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  • An Orginal “Disruptor:”Michael Dell

    Michael Dell turned the ubiquitous “Dell Computer” into a juggernaut.

    In 1984, Michael Dell created PCs Limited while a student at the University of Texas at Austin. From his dorm he sold IBM PC-compatible. Michael Dell turned the ubiquitous “Dell Computer” into a juggernaut – where he was the first to allow customers to customize their personal computers. Dell’s other innovation, was that he utilized the internet like no others at the time – where his business model was reinvented to selling PC’s and devices exclusively online.

    Dell also had its share of problems. It started having customer complaints about some its products and customer service practices, and also in 2007, had to restate its earnings, as it had some accounting irregularities. The company has stabilized, but the halcyon days of hyper-growth are long passed.

    I offer Direct from Dell, because   members will go through a similar path: if they’re lucky.  You will launch your business from your living room or garage, get some financing and somehow – become a disruptor, because Dell and Amazon, really were the first one’s to develop billions of dollars of revenue online.

    Some of the insights from Direct from Dell:

    1. Our success is due, in part, to not just an ability but a willingness to look at things differently. I believe opportunity is part instinct and part immersion-in an industry, a subject, or and area of expertise.
    2. I learned an early, powerful lesson about the rewards of eliminating the middleman. I also learned that if you have a good idea, it pays to do something about it.
    3. Constantly questioning conventional thinking became part of our company mentality.
    4. Dell was founded on the premise of “under-promise and over-deliver”- customers, employees, and suppliers
    5. No matter what your industry, try to identify potential problems early-and fix them fast. And involve your customers early in the developmental process. They are your most valuable focus group. Listen early and listen well.
    6. But rather than build something and hope for the best, we now set our sights on designing products based only on clear customer need and input.
    7. If you build an infrastructure for a $3 billion company before you get there, it’ll inevitably weigh you down to the point that you don’t get there. You’ve got to the confidence in yourself and in the opportunity, and you’ve got to build the infrastructure as you grow.
    8. Communicating is one of the most important tools in recovering from mistakes.
    9. Facts are your friend.
    10. He helped us understand that planning was not a quarterly event, but an ongoing process. And it was not just an internal initiative, but a system that involves every part of the supply chain, customer and employee base.
    11. The key to creating a plan that’s challenging but achievable is having enough data. The more data we extract about different businesses within our company, the better we are able to see he strengths and opportunities for improvement.
    12. We discovered that having a common language and effectively sharing common goals actually enhances our organizational structure, which in turn kicks the company into higher gear.
    13. Segmentation takes the closed feedback loop and makes it even smaller and more intimate. It refines our relationship with our customers. As we deepened our understanding of each customer segment, we also developed a better understanding of how to measure its financial opportunity.
    14. Our strategies for success were born; speed to market, superior customer service; and a fierce commitment to producing consistently high quality, custom-made computer systems that provide the highest performance and the latest relevant technology to our customers.
    15. Simply put, the best way I know to establish and maintain a healthy, competitive culture is to partner with your people-through shared objectives and common strategies.

    Good Luck.

    Calvin Wilson
    Founder and CEO
    Upstart: Business and Management for 20-40 Year Old Professionals

    Filed Under: Gamechangers


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