HomeLevel UpMichael Dell shares the 'simple' secret to his longevity

Michael Dell shares the ‘simple’ secret to his longevity

Michael Dell shares the ‘simple’ secret to his longevity

Good morning. Fortune‘s editor-at-large Michal Lev-Ram here, writing from California.

Living in Silicon Valley, it’s easy to get caught up in the allure of the visionary founder-CEO, a la the late Steve Jobs, Sam Altman, and Elon Musk. (Yes, some founders are visionary and polarizing.) But over the last few weeks I’ve gotten to immerse myself in a feature about a more low-profile kind of founder: Michael Dell, who has been at the helm of his company for 40 years now.

Dell’s origin story is well-known in the computer business. He started selling PCs out of his dorm room at University of Texas at Austin at age 19. Four decades later, he’s still running the $79 billion Texas-based maker of laptops, servers, and more. His longevity and ability to reinvent the company multiple times over, is the focus of my just-published story for Fortune (which also covers the CEO’s epic battle with activist investor Carl Icahn, who told me he welcomes “Dell’s hatred”).

While Dell and his namesake company don’t tend to generate buzzy headlines like some of his peers, the hardware behemoth seems well-positioned to capitalize on the latest craze in technology: AI. Orders for AI-optimized servers were up 40% in Dell Technologies’ most recent quarter, and the company’s future guidance helped raise its stock to an all-time high of more than $131 in early March.

To be sure, separating hype from reality when it comes to AI is tricky business. But Dell, the founder, has done it before, repeatedly pivoting his company to meet his corporate customers’ changing demands. And 40 years after founding the PC maker, he’s just 59, meaning he’s still got many years to go—if that’s how he chooses to spend his time. (Fun fact: Dell’s long-time friend and fellow founder-CEO, Marc Benioff, says Dell has recently taken up hunting with a bow and arrow.) So what’s the secret of Dell’s longevity?

When I asked him, the founder-CEO had a straightforward explanation: “There’s a simple part of this, which is, you just don’t quit.” That—and owning 53% of your company’s shares—will do it.

Source : Yahoofinance




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