A Steve Jobs Story
Before Steve Jobs died in October 5, 2011, few people knew who he was and what he did. When he died however, people suddenly realized that a genius was working behind the scenes to make life a little easier than it has always been one contribution at a time.
This is the story behind the man who changed the world of technology and entertainment forever, bringing a lifetime of ideas and innovations into light.
The Life of Steve Jobs
Steve Paul Jobs was born into a complicated relationship, with the parents of his biological mother objecting to the relationship that she had with his father. Having no choice but to give him up, he was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs who had promised his mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, that he would be raised to give importance to his education. Schieble had initially wanted Steve to be adopted by a couple who were both college graduates but decided to sign the adoption papers despite the fact that the couple did not fit the requirement because they had promised that they would do everything to give Steve a college education.
A mechanic and a carpenter, Paul Jobs was the one who first gave Steve his technical background. They would take apart radios and television sets in the garage and rebuild them. Clara Jobs was an accountant and she taught Steve how to read even before he went to school.
Schooling was both a challenge and a breeze for Steve. He was always caught playing pranks on other students but would get amazing test scores all the time. When he attended Homestead High School in Cupertino, he made friends with people who were equally interested in electronics, drawing him to Bill Fernandez, his neighbor. Fernandez then introduced him to Steve Wozniak who was a whiz when it came to computers and electronics. College was expensive, but his parents still pushed him to aim higher. He attended Reed College and dropped out six months into the program to attend creative classes like calligraphy. Jobs later on admitted that these creative classes gave him the edge that made the Mac what it is today.
Steve Jobs and Atari
Atari played a big part in jumpstarting Steve’s career. Wozniak had designed a variation of the classic game Pong and Jobs had taken it to Atari, Inc. to see what they could do with it. Thinking that it was Jobs who had designed it, they immediately hired him as one of their technicians.
In 1974, Jobs went to India to search for spiritual enlightenment. He came back to the U.S. seven months later donning a shaved head and wearing traditional Indian clothes. He also became a Zen Buddhist and would always retreat to the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center where he would meditate and work on his spiritual growth.
Jobs returned to Atari where he was asked to create a circuit board for the arcade game Breakout. Because he was not an expert on designing circuit boards, he had no other choice but to go back to Steve Wozniak for help, promising him half of whatever Atari was going to pay him. The deal was for them to reduce the original number of chips used on the board, promising Jobs $100 for each chip eliminated. Imagine the amazement of Atari engineers when Wozniak cut the number of chips down to only 50, a design that they had a hard time reproducing because the design was too tight. Wozniak, not having any knowledge about the original payout agreed upon, was happy enough to receive $350 for the job he did.
Steve Jobs and Apple
Wozniak had created what they dubbed as the “blue box,” a digital invention that allowed people to manipulate phone networks and make long distance calls for free. The illegal invention sold well, giving Jobs the realization that they can actually make a fortune with electronics. He saw how they had the ability to beat large companies even as they worked out of their garages. In 1976, the two Steves finally set up the Apple Computer Company and started selling circuit boards.
The same year, Wozniak created the Apple I computer. Their funding mostly came from Mike Markkula who was Intel’s product marketing manager and engineer. In the early ’80s, Jobs saw how much potential there was in the Xerox PARC and its interface. This eventually led to the Apple Lisa being created, and the Macintosh a year after that.
Jobs proved to be a very difficult person to work with, and a battle for power ensued between Jobs and John Sculley, whom he had lured away from Pepsi in 1983 to become Apple’s CEO. Eventually, all of Jobs’ managerial duties were taken away from him. Looking back, Jobs admits that this was one of the best things that happened to him. Being fired left him knowing what it felt to be a beginner again and led to some of his most creative moments.
Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 when Apple decided to buy NeXT, a company that Jobs started in 1985. This was when Apple started going through a lot of changes in design and branding, increasing their sales significantly. They introduced the iMac and ventured out to music when they came up with the iPod and the iTunes Store. Jobs officially became CEO in 2000.
Jobs resigned as CEO in August of 2011 but still kept his duties as chairman of the board. His health has been on the news for quite some time, and to prove how significant Steve’s presence was to Apple, Apple shares dropped a few hours after the announcement of his resignation.
Steve Jobs and Pixar
Between Job’s stint with NeXT and his return to Apple, Jobs bought The Graphics Group, the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm which he later renamed as Pixar. It produced its first film “Toy Story” in 1995 with Jobs as the executive producer, immediately catapulting the company to fame. With John Lasseter as creative chief, Pixar produced one box office hit after another, with titles like “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc,” “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Cars,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E” and “Up” immediately zooming up to number one the moment they were released. Pixar officially merged with Disney in January 2006, making Steve Jobs Disney’s largest single shareholder, even overtaking Roy Disney’s 1% share with his 7%. This automatically gave him a seat in Disney’s Board of Directors.
Steve Jobs received a lot of criticism for the way he handled business transactions and treated his colleagues throughout his life, but nobody could deny the big difference that he made in all the industries that he stepped into. His creative genius may not have been used to everybody’s best interests all the time, but it was genius just the same. The way he challenged everything that was conventional pushed entire industries to their limits, starting creative battles every single direction he goes. This resulted in technology being taken to greater heights, with people trying to battle with Steve Jobs every step he takes.
Apple never really performed the same way after the death of Steve Jobs. At present, it receives criticism after criticism with each product it releases and is especially under pressure because of what has been perceived as a lack of creative inspiration. Because of this, the presence of Steve Jobs became even more greatly missed as memories of his creative innovations make everybody wonder what he would have done in each situation if he had still been alive today.