply to satiate his enjoyments:p:p . Entrepreneurial knack was a part of him since very early age. He was 18 years old when he knew what he had to do in life, unfortunately he had to hide this fact from the family for quite sometime as they were skeptical of the idea. He registered his company under the name Dell Computer Corporations with $1000 of initial capital and today the company is worth $30 Billions. Goosebumps? Yeah, I had em too:p:p From the start of his journey only, he was in love with the idea of customers telling him what tasks they expected their computers to perform and it was his talent to understand that task and perform a commensurate upgrade into their respective machines. Later, he went on to call this model as the Direct Model. This model focused on satisfying the needs of customers rather than creating need for customers just because a new technology is there in the market. To understand this, let's backup a little- Computers were created by scientists to do their simulations, calculations and multiple tasks at the same time. They were not invented for common people. It dawned upon people quite late that this could be commercialized as well but the initial discoveries had already set the precedent. The precedent being, all the inventions that took place subsequently were not demand driven rather they were invented first and then was enforced upon the customers. What this meant was that computers with rigid specifications came into the market in bulk and customers had to make peace with that. But this was the case until Dell arrived into the picture. His zealous outreach and exceptional commitment towards the people has changed the whole way how this industry works. As predictable as it may seem, there were companies (Giant ones at that- Apple, IBM etc) which realized the advantages of this model and replicated it to try to reduce the market share of dell but, As it turns out, Dell had other plans. Dell started with PCs and Notebooks as their product offerings and the industry biggies realized that they are losing out on their market share and profits, so they started to subsidize their losses in PC market by increasing the price of servers that they were selling and in the process, started a price war in the PC market. It has been a characteristic quality of Dell that they identify an opportunity very quickly so they realized that they'll have to enter the server market and as they did, all the advantages of the giants were squared off in one go as Dell was not only making servers according to the customers specifications but they were also providing the maximum pricing benefits to the customer. " I always prefer to overuse an idea than under-exploit it" - Michael Dell This motto broadly encapsulates the work culture that goes around in the company. The environment is extremely conducive to experimentation and the reward system is built around innovative temper of the employee. One of the best ideologies that Dell promotes is of Value-Integration- They totally replaced the Bid/Buy style of ordering to the suppliers and instead involved them in their process, that too, in such a manner that almost all the suppliers are an indispensable part of Dell. They know the demands and expectations of the company and accordingly alter their own supplying capabilities both in terms of speed and technology. To finish off, it's easy to understand and if you are an over-zealous entrepreneur or a computer enthusiast, the book will be Christmas to you. In my personal opinion, the plot and story was predictable from the start so at some point of time it turned into a drag but the only reason that I did finish this and would recommend you to do the same is written down below. "There's no risk in preserving the status quo, but there's no profit either"- Michael Dell

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shitiz Srivastava

    It is not a biography. It is not even a journal. I think what Michael Dell had in mind while writing this book was to write a motivational book. The problem with the book is that it ends up being neither one. But does that make this book a bad read? Definitely not. Dell tells the tales of his life to motivate you but never goes overboard in writing quotes or forcefully writing paragraphs to convince you about life rules like if you do this or do that, you will be highly successful. It is not pre It is not a biography. It is not even a journal. I think what Michael Dell had in mind while writing this book was to write a motivational book. The problem with the book is that it ends up being neither one. But does that make this book a bad read? Definitely not. Dell tells the tales of his life to motivate you but never goes overboard in writing quotes or forcefully writing paragraphs to convince you about life rules like if you do this or do that, you will be highly successful. It is not preachy. It will motivate you by the instance of events of a young boy's journey to turn his interest in computers into a billion dollar industry. The book is one of the most influential business books you can ever read in your life. The book tells the tales of a boy who started his first business of postage stamps at the stage of 12 and by the time he turned 19 he was selling his own computers, had a registered company and by the time he was 21 he had a multi-million-dollar worth of company in his hand with a 1000 square feet office and public listing at stock exchange. It all happened because of one thought – the idea to sell to the customers directly by cutting the middleman. Now you know how the book got its title. People who will read this book might say that Dell has a passion for computing, I would rather say no. I think he was more fascinated by the business of computers than the technology itself. He was not into inventing things. Yes, he helped in moving the technology forward. When IBM was selling their 6 Mhz computers, he started making 12 Mhz of computers at half the rate which sold like hot cakes and Dell get to appear on the cover of many influential computer magazines. But still, he concentrated more on how to make powerful computers and sell them at lower costs so that more people could afford it. Dell converted all his obstacles into his pathways. The most important thing to learn from Dell’s life is that not every time you may have a plan to do something but that should not stop you from doing what you really want to do. The plan will appear once you will take your steps forward. All you need is to have faith sometimes to take your first step. You need to know whether the idea will work or not, you just need to know that you want to do it and there is no way anyone can stop you from doing it. A kid in 20s becomes a billionaire as, unlike other kids, he was courageous enough to skip school to attend computer conferences and had the guts to challenge the behemoth of a company IBM in his teens, who at that time was a national company which had captured more than 70% of the computer market. The tale of David and Goliath is a not a story, I think it is a philosophy and an idea that given enough 'will power' anyone can do anything. If you read the stories of entrepreneurs who were born in the ’70s and ’80s when the computer industry was making several innovations in terms of development, innovation and marketing, most of the young computer wizards who are born in ’50s and ’60s was making headlines at this time. Be it Dell, or Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. They changed the industry. In the centre of all of them, there was a Goliath company that they were all fighting against, it was IBM. Probably the biggest computer company there ever has been and a company responsible for creating more entrepreneurs than any other company. The book should be read by those who are very ambitious in life and want to do something. I would not recommend it for a casual read. And do not even touch it if you are not familiar with anything about Dell company. Read a few things about Dell first because once you know the mammoth size of the company, it will only further increase your interest in the words that are written in the book. I read it during my college days and it was a great source of motivation for me. I was doing computer engineering those days and this book helped me to get motivated and to go a step further in trying to know more about computers. I remember I read this book in one sitting too. Yes, it was very interesting for me and I loved it. Not for the language or the writing but for the events and the courage of a boy to turn his belief into a reality.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shivji Kumar jha

    This is an excellent book and I would recommend this to everyone who is starting a B2C company or holds (or aims to hold) a managing positions in such a space. Michael Dell opens up about his life, how he started dell, what the differentiator for Dell as a company is and his obsession for the customer satisfaction. The book is divided into two parts: - the first talks about dell as a younger company and the second focuses on managing the big organizers so you get both the perspectives. The example This is an excellent book and I would recommend this to everyone who is starting a B2C company or holds (or aims to hold) a managing positions in such a space. Michael Dell opens up about his life, how he started dell, what the differentiator for Dell as a company is and his obsession for the customer satisfaction. The book is divided into two parts: - the first talks about dell as a younger company and the second focuses on managing the big organizers so you get both the perspectives. The examples quoted in the book, in the form of the experiences of Dell as a company shows how important a differentiating factor for a growing company is and why Dell prides itself on the support and customer feedback loop. The author talks at length about information versus inventory and highlights how important it is to hold as minimum inventory as possible. Alternatively focus on information flow. There is tons to learn from this book. I would place this book in my "read again" section.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Parag

    The books highlights the journey of Dell from the founder's perspective. It captures different business challenges faced by the company right from it's inception to it's heydays and so on. The writer stresses on various business paradigm that the company was able to break in its journey to become the most sought after PC brand in the world. In crux, the book covers the following: 1. Dell's Direct Model: In an age where most of its competitors were using Indirect Channel for market penetration, it The books highlights the journey of Dell from the founder's perspective. It captures different business challenges faced by the company right from it's inception to it's heydays and so on. The writer stresses on various business paradigm that the company was able to break in its journey to become the most sought after PC brand in the world. In crux, the book covers the following: 1. Dell's Direct Model: In an age where most of its competitors were using Indirect Channel for market penetration, it used Direct Route to Market without partnering with any reseller/retailer/distributor 2. Customer Centric Approach: Dell has always been very proactive in terms of sensing the pulse of it's customers. Getting regular feedbacks and door to door service have been key to understanding the Demand proposition. It has tried to create products that have gained mass acceptance.There is an instance about the highly ambitious 'Olymic' project that it had to shelve just because there was no Demand for it 3. Inventory: Right from the start, Dell has focussed on reducing the inventory to the extent of having only 5-6 days on inventory on hand.This has reduced the cost and freed up cash for expansion activities. Since the business model is Direct, they dont have any inventory stocked up in channel and hence they can better price their products and pass on some benefit to the customers.In the face of a technology change, they are more prepared and can go to market faster 4. Age of Internet: When the internet was launched way back in the 80's, there were very few people to understand the leverage that it could provide. Dell not only lapped up the opportunity to use internet as a value add to it direct Sales Model, but also used it to improve relationships with Suppliers and Customers.Thus the value chain right from Supplier to Dell to End Customers became highly integrated The above have been covered in great length within the book.Having worked in a PC industry myself, I can relate to the things espoused by Dell. Overall a very good read for people trying to gain some understanding of Sales Model, Supplier Relationship, Inventory Basics and above all how to go about engaging with Customers in a fruitful manner

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Overall, a good book for all those, who are interested in what the founder of such a successful company considers the important aspects for the success of DELL. The best part, I found, was the first third, where I was delighted by the drive young Michael Dell had: - Age 12, he got into stamp collecting and had the idea of putting an ad in a stamp collecting magazine. He got some friends, who also collected stamps, and typed up all the stamps they were willing so sell. This yielded $2000 in 1970s Overall, a good book for all those, who are interested in what the founder of such a successful company considers the important aspects for the success of DELL. The best part, I found, was the first third, where I was delighted by the drive young Michael Dell had: - Age 12, he got into stamp collecting and had the idea of putting an ad in a stamp collecting magazine. He got some friends, who also collected stamps, and typed up all the stamps they were willing so sell. This yielded $2000 in 1970s money for a 12 year old. - Age 16: He worked for a newspaper, sales department. Objective: Get new subscribers. He was instructed to dial up the newly added phone numbers in the phone book. Michael noticed, that he had the best chances with newly wedded couples and people who had just moved to town. Clever and resourceful, Michael figured out how he could get the phone numbers from just those people, by inquiring about where one might find this information... realestate/mortgage postings (I forget which exactly) and which ever government entity has information about new marriages. Anyway, this summer gig landed him $18,000, more than his teacher made in a year! The book should have gone into more detail about how he hired his first people, for example. I wish he had written in detail, how he went about finding his first employees, who assembled PCs in the 1980s. And the second half of the book was seriously too long. We get it: It's all about the customer. This got very redundant. ( "customer" word count is surprisingly only 100 times for the book - I'm so surprised, I'm not sure if that's true.)

  6. 4 out of 5

    malhar shah

    Indepth understanding about the business efficiencies of an organization that revolitionized a industry. Great book overall... You learn how a company is built and its strategies.... Great indepth knowledge about selling direct and culture that promotes a constant innovation and challenges old ways of doing business. It is a ideal book for someone who wants to understand the operations of a large company with efficiency,agility and control of a small organization. The way dell creates a whole new Indepth understanding about the business efficiencies of an organization that revolitionized a industry. Great book overall... You learn how a company is built and its strategies.... Great indepth knowledge about selling direct and culture that promotes a constant innovation and challenges old ways of doing business. It is a ideal book for someone who wants to understand the operations of a large company with efficiency,agility and control of a small organization. The way dell creates a whole new model of mass customization by combining the principles of mass production and customization is truly unique for the organization. The company which revolutionized an industry, started selling direct and still grows at twice the industry speed consistently over the years. Just one flip side, too much praise about Dell, he didn't show any mistakes committed by Dell and portrays it as a superhero but still every time he makes sound business case and it is a must read in business books.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma Shepherd

    An older book but I found at lot of the business advice was still very current, particularly since I am in a much slower moving industry than Dell. The amount of import placed in people (employees, customers, suppliers) and the inter relationships between them has really helped me think differently about my own job. Seeking that information rather than waiting for it to come to you is valid in any role and job in any business. I also found the tone of this very conversational and approachable. T An older book but I found at lot of the business advice was still very current, particularly since I am in a much slower moving industry than Dell. The amount of import placed in people (employees, customers, suppliers) and the inter relationships between them has really helped me think differently about my own job. Seeking that information rather than waiting for it to come to you is valid in any role and job in any business. I also found the tone of this very conversational and approachable. There was minimal technical language and the concepts were developed with great story telling and examples.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Engineer SAM

    Interesting book. It explains how Michael Dell created the huge business from scratch. It outlines principles of success of his business by sharing realtime stories of development of Dell. I do however think that it does not point out any major setbacks or down times Dell suffered. The book gave me an impression as if Dell did not face any threat to take it near bankruptcy. May be such a time never came. Nonetheless it is an interesting read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Antonio

    This is my assessment of the book Direct from Dell by Michael Dell according to my 7 criteria: 1. Related to practice - 3 stars 2. It prevails important - 3 stars 3. I agree with the read - 4 stars 4. not difficult to read (as for non English native) - 4 stars 5. too long and boring or every sentence is interesting - 3 stars 6. Learning opportunity - 4 stars 7. Same old stuff - It has rich content - 3 stars Total 3.42 stars

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lance McNeill

    Inspiration from a resilient entrepreneur The lessons in this book are evergreen, regardless of the references to outdated technology. Dell is a true master of entrepreneurship. He has described many principles of the lean startup methodology years before Eric Ries coined the term.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Harry Harman

    Like most billionaires, he was making more than his teachers were making at age 16. At age 18, he had it in his minds eye that he was going to compete at the leagues of IBM. He started PCs limited with $1,000. IBM started with $100 M. Key differentiators: Vertically integrated, customer-focused as opposed to competitor-focused, better customer service.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eleazar F

    Great book to strategize I bought this book at year ago and enjoyed over an over, Michael Dell is in my perspective one of the best business man role model you can find. I recommend this book to everyone who seeks to know more about the dell’s business strategy and mantra.

  13. 4 out of 5

    T

    This was an interesting read although is a bit dated at this point. Tells the story of Dell founding his company, and the corporate ethos of dell itself. All in all a bit shallow and filled with anecdotes - wish the author would have gone more in depth. Key points: -direct retailing models are superior -> improved inventory management, less overhead, lower prices, better customer feedback to inform NPD, better customer experience -keep inventories low, especially in electronics -segment your markets This was an interesting read although is a bit dated at this point. Tells the story of Dell founding his company, and the corporate ethos of dell itself. All in all a bit shallow and filled with anecdotes - wish the author would have gone more in depth. Key points: -direct retailing models are superior -> improved inventory management, less overhead, lower prices, better customer feedback to inform NPD, better customer experience -keep inventories low, especially in electronics -segment your markets and customers to tailor selling strategy -partner with suppliers

  14. 4 out of 5

    NakulJain

    Inspirational. Must read book for a new job hunter or say rookie of tech world.

  15. 5 out of 5

    avnish v nair

    Inspirational story...well written in most simple language.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Yu Hao

    Very superficial and nondescript points. You can read a random Business Insider "Top 10 Traits of a CEO" type of article and get what is written in this book. Disappointing. Very superficial and nondescript points. You can read a random Business Insider "Top 10 Traits of a CEO" type of article and get what is written in this book. Disappointing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aarti

    A very inspiring autobiography for young, focused minds about a boy who promises to his father about beating IBM one day and his entrepreneurial, bold moves and dedication in his dorm days.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Zak Metz

    The story of a company that started in a dorm room and grew to a multi-billion dollar corporation is a fun read, but since it was written in '99, the talk about capitalizing on the newfangled Internet sounds aged. Does anyone call it cyberspace anymore? Still, the principles Dell built his namesake company on are solid and applicable to any business: Take care of your customers, your employees, and your suppliers. Dell was probably ahead of his time using Kanban-style, low-inventory systems, in The story of a company that started in a dorm room and grew to a multi-billion dollar corporation is a fun read, but since it was written in '99, the talk about capitalizing on the newfangled Internet sounds aged. Does anyone call it cyberspace anymore? Still, the principles Dell built his namesake company on are solid and applicable to any business: Take care of your customers, your employees, and your suppliers. Dell was probably ahead of his time using Kanban-style, low-inventory systems, in some cases replenished hourly but suppliers who happily located their factories in close proximity to Dell's. Dell emphasizes that true efficiency goes beyond your own business. You have to teach your suppliers the techniques too, since keeping the cost down means you don't want them stocking quickly devalued inventory either. Dell has been able to stay current with technology be keeping such low stock, especially since they had a rather bad experience getting stuck with a boatload of memory chips just as a newer technology came to market. Since the company grew in the double digits annually, job responsibilities quickly changed, and Dell began to target smaller and smaller markets in each subdivision, yielding extraordinary customers service focused on each "customer of one." Yes, they were quick to get on the "information superhighway," and to get suppliers online too, but again that part of the book sounds aged, but Dell's forecasts were pretty right on. Dell cut their teeth on the direct model. No middlemen or retail stores, and that is their differentiator. Going cyber kept that strong as Dell continued to grow to millions a day of sales through their infant website. After reading this, I'm curious about the story since '99. Meanwhile, what a story! At the dawn of the home computer, Dell led the way to customizing systems to buyers, and extended their customer relationships even to the point of having techs permanently in residence at major clients. Their customer focus combined with low inventory has allowed them to deal with defects quickly and cheaply. Although we don't have inventory at PBS, per se, we do have a product that ages and that new technologies influence. To stay ahead of the curve requires daring experimentation, and learning lessons rather than perceiving them as blunders. Learning from mistakes and taking quick corrective action has allowed them to stay on top. In the end Dell still puts it all up to customer service, taking care of your staff, and partnering with suppliers.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sujata Sahni

    Wherever I go, whether I'm giving speeches or talking to customers, I'm always asked lots of questions about e-commerce and the future of business. No matter who the audience, one simple question is asked again and again : What happens next? The high-tech industry is particularly known for it's volatility - but today businessses in other industries are far from immune. The Pervasive use of technology throughout businesses large and small, and the furious rate at which information is exchanged, h Wherever I go, whether I'm giving speeches or talking to customers, I'm always asked lots of questions about e-commerce and the future of business. No matter who the audience, one simple question is asked again and again : What happens next? The high-tech industry is particularly known for it's volatility - but today businessses in other industries are far from immune. The Pervasive use of technology throughout businesses large and small, and the furious rate at which information is exchanged, have increasingly made the need to embrace change an important factor in any businesses success. Change no longer represents the occasional need to react to far-reaching trends or industry influences. It's more like the Chinese character for crises, which represents both danger and opportunity. It is also constant, direct and temporary, for once things change, you can bet they're going to change again. Learning to thrive on constant change is the next frontier. Find opportunity in an age of uncertainty, tap into the power of the internet, seize the opportunities afforded by a level playing field, go for hyper growth, integrate virtually, link your world electronically. Expect change and plan for it. Rather than seeing it as a potential threat or problem, welcome it as an opportunity. Encourage your people to seek out the indicators of change in your particular industry. Remember there's no risk in preserving the status quo, but there's no profit either. Develop a customer focused philosophy. Add value beyond the box, expand your range of vision and see the big picture. Learn direct from the source, know your customers history as well as your own. Become your customers advocate, and exploit the next best thing to mental telepathy. The book is full of Michael Dell's experiences on learning from failure and walking on the path towards success. His struggles to understand how computers work and setting up one of the largest Technology Companies globally is very inspiring.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Raj

    Michael Dell started his company as a freshman at the University of Texas with $1,000. He narrates in a very humble way, always speaking of things having to do with customer satisfaction and their benefits. Maximizing profit seems to come only secondary. Dell started an informal business putting together and selling upgrade kits for personal computers. 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. In Michael Dell started his company as a freshman at the University of Texas with $1,000. He narrates in a very humble way, always speaking of things having to do with customer satisfaction and their benefits. Maximizing profit seems to come only secondary. Dell started an informal business putting together and selling upgrade kits for personal computers. 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. In 1992 aged 27, he became the youngest CEO to have his company ranked in Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 corporations. In 1996, Dell started selling computers over the Web, the same year his company launched its first servers. Dell Inc. soon reported about $1 million in sales per day from dell.com. In the first quarter of 2001, Dell Inc. reached a world market share of 12.8 percent, passing Compaq to become the world's largest PC maker. The metric marked the first time the rankings had shifted over the previous seven years. The company's combined shipments of desktops, notebooks and servers grew 34.3 percent worldwide and 30.7 percent in the United States at a time when competitors' sales were shrinking. Very Good read. Excellent Book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt D

    Really good read. Would have enjoyed it more if it was about Michael Dell's story and less company-focused - that being said, his whole life has been the creation and sustained success of Dell. "I learned the value of giving someone else the key to the Coke machine" "Hire people who embrace your vision" "You're not a customer for one transaction, you're a customer for life" -Closed-loop, direct model -The highest level of service, high-performing products -Improving speed of inventory flow is a neces Really good read. Would have enjoyed it more if it was about Michael Dell's story and less company-focused - that being said, his whole life has been the creation and sustained success of Dell. "I learned the value of giving someone else the key to the Coke machine" "Hire people who embrace your vision" "You're not a customer for one transaction, you're a customer for life" -Closed-loop, direct model -The highest level of service, high-performing products -Improving speed of inventory flow is a necessity -Liquidity, profitability, growth -Under promise, over deliver -What is the right plan? (identifies what you need to ensure success, rallies employees around a few common goals, customers and suppliers goals together) -Inventory Velocity -Hire ahead of the game -Stay allergic to hierarchy ("Best Idea Wins") -Always think bottom line, yours and customers

  22. 5 out of 5

    Johan Sulaiman

    Picked this up from my bro-in-law's abandoned box in his garage :). Michael Dell fits the early starting mold of successful famous people I have read: a premed major who started his business in middle school (eventually earning $18,000 a year, more than his teacher who helped him do his tax return). He followed through his idea of selling PCs direct to customers at the right time during the birth of the massive industry, growing his business to billions of dollars of yearly sales in just a few s Picked this up from my bro-in-law's abandoned box in his garage :). Michael Dell fits the early starting mold of successful famous people I have read: a premed major who started his business in middle school (eventually earning $18,000 a year, more than his teacher who helped him do his tax return). He followed through his idea of selling PCs direct to customers at the right time during the birth of the massive industry, growing his business to billions of dollars of yearly sales in just a few short years, always profitably in those initial quarters. He taught the essential need to obsessively know your customer through further and further segmentation. Another good insider book although don't expect to be too entertained in terms of writing style or pacing.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    Good book about a man and his vision for Dell - It's also a history lesson in how a kid went to college and was seeking a different path and the principles that took him down that road. Found it very compelling that he hit the wall at one point - His experience and education not suited for the job he created - CEO of Dell --- Use of external experts to provide supply chain and business leadership was encouraging. Seeing him return to the helm is also example to his ability to adapt and master the Good book about a man and his vision for Dell - It's also a history lesson in how a kid went to college and was seeking a different path and the principles that took him down that road. Found it very compelling that he hit the wall at one point - His experience and education not suited for the job he created - CEO of Dell --- Use of external experts to provide supply chain and business leadership was encouraging. Seeing him return to the helm is also example to his ability to adapt and master the business. Hard to argue with his track record unless you are a competitor.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kodwo

    Splendid story about how one's passion could lead you into the dream career. Michael Dell tells the incredible story of how an excellent strategy and innovative marketing paved the way for him to carve a niche for a business he started in his college dormitory. At least he gives the other side of the story which is that he did not have to drop out of school to achieve his dream. His lesson on effective marketing strategy makes interesting reading for any business student. He has a thing or two a Splendid story about how one's passion could lead you into the dream career. Michael Dell tells the incredible story of how an excellent strategy and innovative marketing paved the way for him to carve a niche for a business he started in his college dormitory. At least he gives the other side of the story which is that he did not have to drop out of school to achieve his dream. His lesson on effective marketing strategy makes interesting reading for any business student. He has a thing or two about differentiating a product/service in an already crowded market. Good and simple read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bishop Emhonfubhegbe

    This was actually good.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Praveen

    Direct from Dell My well wisher who bought this book for me. I had no idea why she opted this book for me. Left with no option, i read few pages in the beginning, as hours gone, Mr Dell pulled me completely in to his world. For every working professional and thinking of start up, i highly recommend this book. This book gave me few learning out of his experience 1. How to be organized 2. Delegating the work to the peers 3. Stay focused on your goal. 4. Vision Thanks mate for your gift

  27. 5 out of 5

    Anvar Eshov

    Great book! With interesting life stories of Sir Michael Dell! 10/10

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shohei

    I always find that most CEO's have extreme interest in many things, especially in making a new world. They know that their dreams come true not only by themselves, but need other people's help. It is difficult to work with various people who have their own opinions. Eventhough, he has the ability to connnect their opinions in one straight way. I always find that most CEO's have extreme interest in many things, especially in making a new world. They know that their dreams come true not only by themselves, but need other people's help. It is difficult to work with various people who have their own opinions. Eventhough, he has the ability to connnect their opinions in one straight way.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Read this for an E-business class years ago. I rarely read a book back then, but actually finished this one. I really enjoyed it the flow of the book and the simple business strategies presented in it. It's interesting to see how a company evolves over time and how a smart, but well grounded, founder can turn a little side job into a huge corporation. Read this for an E-business class years ago. I rarely read a book back then, but actually finished this one. I really enjoyed it the flow of the book and the simple business strategies presented in it. It's interesting to see how a company evolves over time and how a smart, but well grounded, founder can turn a little side job into a huge corporation.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Michael Dell thinks like a business man, and if you find yourself reading through this book going, duh at a few points, you probably think in a similar manner. While some of the book seems only relevant to people interested in working at Dell or a similar company, there's quite a bit that your average person can take away from this book. � Michael Dell thinks like a business man, and if you find yourself reading through this book going, duh at a few points, you probably think in a similar manner. While some of the book seems only relevant to people interested in working at Dell or a similar company, there's quite a bit that your average person can take away from this book. �

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