Titled Direct From Dell, the book--co-written by Dell and Catherine Fredman--describes in 250 plus pages how the direct sales strategy of Dell evolved as well as Michael Dell's
Direct from Dell will be released in March.
A number of high tech CEOs, including Andy Grove, Gil Amelio, and John Sculley, have come out with co-authored books in recent years, making the self-help business book something of a status symbol.
The meteoric rise of Dell, according to the book, largely seems to derive from an ability to stick to the basics. Dell moved to the center of the PC industry at the 1986 Comdex trade show when it released a PC with a 12-MHz processor, before the mainstream had moved to that level. IBM at the time was selling more expensive 6-MHz computers. The pitch to performance worked, he writes.
Later, the company was on the verge of launching a cutting-edge product family called Olympic. Customers who previewed the prototypes, however, said the Olympic gave them too much technology. The project was canceled. In 1993, the company reduced its notebook line to one model. Sales picked back up.
Despite the occasional mishap, however, the company's history seems to move on an upward trajectory. The first public stock offering, for instance, took place during the week of Black Monday, the day the stock market crash took place in 1987.
Although Dell states that the book is intended as a volume on business strategies and is not a biography, a few personal tidbits pop up. Among the details:
As would befit a book about Dell Computer, the volume shares strong ties to both Intel and Microsoft. Co-author Catherine Fredman was also the co-author of Andy Grove's book Only the Paranoid Survive.
And the authors of the first two critical blurbs in the press release? Andy Grove and Bill Gates.