Michael Dell Shares Insights on Business, Life and the Magic of Austin at SXSW 2024  | Shalom Austin

Michael Dell Shares Insights on Business, Life and the Magic of Austin at SXSW 2024 

The Jewish Outlook

Mar 20, 2024

Patrick Moorhead and Michael Dell on stage at SXSW 2024. Credit: Wendy Goodman

By Wendy Goodman

Renowned Jewish entrepreneur, founder of Dell Technologies and generous contributor to the Jewish community in Austin, Michael Dell, captivated the audience at SXSW 2024 with his featured session entitled “Business, Life, and the Magic of Austin.” Delving into the intersections of entrepreneurship, personal growth, and the unique spirit of Austin, Dell’s conversation, moderated by Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, offered valuable insights for aspiring business leaders and enthusiasts alike. 

Dell, a visionary in the tech industry, drew from his own journey of building Dell Technologies at age 19 in his freshman dorm at the University of Texas, into a global powerhouse, emphasizing the importance of resilience, innovation, and his learnings early on. 

“I learned the importance of a team and developing a team. I learned you’ve got to surround yourself with great people, stay curious and always be learning. I had a sense, but I really learned that integrity and reputation are really the most valuable things. 

“I learned that you can learn a ton from customers, staying close to customers, understand what their challenges, problems and opportunities and unmet needs are. That’s the wellspring of success,” said Dell. 

Dell also shared personal anecdotes and lessons learned from his decades-long career, underscoring the significance of perseverance and risk-taking in achieving success. He emphasized the need for entrepreneurs to embrace failure as a learning opportunity and to continually challenge themselves to think outside the box. 

Attendees at the SXSW session were treated to Dell’s reflections on the vibrant culture of Austin, a city renowned for its eclectic blend of creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship. As a proud resident and advocate for the city, Dell highlighted Austin’s role as a hub for innovation and collaboration, citing its diverse talent pool and supportive ecosystem for startups. 

“The Austin area has roughly doubled in size every decade for the last four decades. But I think it’s been an incredible attractor of people with talent. My optimism is not just about technology. Technology has played a role in all the great things that have happened in the world and certainly here in Central Texas…And in Central Texas you have this great combination of innovative businesses, a great university, 1.6 million college students in Texas.  

“I believe that entrepreneurs go where their ideas can flourish and are welcome. Talent goes where there’s opportunity. Capital goes where it’s treated well. And it turns out Texas is a great place for that. Austin has been a hub of innovation. It’s attracted the best and brightest minds, new ideas, new companies, and new opportunities for organization of all sizes. It’s been fun playing a part in that,” said Dell. 

Also known for his philanthropic endeavors, namely the Dell Jewish Community Campus, Dell Jewish Community Center and many others, when asked about his charitable giving and legacy, Dell explained, “If you look at our Foundation [Michael & Susan Dell Foundation], we have focused on children and families, and urban poverty generally. That’s how it’s focused on education, healthcare, family, and economic stability. Because we live in Austin, we’ve had a special focus in Austin so we’ve done some things in Austin that we wouldn’t do in other cities. Fortunately, Austin has been in this emergent stage where it has needed a lot of new things. We’ve been able to, along with others, help create those and catalyze those.”  
As the session concluded, attendees left inspired and empowered by Dell’s words, equipped with newfound wisdom to navigate the complexities of business and life. Dell’s keynote served as a testament to the enduring legacy of innovation and entrepreneurship, epitomizing the spirit of SXSW as a platform for creativity, collaboration, and collective growth. 

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