Having returned to his own company, Michael Dell has seen his namesake PC maker fall behind Hewlett-Packard and stagnate on Wall Street. So far, he hasn't done much to duplicate fellow company-founder Steve Jobs's stunning second act with Apple. Forbes, in its profile, seems to be hoping he will, but Dell's own words show why it's unlikely:
Let's suppose you had a business you could grow from $30 billion to $60 billion by focusing only on one thing. Then you do that, until you can't do it anymore.
Dell is speaking of the company's direct-sales model, which bypasses retail stores — a model Dell built but is now tearing apart. Instead, Dell is now chasing strategies he formerly derided or already failed at: retail sales, cool marketing, high-end hardware, and consumer electronics. Not only do these strategies not match Dell's strengths, but they just highlight how he doesn't measure up to Jobs.