"Woz" and Jobs - the two "Steves"

"Woz" and Jobs - the two "Steves"

Apple's history starts with the story of two young and exceptional people who began building a computer in their garage and "launched the microcomputer revolution,") changing our daily life in many respects.

The Apple story is the story of the two "Steves". Stephen G. Wozniak was a typical Silicon Valley child. Born in 1950, he had grown up with the electronics industry in Silicon Valley, and had been intrigued by electronics from the start, since his father w as an electronics engineer. Wozniak, known to his friends as "Woz", was bright and was an electronics genius. At the age of 13, he won the highest award at a local science fair for his addition-subtraction machine. His electronics teacher at Homestead High School recognized Woz's outstanding talent and arranged a job for him at a local company, where Steve could work with computers once a week. It was there that Wozniak saw the capabilities of a computer (it was the DEC PDP-8 minicomputer) and studying the manual, it became his dream to have a computer of his own one day. He designed computers on paper. Many other students who grew up in Silicon Valley shared this dream.

In 1971, Wozniak built his first computer with his high-school friend Bill Fernandez. This computer (they called it Creme Soda Computer) was developed in his friend's garage and had "switches and lights just as the Altair would have more than three years l ater.")

Bill introduced Woz to a friend of his named Steven P. Jobs. Jobs was born in 1955, and his foster parents were - unlike most other people in Silicon Valley - blue-collar workers. However, growing up in an environment full of electronics, Steve came in con tact with this fascinating technology and was caught by it.

Jobs was a loner and his character can be described as brash, very ambitious and unshakably self-confident. With his directness and his persistency he persuaded most people. He had the ability to convey his notions and vision to other people quite well. An d he was not afraid to talk to famous people and did never stop talking to them until they gave in and did what he wanted. His traits could already be observed in his adolescence, for instance when he - at the age of thirteen - called famous Bill Hewlett, president of HP, and asked him for spare parts he needed for his frequency counter.

Although Steve Jobs was five years younger than Wozniak, "the two got along at once." Apart from their common fascination with electronics, they "shared a certain intensity." Whereas Woz was intense in digging "deeper into an intellectual problem than anyo ne else," Jobs's intensity was in ambition. Moreover, both were genuine pranksters, and often they fooled others with their technical knowledge.)

When they heard of "phone-phreaking" - making free long-distance telephone calls with a device called "blue box" - the two started their first business venture, building those blue boxes.

In 1972, Steve Jobs went to Reed College in Oregon; however, there he became more interested in Eastern religions, dropped out a year later and returned to Silicon Valley, where he took a job with Atari (a young video game company) until he had saved enoug h money to go on a trip to India for some months. Then he went back to California and to his work at Atari.

After attending three different colleges, Wozniak had begun work for Hewlett-Packard in summer 1973. When Atari planned to develop a new game called "Breakout," Jobs boasted he could design it in only four days - quicker and better than anyone else. Jobs t old his friend Woz about it, and the two designed the game in record time, working four nights and days, and were paid the promised $700 for it. This experience showed them that they could work together on a tough project and succeed.

Martin Groeger http://www.silicon-valley-story.de
Last modified: Mon Jul 8 05:40:41 PDT