F|R: What Startups Can Learn From Michael Dell

It’s not a new idea to make hay by seizing the messy business opportunities no one else wants. Innovating the distribution of a technology, rather than inventing the technology itself, isn’t novel either. This is the model that made founder Michael Dell a billionaire. Now, San Francisco-based Sungevity is taking a page from Michael Dell’s playbook in an effort to do to solar panels what Dell did to personal computers.

Solar installs are typically custom jobs — labor intensive and therefore costly. While there are rebates and tax incentives to cut the costs, the paperwork is dizzyingly complex, so consumers (and even developers) often don’t bite. Since most solar startups are focused on making the sexiest technology, Kennedy figured it was a no-brainer that Sungevity could effect more change, and make more money, by addressing the logistically painful process of selling, installing, and handling the paperwork associated with everyone else’s gear.

Michael Dell innovated the economy for PC-manufacturing by taking commodity computing components, then custom-assembling them to each buyer’s order in what we now commonly call a “just-in-time” supply chain. Similarly, Sungevity uses off-the-shelf web tools, commodity solar modules and drop-shipping to streamline a sales process for the retail solar industry that once took weeks or months. (Read more at Earth2Tech). Below, Kennedy offers a few tips for How to Spy Startup Opportunities in the Sales Cycle: Read More about F|R: What Startups Can Learn From Michael Dell

GigaOM Interview: Michael Dell, CEO & Founder of Dell Inc.

At Fortune Brainstorm conference last week I sat down with Michael Dell, founder and chief executive officer of computer hardware maker Dell. Our conversation covered everything from cloud computing to the likelihood of Dell entering the smartphone business to the advantages of being a founder. Here are edited excerpts from that interview.

Boot$trapping: ‘Spend it’ Like Dell & Newmark

partnerup_rev_logo_web1.gifEditor’s Note: Our latest “startup math” piece comes to you from Found|READ contributor Steve Nielsen. He is founder and CEO of PartnerUp , the online network that helps entrepreneurs find good business partners. Steve’s last post was a handy index of the major Web2.0 M&A deals in 2007: 100 M&A Deals. 100 Startup Lessons. It’s another great reference for you.

No matter the size of the venture, all startups need one very important ingredient to start, succeed and ultimately survive: money. Some startups get it from venture capitalists or angel investors. Some lucky ventures are even built with small-business loans and grants. But if you’re panicking because you’re not getting the financing you need from these sources, relax and follow in the footsteps of successful startups like Dell, Inc. or Craigslist, Inc.

The founders of these famous companies pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and invested in their ventures with their own money. Bootstrapping your business, the act of avoiding external investors, means going solo in the financing department, all the while–stretching your money as far as possible–keeping expenses to a minimum. Read More about Boot$trapping: ‘Spend it’ Like Dell & Newmark