Why Michael Dell Can Afford to Be Bolder as a Private Owner
EXCLUSIVE: Dell founder and CEO: "There's a plague of short-term thinking … and it's very dangerous. We've freed ourselves from that."LAGUNA BEACH, Calif.—Seven months after Dell Inc. returned to private ownership following a hard-fought $25 billion stock buyout and 25 years on the NASDAQ index, Michael Saul Dell said he loves the feeling of his namesake enterprise being private again. No longer do the CEO and his leadership team have to worry about contentious stockholder meetings, loud-mouthed and/or short-sighted investors, quiet periods and additional public sector-related duties he considers "nonsense." In an onstage conversation with IT analyst Mark Anderson at the 12th annual FiRE (Future in Review Conference) and later in a one-on-one interview with eWEEK, Dell said that going private enables his company to think more long range about projects and financial results, rather than on arbitrary, performance-based financial quarters. "As a private company, we can be bold," Dell said. "As a public company, with everything you do, you think, 'How is this going to impact the quarter?' This is not altogether bad, but if you really want to join the circus, tune into any public company's annual shareholders' meeting. There's just a lot of noise there that doesn't have anything to do with customers or solving problems.
"As a private company, we feel we have the privilege to innovate and be bold, and to think about our business in a much longer-term context. If you step back and look at our society, there's a plague of short-term thinking—in education, in politics, in finance—and it's very dangerous. We've freed ourselves from that."