With an estimated net worth of $US18.6 billion, Michael Dell is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Dell dropped out of school at the University of Texas at Austin to found Dell Computer Corp., which soon became one of the fastest growing companies in the country. He was only 23 when his company had its IPO in 1988, and soon, he was a billionaire.
Dell lives the extravagant life of a successful businessman as well, complete with all of the private planes, summer homes, and sweet rides you’d expect from a billionaire.
Michael Dell was born on February 23, 1965 in Houston, Texas. He was fascinated with gadgets from a young age -- when he was 15, he bought one of the first Apple computers and disassembled it to see if he could put it back together.
When he was in high school, he got a job selling newspaper subscriptions. After figuring out how to target an untapped customer base, he made $US18,000 in just one year.
Though he was really only interested in computers, Dell entered the University of Texas at Austin as a pre-med student in 1983. He spent his spare time upgrading PCs and selling them from his dorm room, making $US180,000 in his first month of business. Though he never came back for his sophomore year of classes, he returned to his dorm for a photo opp in 1999.
He officially launched his company in 1984, under the name PC's Limited. It soon became one of the fastest growing companies in the country, raking in more than $US6 million in sales in its first year of business.
He changed the company's name to Dell Computer Corp. in 1987, and sales continued to soar. It went public in 1988, raising $US30 million in its initial public offering. Dell made about $US18 million off of the deal, and by 1992, the 27-year-old CEO was the youngest man to ever lead a Fortune 500 company.
In 1988, he went on a blind date with Susan Lieberman, a young fashion designer from Dallas. The two had an instant connection. 'Most men I dated talked about themselves a lot and tried to impress me,' Susan told Texas Monthly. 'He was the nicest guy I'd ever met.' They were married in October 1989, and together they have four kids.
Susan is a well-liked figure on the Austin social scene. Her fashion designs have caught some attention over the years, too -- back in 2001, she designed the inaugural ball gowns for Jenna and Barbara Bush. She operated a successful boutique in Austin and even had two labels of her own before opening a new fashion brand, Phi, in New York City, which she closed in 2009 after disappointing sales.
Dell is famously shy and protective of his family. He reportedly pays about $US2.7 million a year for personal security, yet that hasn't kept his kids from taking to social media to document their every move. In 2012, Instagram and Twitter accounts belonging to 20-year-old daughter Alexa were shut down after a photo of brother Zach dining on the family's private plane made an appearance on the 'Rich Kids of Instagram' Tumblr site.
The family's 33,000-square-foot home outside of Austin is known by locals as 'the Castle' because of its hilltop perch and heavy security presence. The house boasts eight bedrooms, a tennis court, indoor and outdoor pools, and gorgeous views of Lake Austin. It also happens to be the most expensive home ever built in Texas.
He also owns a 6,380-square-foot contemporary ranch house in the nearby hills, where the family keeps Arabian horses. 6D Ranch has been controversial, as some have said that Dell unfairly qualified for a $US1 million agricultural tax break because his family and friends sometimes use the land to hunt deer.
Dell also reportedly owns a four-story neoclassical home on the exclusive Caribbean island of Anguilla.
But the family spends many of their holidays at the 'Raptor Residence,' a seven-bedroom tropical paradise in the gated community of Kukio, Hawaii. The home was estimated to be worth a staggering $US58 million in 2013.
In addition to the Gulfstream V the family already owns, Dell was reportedly in talks to purchase a Boeing Dreamliner 787 last year. It's unclear, however, whether Dell planned to buy the plane as an investment or for his own personal use.
The private plane definitely comes in handy for when Michael and Susan need to travel for work through their nonprofit organisation. The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation focuses on issues related to underprivileged children, both in the U.S. and around the world.
In 1998, Dell started a private equity firm called MSD Capital to manage his family's wealth. The firm has made investments in a number of companies, including IHOP, Applebee's, Dollar Rent-a-Car, Domino's Pizza, and a landscape business called ValleyCrest, in addition to real estate in Hawaii, Mexico, and California. In 2010, the firm purchased 185,000 vintage Magnum photos in one of the largest photography transactions in history.
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