Dude, Dell's at UCSD

    Michael Dell, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of Dell Computer Corporation, spoke to a crowd of students, faculty and members of the public on May 20 in the first of a series of lectures hosted by UCSD’s new Graduate School of Management.

    Kimberly Hughes

    The event began with introductions by Richard Attiyah, vice chancellor for research and dean of graduate studies, and Robert S. Sullivan, dean of the management school. Dean of the Jacobs School of Engineering Freider Seible asked Dell questions about the company and upcoming technological advances.

    “”Research-based institutions have a very vital role to play in catalyzing future development,”” Dell said during the hour-long discussion. “”UCSD contributes the molecular technologies … that we deliver to the consumer.””

    Seible also asked Dell what major breakthroughs are next for the computer industry.

    “”There’s still so much yet to occur in wireless,”” Dell said. “”We love wireless.””

    In addition to progress in wireless technology, Dell mentioned the linking of many processors to form supercomputers, decreasing costs of computers and environmental concerns as areas of innovation for the industry to explore.

    Many questions posed by Seible and members of the audience addressed Dell’s experience as an entrepreneur and leader of a Fortune 500 company.

    When asked what the company looks for in potential employees, Dell responded that the company seeks people who are self-starters, responsible, collaborative, not complacent and who “”like to win.””

    Dell also expressed the importance of failure when asked what advice he would give students aspiring to start their own businesses.

    “”Be ready to fail,”” Dell said. “”That’s the only way that you’re going to learn.””

    Increased globalization of the personal computer market was also discussed at some length, specifically as related to the growing computer market in Asia.

    The second half of the lecture was moderated by Ray Smilor, president of the Beyster Institute, a free-standing training and consulting firm dedicated to the use of employee-ownership programs.

    Sullivan expressed the idea that having Dell, Smilor and Seible involved in the management school’s first lecture sets the bar for future discussions.

    Smilor represented J. Robert Beyster, chairman and chief executive officer of Science Application International Corporation and founder of the Beyster Institute.

    Seible’s involvement in the program also associated Irwin and Joan Jacobs with the lecture. Irwin Jacobs founded technology giant Qualcomm.

    Sullivan, Smilor and Dell have known each other since Dell was an undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin.

    When Dell was a student, Smilor asked Sullivan, then dean of the University of Texas at Austin’s business school, if Dell could display his personal computer clone in the foyer of the school’s building. While Sullivan agreed, the university’s lawyers later forced the removal of the computer, citing it as advertising for a private company.

    Eighteen years later, Dell Computer has emerged as the leader in direct-to-consumer personal computer products with sales totaling $36.9 billion during the last four quarters.

    The crowd that gathered to attend the lecture at the Graduate School of International Relations/Pacific Studies’ Robinson Auditorium was so large that overflow seating was made available in two classrooms in an adjacent complex. A live feed of the event was piped to the overflow areas by UCSD-TV.

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