I’ll probably get the pants sued off of me for using this picture, but I thought was a good picture.
Anyway, I just read a little biography on the man named Steven Paul Jobs. His biological parents were Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali. His dad was from Syria (now we know where he gets the cool nose!). They weren’t married, and they decided they weren’t ready for a baby. So they put Steve up for adoption.
He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs. They lived in what became Silicon Valley. (Yes, that’s just a nickname. It was Mountain View, California before businesses in the electronic field began experimenting and using silicon. Thus, Silicon Valley.)
Paul Jobs was a repairman by trade, and he passed on his love for machines to his son. Steve loved watching his father, and he began helping him at a very young age.
Steve met Steve Wozniak through a geek, excuse me, computer club. Woz, as he was called, had made a hobby of designing computers. They became good friends. Steve and Woz started their business on April Fool’s Day 1976. There business would sell circuit boards to people who wanted to build their own computers.
They asked several of the local stores if they would like to stock their circuit boards. Everyone turned them down. One man was mildly interested though. He said he didn’t think the circuit boards weren’t marketable as there was a distinct rarity of computer building people. Thus, he asked Steve, and Woz, to make him fifty of the actual computers. He would pay them twenty-five thousand for all of them.
“Ok,” said the Steves.
The birth of the Apple. Why Apple? Because steve ate lots of fruit, and apples, he said, were the perfect fruit. Perfect, just like his computers would be.
The Apple II was the next step. Woz wanted it to have color (What? Unheard of!), sound (again, unheard of), and sharp crisp graphics. Steve wanted to have the computer be able to accept floppy disks. He wanted it to molded in plastic as well. At the time plastic was more expensive, but both Steves thought it looked cool, and that was important.
Yes, Steve Jobs was the designer of the modern computer. That’s pretty cool. Trendsetting means that you’re successful.
Soon after the Apple company grew (right around 1978) Woz was on a plane that crashed. Woz took months to recuperate, and he never returned to work full time at Apple. Steve had to work with other engineers now, and it wasn’t nearly as satisfying. The next Apple computer was a flop. No one wanted to pay $10,000 dollars for a computer.
Steve then started working on the Macintosh, a computer that would change the world. Steve picked the engineers by hand, and he put them in a separate building. He flew a pirate flag over the building.
“It’s a better to be a pirate than to join the navy,” Steve said. He meant it’s good to break rules, and think different.
Steve was weird. He only ate fruit. He didn’t wear shoes. He thought that his diet made it so he wouldn’t have to take showers often. People didn’t enjoy working with him because he smelled awful. Despite all these things, Steve was somehow one of the most charming people anyone knew. Everyone called it the “Reality Distortion Field,” or RDF. When Steve said something, he always made it seem as though it would work, no matter what.
In 1984 (real life) the Macintosh was released. The mac sold amazingly well–for a short time. Steve had misjudged people’s interest in home computers. This caused some strife at Apple. John Sculley, the man who Steve had hired to run the business end of Apple, wanted to get Steve out of the company. The company board voted. Steve lost all of the power he had at Apple, in May, 1985. He was moved to another office which he called Siberia.
Steve then went on to pour millions of dollars into the company he called NeXT. That was a failure as well. Steve spent a little time in limbo, during which he dated several women (including Bob Dylan’s former girlfriend), and located his sister Mona Simpson, a novelist. After a little while he got married.
In 1986 Steve got to work with a man he admired very much. Steve became an owner of George Lucas’s computer graphics company. They called it Pixar. The problem was that many artists didn’t think they needed to spend the money on something they didn’t think was necessary. Steve put more than fifty million dollars into the company himself. He paid himself a salary of fifty dollars a year.
In 1991, Steve had to lay off most of Pixar’s staff. One person he didn’t lay off was John Lasseter. Lasseter made short films for the company, and Steve thought that he was the best form of advertising the company had. His short film, Tin Toy, won an Oscar. Despite the Oscar, Pixar was a failure, and Steve was losing his reputation. People thought Steve was nothing but a slick salesman.
Steve eventually RDFed Disney into giving him the money for three full length animated movies. The first one was Toy Story. After that, Pixar went on to make a dozen hit movies. After struggling for ten years, Steve became successful again. He wasn’t a millionaire anymore, but he was a billionaire now. In 1993 John Sculley had been forced out of Apple, and Steve was asked to come back. Steve gave himself a salary of a dollar a year, and only agreed to run Apple for a short time, until they found a replacement.
Steve made some big changes, like agreeing to work with Bill Gates in 1997. Steve also cleared out the clutter that Apple had started to make. He removed products that weren’t selling, and he laid off so many workers that employees were afraid to ride on the elevator with him. They were scared they’d lose their jobs on their way to their floor.
Steve created the Internet Macintosh. The iMac was the next biggest thing. Apple convinced Steve that he should stay with them. From there, the rest is history.
The First Apple stores were created in May, 2001. Steve designed them himself. Then, in October, 2001, Steve pulled the cat out of the bag, actually the iPod out of his pocket. He created iTunes, and convinced the Beatles to sell their music on it. Steve then created the iPhone, in 2007, that was a huge success. On top of that, the rest of his products evolved into what they are today: the sleek, powerful super-models of the computer world.
In 2010, Steve introduced another groundbreaking device, the iPad. Apple sold three-hundred-thousand in the first day. In 1997, Apple nearly went bankrupt. In August 2011, Apple was the most successful company in the world.
Steve finally retired from his company, and spent lots of time with his friends, including Bill Gates. On his death bed, Steve looked at his sister Patti, then his children, and then his wife.
He said, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”
A salute to the man who thought differently. Who asked “What if?”. A man who cut against the grain. A man who took chances.
A man who changed the world.
I say, “Oh wow.”