There are a lot of things that go into creating success. I don't like to do just the things I like to do. I like to do things that cause the company to succeed. I don't spend a lot of time doing my favorite activities.
The interesting thing is when we design and architect a server, we don't design it for Windows or Linux, we design it for both. We don't really care, as long as we're selling the one the customer wants.
I can't ever remember being struck by lightning when making a big decision. It's always about taking in more and more data points and making tack adjustments as you figure it out. I call customers, suppliers, industry analysts and try to get as much information as possible.
The best customers for us are the ones that present us with a new problem because chances are, if one customer has that problem, 100 more have it, or 1,000, or 10,000. So you start thinking about solution development rather than product development.
I think it is going to be very difficult to be a company in silos. I think the game has changed. We won't define our success by looking at the competitors but at how satisfied are our customers, how engaged are our internal stakeholders, and how good is our product pipeline.
Rural technology is moving from kind of the back office to where everything, every company - sales, marketing, customer acquisition, new product development, media - all industries are becoming technology industries. And it's not information technology: it's business technology.
When we acquired Secureworks, if we had taken it and made all the salespeople into Dell salespeople, we would have totally destroyed Secureworks. Instead, it remained Secureworks but with capital from Dell and access to Dell's customers. And now, it's a great business.
Every breakthrough business idea begins with solving a common problem. The bigger the problem, the bigger the opportunity. I discovered a big one when I took apart an IBM PC. I made two interesting discoveries: The components were all manufactured by other companies, and the system that retailed for $3,000 cost about $600 in parts.
There are many different kinds of PCs. You have fixed, virtual, tablets, notebooks, ultrabooks, desktops, workstations. What you find in commercial PCs, business PCs, is that there's a really long tail of usage on client devices.
People assume that the executive branch has more power than it actually has. Only the legislative branch can create the laws; the executive branch cannot create the laws. So, if the executive branch tries to create a branch one side or the other... you go back to the founders of the nation. They set up a system that ensures that it doesn't happen.
If you think about computing, there isn't just one way to compute, just like there's not just one way to move around. You can have shoes, you can have a car, you can have a bicycle, submarine, rocket, plane, train, glider, whatever. Because you have one doesn't mean you get rid of another one... But PCs continue to be important.
One of the biggest challenges we face today is finding managers who can sense and respond to rapid shifts, people who can process new information very quickly and make decisions in real time. It's a problem for the computer industry as a whole - and not just for Dell - that the industry's growth has outpaced its ability to create managers.
People ask me all the time, 'How can I become a successful entrepreneur?' And I have to be honest: It's one of my least favorite questions, because if you're waiting for someone else's advice to become an entrepreneur, chances are you're not one.
Real entrepreneurs have what I call the three Ps (and, trust me, none of them stands for 'permission'). Real entrepreneurs have a 'passion' for what they're doing, a 'problem' that needs to be solved, and a 'purpose' that drives them forward.
I've been fascinated with technology since I was a boy banging around on my father's adding machine. Back then I'd type in an equation, the device made some cool noises, and out came my answer. I was hooked.
The world got enamored with smartphones and tablets, but what's interesting is those devices don't do everything that needs to be done. Three-D printing, virtual-reality computing, robotics are all controlled by PCs.
When you found a company, you feel a deep sense of responsibility for it. I'll care about Dell even after I'm dead. So this is a pretty personal process. And when you're doing what you love, and it's working, you don't get tired working what other people might consider long hours or crazy schedules. It's just fun. It's energizing.
Computing shows up in many different ways. You have computing that you wear, computing that you carry. What you think of as the traditional PC market has a long tail of usage, particularly in the commercial world, but also in consumer.
The whole idea behind virtual integration is that it lets you meet customers' needs faster and more efficiently than any other model. With vertical integration, you can be an efficient producer - as long as the world isn't changing very much.
The customer reaction to Dell going private has been a lot more positive than I would have ever imagined. Customers see it as - 'You don't have to be distracted. Now you can totally focus on your business.' So they see it as a positive.
IT for a long time has been about how do you make old processes more efficient. But with all of the progress in digital technology, there is a kind of digital transformation that is occurring. And you see it with the explosion in the number of devices; you see it in the explosion in the number of applications.
Dell's a company that has changed the IT landscape in making PCs and servers more affordable. There's enormous opportunities to make IT more accessible to tens of millions of companies, kind of democratizing the ability for companies to gain access to IT.
You have to imagine a world in which there's this abundance of data, with all of these connected devices generating tons and tons of data. And you're able to reason over the data with new computer science and make your product and service better. What does your business look like then? That's the question every CEO should be asking.
I was in seventh grade math class, and we had this thing called Number Sense. So, I wasn't on the track team. Wasn't on the football team. Wasn't on the basketball team. I was in the Number Sense Club.