Excerpt from The PC Pioneers
On this day in 1965 Michael Dell was born
Michael S Dell was a child entrepreneur who earned money early and invested it in stocks and commodities. He encountered computers at a local Radio Shack and first bought an Apple II. Through high school he sold Houston Post newspaper subscriptions making $18k in a year.
Dell was nineteen years old and studying medicine at the University of Texas in Austin when he began to assemble PC-compatible computers from off-the-shelf components and to sell these and disk drives on the campus.
He called his business PCs Limited in November 1984 and discovered that this direct relationship gave him a real understanding of the end-user requirements; this was invaluable in terms of planning his production.
He acquired a vendor licence so he could bid to supply State of Texas requirements and he scored well, given his lack of any overheads and his flexible approach to production.
In 1985, armed with $300k seedcorn from his family, he launched his own PC, the Turbo PC that retailed for $795. He operated on the ‘just in time’ principle and only acquired components against orders and only assembled for immediate delivery. Having no parts stock or finished product inventory kept him lean and mean.