Billionaire Michael Dell Bio and Rise to Top 

Michael Dell was born on Feb. 23, 1965, in Houston, Texas. He was fascinated with gadgets from a young age — when he was 15, he bought one of the first Apple computers and disassembled it to see if he could put it back together.

Michael Dell was born on Feb. 23, 1965, in Houston, Texas. He was fascinated with gadgets from a young age — when he was 15, he bought one of the first Apple computers and disassembled it to see if he could put it back together.

Facebook.com/michaelsdell

Source: Academy of Achievement

When he was in high school, he got a job selling newspaper subscriptions. After figuring out how to target an untapped customer base, he made $18,000 in just one year.

When he was in high school, he got a job selling newspaper subscriptions. After figuring out how to target an untapped customer base, he made $18,000 in just one year.

Facebook.com/michaelsdell

Source: Academy of Achievement

Though he was really only interested in computers, Dell entered the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student in 1983. He spent his spare time upgrading PCs and selling them from his dorm room, making $180,000 in his first month of business. Though he never came back for his sophomore year of classes, he returned to his dorm for a photo opp in 1999.

Though he was really only interested in computers, Dell entered the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student in 1983. He spent his spare time upgrading PCs and selling them from his dorm room, making $180,000 in his first month of business. Though he never came back for his sophomore year of classes, he returned to his dorm for a photo opp in 1999.

Harry Cabluck / AP Images

Source: Entrepreneur

He officially launched his company in 1984, under the name PC’s Limited. It soon became one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, raking in more than $6 million in sales in its first year of business.

He officially launched his company in 1984, under the name PC's Limited. It soon became one of the fastest-growing companies in the country, raking in more than $6 million in sales in its first year of business.

Michael Dell 1984Dell

Source: Entrepreneur

He changed the company’s name to Dell Computer Corp. in 1987, and sales continued to soar. It went public in 1988, raising $30 million in its initial public offering. Dell made about $18 million off of the deal, and by 1992, the 27-year-old CEO was the youngest man to ever lead a Fortune 500 company.

He changed the company's name to Dell Computer Corp. in 1987, and sales continued to soar. It went public in 1988, raising $30 million in its initial public offering. Dell made about $18 million off of the deal, and by 1992, the 27-year-old CEO was the youngest man to ever lead a Fortune 500 company.

Rebecca McEntee / AP Images

Source: Entrepreneur, Academy of Achievement

In 1988, he went on a blind date with Susan Lieberman, a young fashion designer from Dallas. The two had an instant connection. “Most men I dated talked about themselves a lot and tried to impress me,” Susan told Texas Monthly. “He was the nicest guy I’d ever met.” They were married in October 1989 and together they have four kids.

In 1988, he went on a blind date with Susan Lieberman, a young fashion designer from Dallas. The two had an instant connection. "Most men I dated talked about themselves a lot and tried to impress me," Susan told Texas Monthly. "He was the nicest guy I'd ever met." They were married in October 1989 and together they have four kids.

Facebook.com/michaelsdell

Source: Texas Monthly

Susan is a well-liked figure on the Austin social scene. Her fashion designs have caught some attention over the years, too. Back in 2001, she designed the inaugural ball gowns for Jenna and Barbara Bush. She operated a successful boutique in Austin and even had two labels of her own before opening a new fashion brand, Phi, in New York City, which she closed in 2009.

Susan is a well-liked figure on the Austin social scene. Her fashion designs have caught some attention over the years, too. Back in 2001, she designed the inaugural ball gowns for Jenna and Barbara Bush. She operated a successful boutique in Austin and even had two labels of her own before opening a new fashion brand, Phi, in New York City, which she closed in 2009.

Getty Images

Source: Austin Business Journal, Texas Monthly, New York Magazine

 

Dell is famously protective of his kids, but they still manage to socialize in tech circles. At one point, his daughter Alexa dated Tinder CEO Sean Rad.

Dell is famously protective of his kids, but they still manage to socialize in tech circles. At one point, his daughter Alexa dated Tinder CEO Sean Rad.

Facebook.com/alexa.dell

Source: Valleywag

His son, Zack Dell, has started following in his dad’s footsteps. In 2014, at age 17, Zach cofounded Thread. Thread started as a dating app and now calls itself a photo-sharing app.

His son, Zack Dell, has started following in his dad's footsteps. In 2014, at age 17, Zach cofounded Thread. Thread started as a dating app and now calls itself a photo-sharing app.

AngelList

The kids shared this photo of their dad with the family dogs.

The kids shared this photo of their dad with the family dogs.

Facebook.com/coletttedell

Source: Facebook

 

The family’s 33,000-square-foot home outside of Austin is known by locals as “the Castle” because of its hilltop perch and heavy security presence. The house boasts eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools, and gorgeous views of Lake Austin.

The family's 33,000-square-foot home outside of Austin is known by locals as "the Castle" because of its hilltop perch and heavy security presence. The house boasts eight bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools, and gorgeous views of Lake Austin.

Bing Maps

Source: The Independent

 

Dell also owns a 6,380-square-foot contemporary ranch house in the nearby hills, where the family keeps Arabian horses. Dell’s 6D Ranch has been controversial, as some have said that he unfairly qualified for a $1 million agricultural tax break because his family and friends sometimes use the land to hunt deer.

Dell also owns a 6,380-square-foot contemporary ranch house in the nearby hills, where the family keeps Arabian horses. Dell's 6D Ranch has been controversial, as some have said that he unfairly qualified for a $1 million agricultural tax break because his family and friends sometimes use the land to hunt deer.

6D RanchWhite Construction/Architect: Gwathmey Siege

Source: Mother Jones, The Nation

 

Dell also reportedly owns a four-story neoclassical home on the exclusive Caribbean island of Anguilla.

Dell also reportedly owns a four-story neoclassical home on the exclusive Caribbean island of Anguilla.

Rgoogin / Wikimedia Commons

Source: Mother Jones

But the family spends many of their holidays at the “Raptor Residence,” a seven-bedroom, 18,500-square-foot compound on 4.3 acres of oceanfront tropical paradise in the gated community of Kukio, Hawaii. The home was estimated to be worth a staggering $73 million.

But the family spends many of their holidays at the "Raptor Residence," a seven-bedroom, 18,500-square-foot compound on 4.3 acres of oceanfront tropical paradise in the gated community of Kukio, Hawaii. The home was estimated to be worth a staggering $73 million.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images, Bing Maps

Source: Business Insider and The Pinnacle List

Dell loved the resort area of Hualalai so much that in 2006 he bought the whole thing— hotel, resort, everything except the private homes — and shares a stake with Walmart billionaire Rob Walton.

Dell loved the resort area of Hualalai so much that in 2006 he bought the whole thing— hotel, resort, everything except the private homes — and shares a stake with Walmart billionaire Rob Walton.

Four Seasons Resort, Hualalai, HawaiiFour Seasons Hotels

Source: Bloomberg

In 1998, Dell started a private-equity firm called MSD Capital to manage his family’s wealth. The firm has made investments in a number of companies, including IHOP, Applebee’s, Dollar Rent-a-Car, Domino’s Pizza, and a landscape business called ValleyCrest. In 2010, the firm purchased 185,000 vintage Magnum photos in one of the largest photography transactions in history.

In 1998, Dell started a private-equity firm called MSD Capital to manage his family's wealth. The firm has made investments in a number of companies, including IHOP, Applebee's, Dollar Rent-a-Car, Domino's Pizza, and a landscape business called ValleyCrest. In 2010, the firm purchased 185,000 vintage Magnum photos in one of the largest photography transactions in history.

AP

Source: Bloomberg, New York Times

 

Through MSD Capital, Michael Dell also owns a wide variety of real estate in Hawaii, Mexico, and California. The company invests in luxury hotels, commercial and multifamily properties, and land development, and it participates in other real-estate-development funds.

Through MSD Capital, Michael Dell also owns a wide variety of real estate in Hawaii, Mexico, and California. The company invests in luxury hotels, commercial and multifamily properties, and land development, and it participates in other real-estate-development funds.

MSD Capital

Dell has his fair share of hot wheels as well. His car collection at one point included a 2004 Porsche Boxster …

Dell has his fair share of hot wheels as well. His car collection at one point included a 2004 Porsche Boxster ...

Dave Pinter/Flickr

Source: MSN 

… a Porsche Carrera GT …

... a Porsche Carrera GT ...

Philipp Lücke/Flickr

Source: MSN

… and a Hummer H2.

... and a Hummer H2.

Flickr/Alexandre Prévot

Source: MSN 

 

 

He’s owned his share of airplanes too, including a Gulfstream V. Dell reportedly upgraded to a Boeing Dreamliner 787 in 2013 too.

He's owned his share of airplanes too, including a Gulfstream V. Dell reportedly upgraded to a Boeing Dreamliner 787 in 2013 too.

Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Airchive.com

Source: Wall Street Journal

 

 

Since 1999, the Dell’s charitable foundation has given away $1.23 billion to nonprofits and social enterprises in the US, India, and South Africa.

Since 1999, the Dell's charitable foundation has given away $1.23 billion to nonprofits and social enterprises in the US, India, and South Africa.

msdf.org

Source: Michael and Susan Dell Foundation

Dell is friends with other tech billionaires. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is a particular buddy. The two of them did a public Fitbit walking challenge in 2014 and Benioff’s team won. But Dell is so competitive, that he smack-talked Benioff about it, saying his mantra for the week was #dellbeatsbenioff2015.

Dell is friends with other tech billionaires. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff is a particular buddy. The two of them did a public Fitbit walking challenge in 2014 and Benioff's team won. But Dell is so competitive, that he smack-talked Benioff about it, saying his mantra for the week was #dellbeatsbenioff2015.

Michael Dell and Marc BenioffFitbit

Source: Fitbit

Later, Dell, who so rarely loses at anything, teasingly implied that Benioff cheated to beat him at the Fitbit challenge, saying he suspected his friend of attaching the device to his dog before playing fetch.

Salesforce CEO Marc BenioffMike Windle/Getty Images for Weinstein Carnegie Philanthropic Group

Source: Forbes

In 2004, Dell left the helm of his PC company and moved to the chairman role. But in 2007, with Dell’s share of the PC market declining, he shook up management, took the reins as CEO, and never let go again. As the PC market continued to decline, he expanded into bigger new markets through new products and acquisitions.

In 2004, Dell left the helm of his PC company and moved to the chairman role. But in 2007, with Dell's share of the PC market declining, he shook up management, took the reins as CEO, and never let go again. As the PC market continued to decline, he expanded into bigger new markets through new products and acquisitions.

REUTERS/Steve Marcus

In 2013, the legendary Texan won a long, occasionally ugly battle to take Dell private, fighting off legendary activist investor Carl Icahn, who wanted to stop the deal and replace the board.

In 2013, the legendary Texan won a long, occasionally ugly battle to take Dell private, fighting off legendary activist investor Carl Icahn, who wanted to stop the deal and replace the board.

AP

Source: Business Insider

 

Two years after winning that battle, Dell announced plans to buy EMC for $67 billion, the largest tech acquisition ever. This is EMC CEO Joe Tucci shaking hands with Dell.

Two years after winning that battle, Dell announced plans to buy EMC for $67 billion, the largest tech acquisition ever. This is EMC CEO Joe Tucci shaking hands with Dell.

Dell

 

The financing of a deal this huge was complicated, and at first, skeptics thought it would fall apart in all sorts of ways, citing everything from tax complications to pushback from investors in VMware, a company EMC mostly owned.

The financing of a deal this huge was complicated, and at first, skeptics thought it would fall apart in all sorts of ways, citing everything from tax complications to pushback from investors in VMware, a company EMC mostly owned.

REUTERS/Larry Downing

Source: Recode, Business Insider

But Dell didn’t lose. Instead he catapulted his company into a much bigger one with the purchase of EMC. He is now the leader of the largest private company in the tech industry.

But Dell didn't lose. Instead he catapulted his company into a much bigger one with the purchase of EMC. He is now the leader of the largest private company in the tech industry.

Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

His new company, renamed Dell Technologies, has $74 billion in revenue, 140,000 employees, a salesforce of 40,000, 25 manufacturing locations, and 17 global R&D centers. Its products compete in 39 tech areas. And it has stakes in two public companies, VMware and SecureWorks, a security company that Dell spun out as part of its financing strategy.

His new company, renamed Dell Technologies, has $74 billion in revenue, 140,000 employees, a salesforce of 40,000, 25 manufacturing locations, and 17 global R&D centers. Its products compete in 39 tech areas. And it has stakes in two public companies, VMware and SecureWorks, a security company that Dell spun out as part of its financing strategy.

Michael DellDell

Source: Dell Technologies

“This is a change-or-die business,” a pleased Dell told CNBC’s Squawk Box after the deal closed. “All industries are becoming technology industries,” he added. “And we’ve got the powerhouse company to enable all of that across the world.”

"This is a change-or-die business," a pleased Dell told CNBC's Squawk Box after the deal closed. "All industries are becoming technology industries," he added. "And we’ve got the powerhouse company to enable all of that across the world."

REUTERS/Jana Asenbrennerova