Ross Perot, a famous American politician and businessman, died Tuesday, July 9. He was 89 and lost a short fight to leukemia.
The world will remember him for one of the most successful independent election campaigns, memorable phrases, and maverick management style. Perot was a self-made man who built two giant tech companies from nothing. Starting with $1,000, the entrepreneur accumulated $4.2 billion net worth to occupy a 172nd position in the Forbes 400.
In this article, we want to pay homage to Ross Perot and remember the most famous pages of his life.
Life and Politics
Ross Perot was born in Texas on June 27, 1930. His paternal ancestors were French immigrants that came to Louisiana in the 1740s. Perot was a boy-scout and reached the highest Eagle Scout rank in 13 months only. In 1949, he joined the US Naval Academy and left the forces in 1957 to focus on entrepreneurship and politics.
The next part will be dedicated to the role of Perot in establishing American IT outsourcing models. What about politician career, the brightest episodes refer to presidential campaigns of 1992 and 1996. The first one was completely independent while the second was held via the Reform Party. In both campaigns, Perot focused on TV over traditional ads, brave and partially aggressive rhetoric, and economic changes. Also, both campaigns are considered among the greatest showings of solo/third-party candidates in US history.
Here are a few other interesting facts from Ross Perot’s life:
- Clashed with General Motors due to managerial disagreements.
- Invested over $20 million in Steve Job’s NeXT in 1985.
- Perot Foundation bought one of the earliest copies of the Magna Carta in 1984.
- Prepared commandos to rescue employees from the Iranian prison in 1979.
- Ross Perot left 5 children and 19 grandchildren!
As for the impact on American and worldwide business, Perot was an iconic figure of his generation. When traditional companies like IBM and GM followed risk-averse strategies with bureaucratic cultures, the self-made man from Texas delivered a new vision. It was quick, efficient, result-oriented, and even somewhat impulsive.
After the Navy, Ross Perot worked as a salesman in IBM. He’s known for extremely high performance. For instance, once, he completed the annual sales plan in two weeks! However, managers ignored all proposals and new strategies introduced by Perot so he decided to leave IBM and start own business.
The story is inextricably bonded to a pair of projects built from zero, literally. Needless to say that Perot has the highest self-made score in the Forbes’ rating.
Electronic Data Systems
Ross Perot founded EDS in 1962 in Dallas. Immediately, he started promoting the company by sending offers to top-rated firms and governmental bodies. After insane 77 refusals, EDS partnered with the US government to digitize Medicare records. Later, Perot expanded the outsourcing network by handling IT services. Among the clients, there were such names as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the entire government of South Australia, NASA, etc.
Basics of outsourcing defined by Ross Perot led to the huge popularity of this trend in the 1990s. EDS and its success formed a bunch of descendants, including giants like IBM and CSC. Some experts agree that the trend to outsource IT services went too far. Companies delegated even core business parts such as strategic planning. However, Perot could be proud of his achievements as he reshaped the global market’s layout.
After selling EDS to General Motors in 1984 and netting $1.5 billion, the businessmen became the main shareholder of GM. However, continuous disputes around the company’s policies, salaries, and strategies forced other investors to rebuy Perot’s shares. The maverick shrugged and started a new business in 1988.
Perot Systems followed the same principles of bravery, passion, and self-commitment. It focused on strong diversification and pushed the ideas of both types of outsourcing. Means, the firm provided such services to customers but also were focused on offshoring. Representatives stated that from 35% to 50% of Perot Systems’ workforce were located overseas.
The company had offices in 25 countries, including India and Mexico. Perot Systems frightened large rivals like EDS and IBM by partnering with significant clients:
- Europcar in 1992.
- East Midlands Electricity in 1992.
- M&G Investments in 1995.
- Swiss Bank Corporation in 1995.
This company was sold to Dell in 2009. Ross Perot netted $800 million on this deal.
Current State of Outsourcing
Today, the global outsourcing industry became an inevitable part of the world’s economy. In 2018, the market was valued $85.6 billion. 62% of all services were provided in the IT niche. It’s barely possible to find a large tech firm that doesn’t cooperate with remote partners. External groups help with development, computation, storage, analysis, and so on. Among the top outsourcing countries, regions of Eastern Europe and Asia lead the industry. Outsourcing drives quality and diversification, overall.
And we should thank Ross Perot for that.