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In high school, a student interested in takingapart and rebuilding machines approached the CEO of Hewlett-Packard and asked for someparts to help him complete a class project. Duly impressed, the CEO made arrangementsfor the student to get the parts. And years later, he was probably thrilledto be able to say he took the time to do so.
The confident, driven student who asked forthe parts was Steve Jobs, a man who would go on to become the CEO of Apple Computersand a pre-eminent figure in the tech industry… Early Life Steve Jobs was born to two unmarried graduatestudents in 1955 (curiously, just 9 months before Microsoft founder Bill Gates).
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He parents gave him up for adoption, andJobs was 30 years old and well in the midst of tech stardom before he learned about hisbirth parents, the Simpsons. Growing up, the only family he knew was hisadoptive parents, a couple from Mountain View, California who fostered his interest in takingapart and rebuilding machines.
His father, Paul Jobs, was a machinist whotaught Jobs about electronics from an early age. Working in the family garage, the two spenthours tinkering on projects. During these work sessions in the garage,Jobs’ father taught him a lesson that has made its way into Apple products of all shapesand sizes. Jobs later described this, saying, “Whenyou’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a pieceof plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it.
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You’ll know it’s there, so you’re goingto use a beautiful piece of wood on the back.
not show early promise in school. His mother had taught him to read as a toddler,but he was bored in school and often goofed off, a habit that frustrated one teacher tothe point of bribing him to behave.
Hill with being one of the “saints” of his life. Jobs so excelled in that fourth grade classwith Mrs. Hill that he skipped over the fifth grade entirely and headed straight for middleschool. This jump ahead was tough for him initially:he was bullied and became a bit of a loner.
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I he disliked middle school so muchthat he told his parents that if he couldn’t switch schools he would just stop going toschool altogether. To keep Jobs in school, the family moved fromMountain View to Los Altos, and Jobs settled into the Cupertino School District. It was here, that he met and befriended BillFernandez, another student interested in electronics. Fernandez later played a critical role inthe creation of Apple computers when he introduced Jobs to his neighbor – another electronicsaficionado, and someone you might have heard of…
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Hneighbour was Steve Wozniak (more on himin a minute). Early Work By the time he entered high school, Jobs wasalready working at Hewlett-Packard, where a cold call to the CEO had earned him a joboffer. But while he was in high school his interestsbegan to diversify quite a bit.
Jobs discovered a love for the classics andfor literature in general – Dylan Thomas and Shakespeare were particular favorites. During his senior year, Jobs was so excellingin English that he was able to take classes at Stanford. When it came time to attend college, though,Jobs opted to attend Reed State in Oregon. But, well, that didn’t last long.
After only one semester, Jobs’ previousaversion to formal education reared its head and he dropped out.
He continued dropping in on classes that interestedhim, though he wasn’t earning credits and wasn’t paying for anything. Interestingly, one of those drop-in classesgreatly affected his future. Something that he explained in his famous2005 Stanford commencement address (something, by the way, that is well worth watching). “If I had never dropped in on that singlecalligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionallyspaced fonts.” Career Beginning Despite being a college dropout, Jobs wasable to secure a job with Atari computers in 1974. He worked as a tech, assisting the engineerswho were doing the heavy duty coding work.
Jobs didn’t have a lot of money at thistime, and he was trying to scrape funds together to travel to India to study Eastern religion- his interests in things outside technology had stuck around. The head of Atari, Neil Bushnell, years latersaid he thought Jobs was saving money by actually living in the office…
“I’m not sure about this but I actuallythink Steve was living there, so people used to complain that he didn’t smell that well… I’d come in on the weekend and he’d be there,I’d come in late at night and he’d be there.
” The time at Atari also marked a key pointin the friendship between Jobs and his old friend Steve Wozniak. Jobs was assigned to design a circuit boardfor the video game Breakout, and he approached Wozniak to help because Atari was offeringa bonus if it could be designed using fewer chips. Jobs also needed the project completed inonly four days.
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didn’t tell Wozniak was that Atarihad offered Jobs a large bonus for using fewer chips – a bonus Jobs received and kept forhimself even though Wozniak did the majority of the work.
Wozniak found out about the lie ten yearslater, he is reported to have cried. But Wozniak didn’t know of Jobs’ deceitat the time, and the two continued experimenting with technology together.
But their tinkering was put on hold for sevenmonths, though, when Job’s alleged living in the office had saved him enough money totravel to India. He went to India in search of spiritual enlightenment,something that was rather in fashion in the 60s and 70s.