Houston, TX

Who is this $15 billion college dropout from Houston, TX?

Stephen L Dalton


A case full of $100 bills Image from Pexels-Pixabay

His parents wanted Michael to become a doctor, but he had a passion for computers. He is now worth an estimated $15.4 billion.

This is a story of how a kid from Houston, TX, with a strong mind and an interest in computers, launched an empire from his college dormitory room.

Michael's elementary school years in Houston, TX

He was born in Houston, Texas, in 1965. His childhood newspaper route and other financial dealings would aid him in his desire to make money and become successful without a college degree. Before he entered high school, Michael had an interest in the world of finance.

Michael's high school years and investments

While he was at Memorial High School in Houston, TX, he started selling subscriptions to the "Houston Post" during the summer months. These subscriptions were his way of contacting people who might be interested in a custom-built computer. Within one year, Michael made about eighteen thousand dollars due to his hard work.

Michael’s college years before dropping out

Michael enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student. However, since Michael needed money, he began his own homegrown computer kit business right out of his dorm room. Over time, he became a legal business owner with an official vendor license.

Michael got the chance to secure beneficial contracts with co-workers. As a sophomore in college, he started his own company called "PCs Limited." Having a company allowed him to buy computers directly. He custom-built computers to his client’s desires. He sold close to eighty thousand dollars in upgraded retail parts and PCs from his dorm room, and he decided to quit school.

Imagine his parents’ dismay when he announced he would drop out of college to pursue his computer business in earnest. His father was an orthodontist, so he expected his son to become a doctor too. At that time, very few people had computers, and even fewer became successful without a college degree.

It is rumored that his father was upset they “wasted” so much money sending him to college. They were genuinely shocked when Michael offered to repay them from the $80,000, he already earned.

After he decided to leave college, he quickly moved to expand his business as the "Dell Computer Corporation." Michael Dell's computer products skipped retail stores completely. Within a few years, his company had a market value of one billion dollars.

Michael Dell is one of America’s richest

According to the Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest people in the United States, Michael Dell is reportedly the eighteenth richest person in the United States due to his success with Dell Technologies, which currently has a net worth of $32.3 billion.

Michael Dell is now the second richest resident of Austin, TX

You would think there would be no comparison of wealth when someone has a net worth of $15 billion. However, when Elon Musk moves from Silicon Valley to become one of your neighbors, with an estimated worth of around $180 billion with a “B,” you’re suddenly one of the “poor” kids on the block. Depending on what day it is, Elon Musk could be the second richest in the USA behind Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, who has around $197 billion.

Yet, he has many billionaire neighbors in Austin. Austin, Texas billionaires beside him and Musk, includes:

  • Robert Smith, the venture capitalist at $5 billion.
  • "Tito" Beveridge, the Vodka tycoon at $4.2 billion.
  • John Paul DeJoria, the owner of Patron Tequila & Paul Mitchell salon products at $3.1 billion.
  • Thai Lee, a tech entrepreneur with $3 billion.
  • Joe Liemandt, the software giant, has $3 billion.
  • Brian Sheth, private equity manager at $2.2 billion.

Does that mean to become a billionaire you should move to Austin, TX, and drop out of college? You decide.

How Michael's wealth has been an inspiration

Michael Dell believes that it is essential to persevere regardless of the odds. He now directly employs more than 150,000, and his corporation causes the employment of many more to move and sell computer parts and peripheries. One of Michael’s quotes is:

“Each day that you’re moving toward your dreams without compromising who you are, you’re winning.”

YouTube video Top 10 jobs paying >$75,000, no degree required

Andrei Jikh, with 1.5 million subscribers, uploaded this to YouTube, so if you found value in it, “like” or subscribe.

Final thoughts

Michael Dell proved that a college diploma is not the only avenue to success in America. You don’t have to listen to the naysayers who insist you must take out student loans, go into debt, and get a degree to become successful. Put your nose to the grindstone and apply what you know.

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Stephen Dalton is a retired US Army First Sergeant with a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland. Top Writer in Virtual Reality, Sports, Short Story, Design, and Creativity. I especially like writing about design and home improvements.


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