The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
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Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024

Tate season ends with computer guru

Graduates not prepared for new jobs, Dell says
 Tate season ends with computer guru
Tate season ends with computer guru

Tate season ends with computer guru

“Our education system is not doing as well as we need itto,” said Michael Dell, chairman, founder and former CEO ofDell Computers.

Dell took part in the final Tate Lecture of the year as he wasinterviewed by Alan Webber of Fast Magazine at McFarlandAuditorium.

“Generations ahead are in for a wake-up call whencompeting for the jobs of tomorrow against a global pool ofemployees,” Dell said. “We need to focus more oninstructing technologies of the future than the past.”

Dell said he thought places like England and India could wellsurpass the United States.

Dell acknowledged that institutions such as SMU were diligentlyworking to prepare the future labor force for the technologicalfuture, but it was probably too little too late.

Dell attributes his company’s phenomenal growth with itsability to change.

“We’ve gone through a lot of change. People areprepared for it,” Dell said.

Dell said that his company has grown faster than any othercompany listed with the Fortune 500. Much of that growth can beattributed to the company’s ability to change.

“Since we are in a constant state of change, then it isfairly easy for us to change directions to meet our customers;needs,” Dell said. “Other companies are resistant tochange. Companies and entities that are unwilling to change willcease to be productive.”

At the same time, Dell said companies must be careful not to letsuccess overcome them.

“We’ve seen where other companies’ successbecomes a trap,” Dell said. “We have had similarproblems on a smaller scale, but we recognized the problem andworked to overcome it. If you grow too fast, add too much, you cango spinning out of control.”

Dell Computer Company has a reported revenue of $41.4 billion.The company was started in Dell’s dormitory room at theUniversity of Texas at Austin in May 1984.

“People were willing to pay for technology, about $3,000for a 286 k computer that had maybe $600 worth of parts in it, nonelabeled as having been made by the company whose name was on thefront of the computer,” Dell said. “I decided toeliminate the middle man, the distributors and go direct to thecustomers, making them the computer they wanted for considerablyless money.”

Dell quit college to spend all of his time with the new venture.He started up what he calls “two in a box” thinkingwith Kevin Rollins, the current CEO of Dell.

“No idea is developed alone at our company,” Dellsaid. “We set up priorities and focus, as a company, on themost important ones first. Anyone within the company will tell youthat our key principles for focus are meeting the customers’expectations, a winning culture, customization andleadership.”

Dell stated that their research and development areas werestructured like some sort of an eco-system working together. Anyproblem that cannot be resolved within the eco-system becomes amatter of focus.

A woman in the audience complained of making a call to customerservice and being routed to India, on Dell’s nickel forassistance. She stated that she was on the phone for more than anhour. If she could have had an American answer her call, she wouldhave been satisfied after 15 minutes.

“Why not have a U.S. customer service for the U.S.?”she asked.

“We had a similar comment from a man about his computer.He spoke to someone in Andalusa,” Dell said. “Do youknow where Andalusa is? It’s in the U.S. — Andalusa,Alabama. Well the Alabama dialect aside; they are still technicallywithin the U.S.”

Dell explained that the company doesn’t discriminateagainst people born outside of the United States.

“We base our choices on qualifications. But back to thequestion, all calls made in the U.S. are routed to U.S. customersupport personnel, unless all lines are busy. Then they are routedto the first available technician so that our customers do not haveso long to wait for assistance.”

Dell stated that making technology available to the world marketis a constant goal.

“The world market is where the money is,” Dell said,adding that 97 percent of the world population is not in the UnitedStates but that 53 percent of the world’s wealth is here.

“We (Dell) controls about 5 percent. We want to find a wayto make it 10 percent, why not 15. Then we put that money into thecommunity. When I go to other countries and see how their studentsand population are growing on our technology, then I come home, Ican’t help being concerned.”

Next year, Dell, who has been working with Intel, will haveservers and routers available that will have two, four, six andeight microprocessors in a single slot. The same technology will beavailable for desktop computers, for a price.

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