Michael Dell founded his company 33 years ago, in his dorm room as a freshman at the University of Texas, Austin. He had $1,000 to buy PC parts, and took orders over the phone.
After that, it ballooned like crazy — making Dell Computer one of the fastest-growing companies ever. The stock price went on a dizzying tear throughout the 1990s, roughly doubling most years throughout the decade.
It also made Michael Dell a multi-billionaire.
Since then, the path hasn't been easy. The era of gonzo growth in personal computers and corporate servers – Dell's bread and butter – is over. Now, attention has turned to smartphones and cloud computing.
Sensing weakness, legendary investor Carl Icahn tried to buy out the company nearly four years ago, which probably would have resulted in it breaking into pieces. Dell fought him and won, taking his namesake company private, and then making it bigger than ever.
Fortt Knox went to Round Rock, Texas to talk to Michael Dell, just days before his Dell EMC World conference in Las Vegas. We talked about the product news for CNBC viewers, but also about his long journey. Dell almost lost a company he's spent nearly two thirds of his life building, but he developed the skills he needed to become a legendary founder-CEO … and survivor. Here are just a few highlights: