- Alexa Dell, 24, is the daughter of billionaire founder Michael Dell.
- Growing up, she had a “front seat to the master class” on building world-changing technologies, led by her father, Dell told Business Insider.
- Dell said her father taught her to explore lots of interests and find her passion, work hard, and exercise to become happier and more productive.
As the daughter of a computer industry pioneer, Alexa Dell, the 24-year-old daughter of Michael Dell, didn’t assume she would someday work in tech.
Looking back, her journey into the app space seems kind of inevitable.
Alexa Dell said she grew up “having a front seat to the master class” led by her father in the ’90s. She was inspired by the work her father and “for a lack of a better word, his friends” did in making the world more connected through personal computers and the internet.
“The idea that if we can make the world a smaller place with technology, we can really exponentially expand the boundaries of innovation and what’s possible within the world,” Dell said. “That movement was incredibly intriguing to me, and I wanted to be part of that.”
In 2013, Dell dropped out of Columbia University to pursue a career in tech. She now runs a business consulting firm and works as an adviser to dating app company Bumble.
Business Insider recently caught up with Dell at the SXSW film festival and tech conference in her hometown of Austin, Texas, to hear her life lessons from growing up as a Dell.
It’s OK to have lots of interests
Dell had no shortage of interests growing up, including photography, fashion, tech, and editorial. Her parents, Michael and Susan, encouraged Dell and her three siblings to explore their interests and find what fires them up.
As a high school student, Dell spent her summers in New York City working at fashion houses.
In 2013, Dell left college to work at a dating app company that she declines to name. The experience offered a glimpse into life at a startup, where she said a person’s good ideas mattered more than their age, status, or gender. Startups wanted to affect change quickly.
“I could much faster and much more efficiently present and execute on my ideas,” Dell said, adding: “I knew the space would be best-fitting for the change I wanted to have.”
‘Hard work is the foundation of success’
Dell said there never was a “bring your daughter to work day” at her father’s company, but as a child, she often visited the headquarters in Round Rock, Texas, near her childhood home.
She watched him build a multinational corporation out of a startup that was once based in Michael Dell’s freshman year dorm room. While studying at University of Texas at Austin, Michael launched the company formerly known as PC’s Limited with a $US1,000 family loan.
“The advice that he’s given me is that hard work is really the foundation of success,” Dell said.
An active lifestyle makes for a happier work-life
Alexa Dell’s Instagram has a rare few family photos. In a post captioned “Squad goals,” Dell poses atop Grand Canyon National Park with her parents dressed in athletic wear.
“Both my parents are very active,” Dell said.
She learned from her parents that a healthy lifestyle can lead to increased productivity at work. Dell’s home office has a treadmill desk where she prefers to take conference calls.
“It’s great because your blood is circulating and you can think better, you can think more clearly,” Dell said. “That’s something I kind of learned from them.”