Steve Jobs

The Man, the Vision, the Legacy

The 24thFebruary, 1955 a young: woman gives birth to a baby. The boy would grow up to be hailed a genius, and a maverick. This little baby boy would, one day, head the world's most iconic company. He would change the world.  The exhausted mother in that San Francisco labour ward would know little of this for years to come. For now, at least, her job was done and her child taken from her to be adopted by a family, who, she hoped, would give him a better life than she could.


The reluctant school boy

Paul and Clara Jobs adopted the boy they named Steven Paul Jobs.

His biological mother, Joanne Carole Scheible, a graduate student at the time of his birth, insisted her child be adopted by a well-educated couple. This did not come to pass. Paul Jobs never even graduated from high school. The adoption went ahead, however, on the proviso that the couple promise to send the boy to college.

In 1960, Steve, his parents and Patti, a daughter they adopted in 1958, moved to Santa Clara, known today as Silicon Valley. Joanne Scheible's fears that her son may not prize education could have been realised were it not for the woman Jobs has described as, “one of the saints of my life,” - his fourth grade teacher, Imogen “Teddy” Hill. Such was her influence; the formerly reticent student progressed so quickly that he skipped the fifth grade, going straight to Crittenden Middle School.

Being younger than all the other pupils, Jobs was bullied mercilessly. In the end the family moved once more, this time to Los Altos so the eleven year old could attend Cupertino Junior High. It was about this time Paul Jobs’ introduced his son to Heathkits – electronic kits which included “hobbyist” computers.  Jobs junior was hooked! At Homestead High School, a mutual friend introduced the teenage Jobs to a likeminded electronics buff who would play a pivotal role in his future, Stephen Wozniak -  Woz.


The college drop out

Despite his obvious aptitude for electronics, Jobs chose to attend liberal arts college, Reed in Oregon. Before the Christmas of his first year, he had dropped out. “Looking back,” Jobs insists in his Stanford commencement speech of June, 2005, “it was one of the best decisions I ever made.” He abandoned his official education for what he saw as real education: “The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes...and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting,” he continued in his 2005 speech. With no dorm room, Jobs was forced to sleep on friends' floors and made ends almost meet by returning glass soda bottles for the 5c deposit. “I would walk 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple.” The obstacles brought out a hitherto unexposed tenacity in the young man, “I loved it,” he proclaimed.

At Reed, Jobs was exposed to all kinds of esoteric philosophies. In those days he believed that if he ate only fruit he would not need to shower in order to cleanse his superficial exterior, as the detoxing would cleanse his inner being and aid his body to purify him naturally.




Atari's founder Nolan Bushnell was another of Jobs’ early heroes: both for his innovation and entrepreneurial gusto. In 1974 Jobs talked his way into the company and then, somehow, managed to persuade his new employers to fund a trip to India. He was joined on the trip by Reed friend, Dan Kottke, who shared Jobs' interest in eastern philosophies.

While Jobs was flitting around India or ensconced on an Oregon farm commune with his then girlfriend Chris-Ann Brennan his old friend Woz had landed himself, what he believed to be his ideal and potentially career long job at Hewlett Packard. Simultaneously, he was in the process of building his own computer that, instead of arrays of flashing lights utilised a screen and keyboard. He presented his designs to HP but they were rejected out of hand.

However, this machine was the talk of the Homebrew Computing Club whose membership was largely, though not exclusively, engineers. It was Steve Jobs' feeling that if such highly qualified people were so taken with Woz's design then they (not he!) had a viable product. He persuaded his friend to sell what was to become Apple I to club members.


Apple seeds and Apple Blossm

Jobs' skills acquired assembling Heathkits came in very handy indeed. Steve and Woz would put the units together but they needed raw materials. Woz sold his HP 65 calculator and Jobs his van in order to raise funds. Ron Wayne, a colleague of Jobs' at Atari, drew up the necessary paper work for the company and received 10% in shares for his efforts which they bought back in 1976 for $800. Apple Computers was born: the name the result of Jobs' insistence that the company be called Apple if neither he nor Woz could think of anything better.

When the Apple II computer was ready to be launched onto the market, Jobs already knew that the pair desperately needed investment. He approached a number of venture capitalists. One who turned them down, Don Valentine, pointed them in the direction of another who he thought may not, Mike Markkula, formerly of Intel. When Jobs met the multi-millionaire in 1976, Markkula, then aged 34 had already retired. The business man invested a quarter of a million dollars – enough to build a thousand machines – but insisted that Wozniak leave HP and the duo use some of the investment on advertising and marketing. The Apple symbol – with the bite taken out so that it would not be mistaken for a tomato – was born.

With its integrated keyboard, expansion slots and (by the days' standards) streamlined design, the Apple II out sold rivals like the Commadore PET. VisiCalc, a piece of spread sheet software that would only run on the Apple II opened up a whole new market for the machine. It was now in demand from business.

In 1980, the company was ready to go public and on the 12thDecember it did just that. Overnight, Jobs' worth increased by some $210 million to an estimated $217 million. This was the largest floatation the USA had seen since 1956 when the Ford Motor Company floated.


Dark times

For the next few years, despite what seemed like promising avenues for expansion, the ageing Apple II was the company's only significant money making product. Jobs was at the helm at the Macintosh team, a project initiated by computer scientist Jef Raskin in 1978 who envisioned making a personal computer, “as easy to use as a toaster.” Raskin was fired from the company on what is known in Apple folklore as “Black Wednesday.” That day, Apple's CEO Mike Scott fired over half the employees in a move that ultimately cost him his own job.

The new Apple III had proved a commercial failure and with IBM having launched its own PC, Apple's position as market leader was looking precarious. In 1983, Jobs persuaded PepsiCo's John Sculley to take the job of CEO left vacant by Scott. “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?” was the question Jobs posed to the executive.

The Jobs-Sculley partnership seemed a match made in heaven. Sculley agreed that the Macintosh machine could save Apple and herald the start of a personal computing revolution. The duo appeared together on the covers of countless magazines and gave gushing interviews. These halcyon days were, however, short-lived.

Although initially a success, problems with the Macintosh soon surfaced and criticism abounded. IBM's PC had been available for some time before the Mac and had myriad programs which it could run. This new Mac platform had pitifully few which, combined with a price tag $1,000 in excess of IBM’s machine, was regarded as poor value for money.

Resentment for Jobs was building within Apple while he, himself, blamed the Mac's marketing team for not being able to sustain the machines impressive initial sales figures. Whereas once Sculley and Jobs had boasted that each could finish the other's sentences friendly or even polite conversation was no longer the order of the day. Such was the tension Apple's co-founder, Wozniak, left in 1985. Reorganisation was necessary. Jobs was ousted as head of the Macintosh team and replaced by Jean-Louis Gassée.  When he returned from holiday he was still a member of the board but without any affective role. He was, in his own words, “...very publicly out.”


Light and Magic

Still a member of the Apple board, when Jobs came up with ideas for a new, 3M computer, he took them to Apple. Initially they were excited – they, too, had notions of building such a product which they had code named “Big Mac”. Enthusiasm became concern when Jobs announced that he would need the best brains from the Macintosh team devoted to the project. The board's rejection of Jobs' plan was the final straw. On 17thSeptember 1985, just four days after presenting to the board, Jobs resigned.  He sold much of his stock, worth around $100 million and took his dream team with him to start a new venture, NeXT Inc.

After putting the launch date back many times, NeXT brought to market its first major product in October 1988. The NeXT Cube was designed to be powerful, easy to use and stylish. This state of the art technology came at a price. At $6,500 the NeXT cube, designed for universities, was more than twice the price the institutions had agreed to pay. Jobs' was faced with another failure. 

When first offered the opportunity to invest in Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), Jobs' refused to stump up the $30million being sought. He might, he suggested, consider investing at a lower rate. His caution paid off. In 1986 parent company LucasFilms, came back to Jobs offering him Pixar for just $10 million.

To begin with, Pixar, like NeXT, seemed to be yet another drain on Jobs' finances. He made the decision to close the hardware arm of the business to concentrate on developing the Renderman 3D software. The animation arm, headed by John Lasseter, was proving itself potentially lucrative by the advertising commissions it was winning. In 1991, Disney approached the company with plans to make a computer animated feature film. Though that venture was later cancelled, John Lasseter's tenacity proved Pixar's greatest asset. He reworked theToy Storyscript and the deal was back on.  Seven days after the film's release Pixar was publicly floated netting Jobs, the 80% stakeholder, $1.5billion. In 2007, Disney would acquire the company for $4.7 billion.


Meanwhile, back at Apple headquarters...

Apple and the Macintosh were stagnant. Each quarter they were losing market share. By 1996, the company’s CEO, Gil Amelio paid $400 million to acquire NeXT, ostensibly to secure the NeXTSTEP operating system for use in their own machines. It was the company's lifeline and Amelio's downfall. With profits tumbling Jobs, now back in the fold, organised what could only be described as a coup. In April 1997, Jobs became the CEO of the company he had co-founded but that had edged him out.

Confidence in the Apple brand returned with Jobs at its helm. Within six months it was once again turning a profit. No longer would there be gaps of years between product launches. First came the PowerMac G3 followed by the Powerbook. In May 1998 Apple introduced the world to the iMac: a desktop computer that was simply beautiful. It was an instant hit not only with computer nerds but design lovers. This was no beige PC.  Laptop siblings soon followed each with their own striking design that made Macs immediately identifiable.

Perhaps the greatest innovation to come from Apple was the idea of the digital hub. The iApps were the company's attempt to displace Microsoft applications with its own by creating a range of must have, iconic products for which there was no Windows equivalent. The iPod was viewed by Apple as just one of a number of such products. To the surprise of all, including its developers and designers, this little gadget would be so much more. It spawned the iPhone which began the iPad and countless imitators.


“iPod Therefore I Am” - Steve Jobs (Newsweek)

Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in October 2003. Always a man to take the path less trodden he sought cures from nature including an extremely restricted diet. Speculation over his fitness and health abounded, with his death being mistakenly reported in 2008. With customary humour Jobs, quoting Mark Twain confirmed, “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” but refused answer further questions relating to his health.

When, on the 24thAugust 2011, Steve Jobs stood down as Apple's CEO to be replaced by Tim Cook, the company's share price fell 3%. In his resignation letter he stated he could. “No longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple's CEO.” Still, he left with Apple as the market leader, ahead of long-time rivals Microsoft and IBM and with a three year strategy in place to ensure the longevity of iApps product lines.

Jobs' legacy extends far beyond Apple. His interest in design and detail that priced the NeXT cube out of the market made Macs of the 21stcentury status symbols and forced other manufacturers to rethink their designs. Before his recent death from pancreatic cancer, Jobs passed the baton to Tim Cook. If Cook is to truly capitalize on Jobs' legacy he must step out of the icon's shadow very soon.


Steve Jobs in His Own Words


On the early days of Apple and His Vision

  • “We've never worried about numbers. In the market place, Apple is trying to focus the spotlight on products, because products really make a difference.”(1985)
  • “The most compelling reason for most people to buy a computer for the home will be to link it into a nationwide communications network. We're just in the beginning stages of what will be a truly remarkable breakthrough for most people-as remarkable as the telephone.” (1985)


On Inspiration and ideas

  • “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
  • “Picasso had a saying: 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”
  • “Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something.”
  • “I want to put a ding in the universe.”
  • “I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what's next.”
  • “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
  • “So when a good idea comes, you know, part of my job is to move it around, just see what different people think, get people talking about it, argue with people about it, get ideas moving among that group of 100 people, get different people together to explore different aspects of it quietly, and, you know – just explore things.”
  • “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
  • “In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”
  • “It's really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you show it to them.”
  • “Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.”


On business and business relations

  • “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
  • “I'm the only person I know that's lost a quarter of a billion dollars in one year.... It's very character-building. “
  • “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
  • “When I hire somebody really senior, competence is the ante. They have to be really smart. But the real issue for me is, are they going to fall in love with Apple? Because if they fall in love with Apple, everything else will take care of itself. They’ll want to do what’s best for Apple, not what’s best for them, what’s best for Steve, or anybody else.”
  • “I mean, some people say, ‘Oh, God, if [Jobs] got run over by a bus, Apple would be in trouble.’ And, you know, I think it wouldn’t be a party, but there are really capable people at Apple. My job is to make the whole executive team good enough to be successors, so that’s what I try to do.”
  • “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.”
  • “A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products in front of customers, they would continue to open their wallets.”
  • “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other's kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That's how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they're done by a team of people.”
  • “My job is not to be easy on people. My jobs are to take these great people we have and to push them and make them even better.”
  • “The people who are doing the work are the moving force behind the Macintosh. My job is to create a space for them, to clear out the rest of the organization and keep it at bay.”
  • “It’s not about pop culture, and it’s not about fooling people, and it’s not about convincing people that they want something they don’t. We figure out what we want.”



On life and death

  • “Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”
  • “Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith.”
  • “My favourite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
  • “Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” (Stanford commencement address, 2005)
  • “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” (Stanford commencement address, 2005)
  • “We don’t get a chance to do that many things, and everyone should be really excellent. Because this is our life. Life is brief, and then you die, you know? And we’ve all chosen to do this with our lives. So it better be damn good. It better be worth it.”
  • “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”



Steve Jobs through the words of others


  • “Steve was among the greatest of American innovators - brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.” Barack Obama


  • “Steve Jobs, the pioneer of the computer as a jail made cool, designed to sever fools from their freedom, has died.” Richard Stallman, free software pioneer.



  • “Thanks for showing that what you build can change the world. I will miss you.” Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg


  • “Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the Macbook I am writing this on right now).” Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google



  • “For those of us lucky enough to get to work with Steve, it's been an insanely great honour. I will miss Steve immensely.” Bill Gates, co-founder, Microsoft


  • “I met Steve back nearly 30 years. We were colleagues, competitors and friends for more than half of our lives. World has rarely seen anyone with such a profound impact that Steve had, the effects will be felt by future generations. “Bill Gates, co-founder, Microsoft


  • “Damn. People like Steve Jobs are supposed to live forever.” Venture capitalist, Michael Arrington


Company : 1902 Media