It's safe to say Michael Dell believed in the direct model.
Even at the age of 12 he was learning its virtues, writing in his 1999 autobiography Direct from Dell, "I learned an early, powerful lesson about the rewards of eliminating the middleman", after his very first dalliance with selling direct - although that was selling stamps, not PCs.
It was a strategy that served him well when he set up Dell Computers in 1984. The company outperformed its rivals for 20 years, until something strange started to happen.
Dell as a company had grown used to lovely-looking graphs that always pointed upwards but, according to analyst firm Gartner, in 2006 it lost the number one position to arch-rival HP, and saw both sales and profits tumble in the process.
By this point Michael Dell had departed, leaving a "gone fishing" sign hanging on his chairman's door. This proved a bit of a problem: his successors found it rather difficult to abandon the long-time mantra of selling direct.
In the end, only one person could make that kind of decision, and to the relief of shareholders, Michael Dell swapped his galoshes for a crisp blue suit. And then announced: "The direct model has been a revolution, but is not a religion." Hallelujah, investors cried.
If you like this, you might be interested in other Tech U-Turns in the series:
1) Microsoft and the Internet