"One of the things I benefited from when I started this business was that I didn't know anything," Michael Dell once said. "I was just instinct with no preconceived notions. This enabled me to learn and change quickly without having to worry about maintaining any kind of status quo, like some of my bigger competitors."
Not "maintaining any kind of status quo" certainly protrudes as one of the IT industry's rare vendor understatements. The influence of Dell was immense. But while its launch and success rightly ranks alongside Bill Gates' Windows and Steve Jobs' iPhone, it is hard to think of a bigger tech disruptor for the IT channel.
Founded in February 1984, it was during the 90s that Dell started changing the industry forever. It opened its famous manufacturing centre in Limerick, Ireland in 1990, churning out technology to order - from parts to PCs in just four hours. In 1995 it went global and the following year Dell.com launched. The site hit $1m in daily sales within six months.
A website selling low-cost technology, made to order and rapidly shipped? This was not a consultation, value-add proposition. Ongoing customers? Well, you were free to order again if you liked. No margin leaked to distributors or resellers. So how did the channel react at the time to the rise of this contrary, aggressive direct model?
"The channel said 'how dare he [Michael Dell] come along with such a model?', said Clive Longbottom, founder of analyst Quocirca. "The channel saw themselves as the gods; they were the ones who made a success of the HPs and the IBMs.
"If a channel partner told those vendors they were not going to carry their products, HP and IBM would go out of their way to court them and keep the channel happy.
"Then Michael Dell came along and told the channel 'we don't need you' and the channel was left wondering what to do next."
CRN pulls out the key information from Microsoft's Q4, which took the vendor above $100bn for the year
Investment will include an AI research centre in London
John Coulston outlines Rackspace's plans to partner with the channel in the UK
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference