Try to ignore the misplaced apostrophe in PC’s Limited. It was the 80s. I was a kid in a rush to make it in the world of business. I was breaking rules I didn’t know existed (and grammar was just one of them). :)
Fast forward 32 years, founded and incorporated as Dell Computer Corporation doing business as PC’s Limited is now Dell Technologies, a powerful and privately-controlled family of businesses that includes Dell, Dell EMC, VMware, Pivotal, Virtustream, SecureWorks, RSA and Boomi.
If you’re familiar with the tech industry, you know our combination with EMC is contrary to the moves our closest competitors are making. We’re investing big in innovation and growth while others are shrinking, breaking up and spinning off.
I’m asked almost daily if I think my strategy will pay off. The short answer is of course I do!
Every move we’ve made is about transforming to meet the evolving and growing needs of our customers. Standing still or, worse, trying to shrink your way to success would be counter-productive. We are charting our own course again, finding a new way of doing things—and it’s working:
Global scale, agility and innovation can coexist and, when they do, magic happens. As a private company, we are making decisions faster than ever and, more importantly, have the freedom to plan for the long term (vs the 90-day cycle of public companies). We are investing $4.5 billion in R&D annually—more than twice that of our nearest competitor—backed by the world’s best supply chain, sales force and partners. All of this adds up to enormous advantage for our customers in an industry defined by change.
Private company debt is inexpensive compared to the cost of being public. We are operating our company with an investment grade approach. Our cash flow to debt service ratios are phenomenal. In fact, our debt payments are much less than our competitors spend on share buy-backs and dividends.
Markets shrink, grow and evolve, but opportunity persists. We can grow and gain share in consolidating parts of the industry, as we’ve done in PCs for 15 quarters in a row. But people who think that is the whole of our business haven’t been paying attention. We’re looking to the future, digital transformation and the $3 trillion IT market that is set to grow exponentially when you consider the central role of technology in our modern world.
I’ll cut to the moral of the story. Critics are always present, whether you’re taking on an industry giant from a dorm room, finding a new answer to an old problem, or just trying something different.
My advice to you is don’t be deterred. Keep striving. Keep innovating. Keep listening, learning and believe in your dreams. Keep breaking the rules that need to be broken, because that’s how we move our world forward.
Originally published on Linkedin Pulse.
About Michael Dell