Meeting Michael Dell and Lance Armstrong

7:00pm my phone rings and “Bob” calls me from his regular hotspot, a swanky hotel, saying he happened to notice a large number of high powered individuals heading to the ballroom downstairs. Party crashing time. I took a quick shower, threw on a suit, got my roommate to tie my tie (because I still don’t know how) and drove to the hotel.

I met “Bob” in the lobby as dinner was being served. The place was packed and every seat was taken except at one table. We went up to the table, “Bob” did a little talking, and in an instant we were having a conversation with people we didn’t know, at an event we knew nothing about, and having a delicious meal.

After scoping out the room, it became very apparent that this was a big event with big people. In fact, while opening the bathroom door, I literally bumped into Lance Armstrong!

The event was in honor of Michael and Susan Dell for their philanthropic contributions. There were three billionaires in the room, the biggest being Michael. There was a movie about the Dell charity, several speakers and then they both gave a speech after being honored.

Michael Dell’s wife, Susan, is a tri-athlete and frequently goes bike riding with Lance Armstrong. Here is a picture of Lance, Susan and Michael together….well, their backs at least:

Later in the evening I got to meet Michael Dell, the famed founder of Dell Computers who started his company from a dorm room at the University of Texas. I talked with him briefly and found him to be a very approachable and extremely nice guy.

After the event was over, “Bob” and I headed back upstairs to the hotel lounge to finish up the night with an evening cocktail. That suit cost me $200 and the drinks cost me $25, but now I had the opportunity to meet Lance Armstrong and Michael Dell.

Thanks “Bob” for another great event!

Blog posted on: November 3, 2005

44 comments on “Meeting Michael Dell and Lance Armstrong

  1. Maxim

    Nev, great entry, as usual, a lot cooler than most “if you don’t put in the time, you won’t succeed” financial blog entries found elsewhere. However, I question the value of these celebrity sightings. For instance, I’ve worked with Metallica for 3 days back in 1999. Although it was extremely cool, it’s gotten me … nowhere.

  2. FMF

    You are THE MAN!!! It amazes me how you get into these things.

    While there may be no direct benefit to this or other dinners (noting the previous comment), the initiative to make something “hard” happen in your life, the willingness to go the extra mile where others wouldn’t, and the ability to talk easily with people of influence will be traits that will take you far in business.

  3. Anonymous

    Brave and Crazy!

    I do agree with the first post. The intro’s are great, but you can’t spend them.

    If you were taking Michael Dell and Lance Armstrong to lunch to pitch your next venture then you’ve hit a home run.

    Great job. Wish I would’ve been there.


  4. Maxim

    I agree it’s the attitude that counts. However, meeting Michael Dell to me is almost worthless. Meeting with Michael Dell’s Regional HR Manager, on the other hand, is a different (a much better) ballgame.

  5. Johnie

    Adam Dell, Michael Dell’s brother, is a Venture Capitalist in NYC. He teaches this class on business and technology at the Columbia Business School. It was one of the best classes that I’ve ever taken. He gives great insight from both an entrepeneur and VC point of view. In addition, he uses his network and influence to bring great speakers to the class.

    The other thing about the class is that at the end, Adam brings his brother in to give a lecture and just have a conversation with the class. It was great hearing about how he started and made it to where he is now and the difficulties he had along the way. He is a very cool down to earth guy.

    Anyways, not sure what my point is, but Adam Dell has a website for the class []. Oh right, the final project for the class was either to write a report analyzing an industry or pitch an idea to him. There are very few opportunities where you spend so much time with a VC over the course of a semester and be able to pitch an idea to him and have him critique it [and/or pick it up].

  6. Anonymous

    I agree…..”Bob” could be the CEO of Jack In The Box. It would make sense:

    1.) He knows about all the big parties
    2.) Nev keeps putting a giant Jack head over him face…maybe it’s a hint!

    hahah…anyways, GREAT job again Nev! How you do this, I don’t know, but I don’t care, it’s very entertaining.

    To other commentors:
    While Nev can’t necessarily “cash in” on meeting CEO’s, I still think if he ever DID need funding for a venture, it seems like he’d have no problem getting it.

    Another great post Nev!

  7. "Bob"

    Bob speaks again,

    So I knew that someone was going to bring up what is the value of going to these events and meeting some of the most important people in the USA. Well let me explain something. Yes meeting Michael Dell was nice, yes everyone in the room was going up to him and so on.

    Of course we did not expect to be able to get an audience with him for more than 2-5 min’s. Here is point 1: you must first feel comfortable enough to even be in the same room as these power players, if you are ever going to become one yourself. Point 2: Since Dell was present there were roughly 200 power players in the room which ARE very approachable and able to get an audience with. Including the past CFO of Dell, the past Chairman of Dell and countless other executives from all types of companies. Did I leave out all of the investors. Point 3: networking and meeting people, you never know where you might run into someone that can help you or a potential mentor. If you go to Starbucks you have a much smaller chance to run into some power player. If you go to an event like this you know the entire room is filled with them. The more people you meet the greater your chances to find people that will help you accomplish your goals.

    If you really want to get into some finer details and equations here you go: More people you meet = opportunities to share your ideas/goals = more access to people who can help you make them happen = more opportunities and possibilities. If you want to see the scientific proof, this is what Complex Adaptive Systems Theory is based on. A quick overview: the more people you share your dreams with the greater probability you will meet someone who will be able to help.

    On the other side if Nev just wanted to go get his picture taken with Dell because he’s a “celebrity,” then that would be lame and I agree with you. If that was the case though I would not have called and invited Nev to the event in the first place. In this case getting your picture taken with Dell and Armstrong were just cool “Bonuses,” and hell let’s be honest if you don’t get a picture then it never happened.

    But then again, your right Nev would have created more value by sitting at home doing homework. What was I thinking, next time i’ll be sure to remember that if the HR Manager is not on the invite list I should not call Nev up.

    Maxim: Oh yes one more thing: this is one of my favorite topic’s. Yes you might want to meet the HR Manager since you are looking for a job. As an entrepreneur HR managers mean absolutely nothing to me or Nev. We do not need to go get a 9-5 job, we create out own opportunities.

    The real Bob….

    Like I told you Nev keep that Tux and Suit ready, there are many more events from now till X-mas.

  8. Adrian

    Whoa, “Bob” is actually one sharp tack. I never thought about meeting people and networking in a such a scientific fashion.


  9. Anonymous

    I finaly figured out why Nev covers Bob’s face — it is simple, if you were Bob, would you really want everyone to know that you hang out with such a smuck?

  10. Maxim


    Although you have great points in your comment, I disagree on the whole 9 to 5 thing. I might be incorrect on this, but from previous posts I gathered that neither you nor Nev have figured out exactly what you want to be when you grow up. Projecting a “I’m-OK-Now-But-Someday-I’ll-Be- Really-Rich” image is kind of like saying “I’ll invent something … someday”, or “I’ll win a lottery”.

    Knowing exactly what you want to do is half the battle, if you ask me. For example, if one is interested in banking, there is no better way to learn about banking than getting a 9 to 5 at … you guessed it … a bank.

    Same goes for all occupations. For the sake of argument, the water experiment Nev did a while back could have turned out a bit better had Nev worked at some kind of water-market research firm, then at a water retail outlet, then at a hobo-roundup station, then at a water supply company to gain all of the xp he could.

    If Nev came up to Mr. Dell and said, “I’ve invented a computer that runs on fairy dust and sweet fantasies”, then yes, Nev would have Mr. Dell’s undivided attention. But meeting Michael Dell for the sake of telling him how much one admires him … come on.

    That’s why I said I’d rather mingle with an HR person to get me into the department I’m interested in. Then one can lookup Mr. Dell and tell him, “Hey, don’t you remember me from that singles mixer in Houston?”

  11. Bob


    You are so right, what was I ever thinking. If I want to learn about something I should go put in “my time” at the BANK so I can learn how everyone else does it. That way I can be like everyone else and live their life. I can then work 40 hours a week, and retire when i’m 55 from the big company in the sky.

    Oh ya, I forgot also that when Michael Dell created Dell Computers out of his Dorm room he was working for someone else. No wait, he was not. He created it himself, not by working at “The Bank.”

    Not everyone is an entrepreneur and that is ok. It takes a different mindset and person who takes risks. There is alot to be said about people who have the specific experience, (who have worked at “The Bank”) but then again I just hire those people as employee’s.

    This great country was founded by entrepreneurs and people who took risks, not 9-5’ers.

    This brings me to a great quote, “Don’t let life pass you buy, while your planning it.” Hugh Hefner

    Keep up the great work Nev…

  12. bob

    maxim… I am not going to pull my pants down and whip mine out and slap you with it now.

    Welcome to our great country, my family all immigrated from Eastern Europe as well.

    With that said, I have more Partners in big law firms working for me than I care to pay or talk about.

    See once again your mindset is to “work for someone else” that is perfectly ok for you. Yes you can go work for a law firm and work your ass off to one day MAYBE becoming partner. I am the person who opens up the F-en law firm myself and take my chances. Failure is part of SEKcess.

    I wish you much luck in “working for yourself.” Your path is perfect for you and that is ok. All I am saying is there are many ways to skin a cat, but the best way is to boil him…

    Gob Bless this great country…”In Nev we trust..”

  13. Maxim

    In Nev you trust, dude. I’m just trying to flash my projects on a high traffic site.

    Even though slapping someone with your cock is totally sweet, you should do it during one of your and Nev’s sexy all-male soirees.

  14. Andreas Climent

    Great post Nev, and nice explenation in the comments Bob, it truly amazes me that you guys manage to network with these “important” players.

    Like Keith Ferrazzi points out, I hope you gave Michael Dell and the rest some good reasons to meet up with you in the future.

  15. Anonymous

    All Nev ever talks about is how ‘cool’ a well known person he met was or how ‘approachable’ they were. If he really wants to have a conversation or learn from them or their associates, why doesn’t he?

  16. Johnie

    I agree with Bob. There are those that are entrepeneurs and there are those that are happy with job security. They are two different classes of people. It’s quite obvious that Maxim is more interested in working his way up the corporate ladder whereas Bob/Nev want to lead/start something new. Unlike you, Maxim, Nev doesn’t want a job at Dell, he wants Michael Dell, and others, to become angel investors in his next venture. Meeting with the HR manager will not help satisfy his goal.

    It takes a totally different type of mindset to do either one and be successful in what you do. And a person with one mindset will not be satisfied/content doing the other.

    One of the things that Michael Dell talked about in the lecture was how he didn’t want to follow the paths set by others so he took the chance in college to start what he started. As a college student, he wasn’t “putting in his time” at a company or anything like that. He took a chance and struck it rich.

    Right, for every Michael Dell or Bill Gates, there are hundreds of people that fail. This is the chance that you take with starting your own company.

    That’s what entrepeneurs do. I’m sure Bob/Nev don’t even give a second thought to 401K or Employee stock purchase plan or other things that interests you. All that is secondary to starting a company.

    “Bob” is right, networking is key. At this point though, Nev is still too green to push an idea or anything like that. But this is good practice for when he does get to that point.

    Nev, like Bob said, the only thing is that make sure you don’t lose sight of why you are attending these events. Make sure you’re not just doing it to get a “oh look, I met XYZ and I got a picture with him.” That’s what your Dali Lama post was starting to sound like.

  17. Jonathan Hartman

    Nev, haha, your network’s doing well for you. Socializing with these “power players” can only help you become one yourself. It’s been a while since I’ve heard of your next big business ideas. C’mon man, get to it.

  18. Timothy

    11.17.2005 – Have 3 separate sources of income totaling over $7,500 per month.

    13 days left, nev. 13 days to make “over $7,500 per month”.

    You getting there? Or you busy taking pics?

  19. Bob-in-the-box...

    I am glad to see the comments are still coming in.

    I have invited Nev to another event that is coming up Sunday night. Not as big as Dell and Armstrong but still stong.

    This is event season, so I made sure Nev has his suit and Tux ready to go.


  20. Maxim

    “I made sure Nev has his suit and Tux ready to go”, “In Nev we trust..”, “Nev keep that Tux and Suit ready, there are many more events” … Whoa, Bobbie … The last time I flaunted my relationship like that, I was in the sixth grade, and her name was Oksana.

    Nev, regardless of how you come up on the “goals” thing, we’re reading the blog, and that’s what matters.

  21. jim

    I love all this controversy! First you have “Bob” who is well connected and talking about slapping someone with his cock and then you have all these people speculating who Bob is, you had a bunch of Anons a while back talking junk for no real reason. He goes to these parties with free food and booze, schmoozes with some famous people, gets some pictures and has a good time.

    He’s in college, it’s about having fun and getting some good stories so you’re not some lame ass bore after he’s graduated.

  22. Anonymous

    I think Nev is already worth listening to, better than all the other bullshit wannabe entrepreneur sites out there.
    I think “Bob” is too busy making money to blog. I’ve been following Nev’s blog for a while and emailing him, and as he gets busier and busier, he posts less and less.

  23. Anonymous

    What’s the point of meeting all these famous people who won’t remember you? It’s like those cheezy restaurants where they have black & white autographed photos of all the celebrities that have supposedly eaten there– big deal, even if they ever did, it’s not like they come back every week.

  24. Bob


    I don’t have time to create my own blog, I might in a few months to promote a book that I am working on relating to starting your own venture.

    Who knows, I have much respect for those who do blog and keep giving us great content to read. As of right now I am just fine with helping give Nev more content to post on his own blog.

    If I have learned anything from my mentors in my life is it really comes down to giving back to others.

    Nev, keep it up.

  25. colin

    This is absolutely childish.

    I can’t believe some of you have the audacity to come to this man’s blog, one of which is filled with a ton of unique, creative, and refreshing content, and attempt to degrade his character and motivation.

    This isn’t the first thread I’ve seen the pessimist reveal a sense of jealously and probably won’t be the last as time tells and persistence prevails; one up for Nev.

    Please do the supporters (as well as Nev) a favor and withhold your misplace arrogance and blatant ignorance. There are do-ers and there are talkers.

    `nuff said.

  26. Anonymous

    Well it’s obvious right?

    All us anonymous cowards are just insanely jealous of all the cool stuff Nev is doing.

    We know that we are going to be toiling away like a slave for 50 years working to make the owners of the companies we work for rich.

    So why not waste our life even further by posting annoying messages in a comment section of a blog that has an owner that has already escaped our sad sad existence…

    I mean it’s better than making a plan and getting our ass of the couch and actually doing something about our sad place in the world.

  27. Dan

    is important to meet peoples, cause we are little part of the peoples that we meet .
    With bad and good things that they have .

    An opinion,
    which live in Eastern Europe

  28. Pingback: How to crash a party | Neville's Financial Blog

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