Imagine a world with no personal computers, tablets or even the mobile phone as we know it. Many will shudder to think of a life without their computer. How would we work or talk to people far away? The thought itself is scary. If it wasn’t for the ingenuity of a man known as Steve jobs it might very well be so. Just who is this man? What exactly did he do to make the world give him the monumental distinction changing our lives for the better? That is what we are here to find out.
Table of Contents
Born in the year 1955 Jobs parents were two Wisconsin University students. The two young parents had no business getting a child. His biological father was an immigrant from the now war torn city of Homs in Syria named Abdul Fattah Jandali. Joanne Carole Schieble a farm girl from Wisconsin was the mother.
Baby Steve jobs did not get time with his young parents who quickly put him up for adoption. The main reason for this according to the parents was that Joanne’s father refused to accept his daughter’s union with Jandali. Whatever was the reason baby Jobs found himself in the adoption lists? It was probably for the best as he was going to learn crucial skills in the environment he was going to.
Steve was adopted at birth by Paul and Clara jobs. His adopted father was s mechanic who was quite hardy with spanners, screws and using his hands. Apart from giving Steve jobs his name he gifted him with an environment where Steve learned to use his hands. Many were the times when the young Steve jobs would watch his father take apart engines looking for that cumbersome part. Soon he was quite good with his hands. Understanding the basics of mechanical and electrical engineering would serve him well in the future.
In early school, Jobs was not the ideal pupil. He was a major troublemaker. One of his teachers told of how she had to bribe him to keep him well behaved. He was a prankster. Causing trouble to his poor class mates with his bullish jokes and pranks.
All in all, he was a genius in class though he never admitted to the title. Soon the school wanted to have a chat with the parents. They proposed taking the young Jobs straight to junior high as he was passing the exams with too much ease. Jobs parents would hear none of it. There was a time for everything and their son no matter how bright would go through every grade! What wise parents.
High school And Teenage years
In 1961 the family moved and to where but silicon valley itself. Of course, at that time it wasn’t known as silicon valley but as Mountain view California. The area was fast becoming the center for electronic development. Silicon is used in the manufacture of electronic motherboards and Chips hence the name.
He was not influenced by peer pressure that is all too familiar to teenagers of this age. He liked doing things his own way. Swimming was an activity he enjoyed and he swam to the fullest but didn’t join any team. He got into the world of electronics and gadgets spending a lot of time in a neighbor’s garage who worked at Hewlett Packard commonly known as HP nowadays. The company had an explorer club for young would be engineers. Steve quickly joined in the club. There he saw his first computer and was so impressed that he knew that’s what he wanted to do. He wasn’t sure exactly what but anything to do with computers would do.
Still in high school, his relationship with Hewlett Packard continued, and he attended lectures there. When he needed some parts for a school project, he approached William Hewlett the HP president. The president was so impressed with the bold Steve that he gave him not only the parts but also a summer internship at the company. Way to go Steve! Although his job was only fastening screws, he was in heaven.
The young inventor met his friend Steve Wozniak around this time. The two shared a love for electronics. They hit it off immediately. Though Wozniak was eighteen years old Jobs being only thirteen their passion for gadgets kindled a close friendship. When Wozniak started attending the University of California in Berkley jobs would visit him a few times a week. He began studying in the nearby Stanford university student union. By his senior high school year Jobs was already taking some classes at Stanford University. He graduated and went to Reed College.
College and Innovation
Reed College was very expensive, and his parents could barely afford it. Jobs did not want to spend his parent’s money and he dropped off as an official student. He started attending classes but only the ones he wanted. During this time, he slept on the floor in friends rooms, returned coke bottles for money and got free meals at the Hare Krishna temple.
He attended a calligraphy course during this time where he learned about typefaces, fonts, and layout. If he had not dropped in on that calligraphy course in college, the Mac would have never had the excellent typography! Good design is one of the attributes that would make the mackintosh operating system such a big hit.
In 1972 Jobs got a job in Atari Inc, a video game making company. This was his first job. There comes a time in every man’s life that he has to make peace with his spirituality. Everybody has his own way of doing this. To Steve jobs his spiritual fulfillment was in India. As he was working in the video game maker he started saving money to go to India. He left for India with his friend Daniel Kottke who would later become an apple employee. Jobs stayed in India for seven months having changed his appearance. He shaved his hair and wore traditional Indian clothing. He must have found what he was looking for.
He went back to working in Atari inc where he was given the job of working with circuit boards. That was a tough job for him, and he had to get the help of his friend Wozniak to be able to pull it off.
Steve collaborative friendship with Wozniak continued and they worked for six months to build low cost digital ‘blue boxes’. This boxes generated the necessary tones to manipulate the telephone network allowing for free calls. Needless to say this was very much illegal. Later on Jobs would say that if it were not for this blue boxes Apple would never have been born.
His friend Wozniak built the first Apple computer in 1976; the Apple 1. Apple computer was born in the garage of Jobs home as a partnership between Jobs, Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne. Wayne was only around for a while leaving Jobs and Wozniak as the active partners.
Jobs explained that their motivation for building the computers was because they wanted a personal computer. They could not only afford the computers that were on the market, but those computers were impractical for them to use as they were too bulky and not user-friendly. They received funding from a retired Intel engineer Mike Markkula. Jobs developed a prototype Apple computer for his parents and then girlfriend Brennan, who was living with them.
After a few weeks Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple 2 at a computer fair. It quickly became one of the first successful mass produced personal computers. The new computer model posted significant sales of around $2.7 million in the first year. This figure would grow to $200 million within three years. This was one of the fastest growing companies in the world. Soon the young company got offices in Cupertino,Ca. Steve, his girlfriend and Danil Kottke moved to a house near the office. He had finally moved out of his parents’ home for good.
In 1984 Apple computer introduced the mackintosh. For the first time, computers came with small pictures called icons that aided in navigation. It was a brilliant product but without corresponding features like a high-quality printer which other company’s products had, the mackintosh did not do well. This failure signaled another chapter for Steve Job’s life. In 1985 he was forced out of the company he built!
Steve jobs was not one to stay idle for long. Soon he had his eyes set on another venture. He created NeXT, another computer making company. A NeXT computer was ready within three years. It received mixed reactions from the market.
He bought an animation company known as Pixar. Nine years later it released the first installment of the animated movie toy story. The movie immediately became a big box office hit. The company would go on to release other animation classics like Toy story 2, finding Nemo, the incredible, a bug’s life and monsters inc. Just as he was starting to sit pretty, another exciting chapter unfolded.
In 1996 Apple was still not where it should have been. IBM still dominated the market. Apple bought out NeXT from Steve jobs and reinstated him back to his company. He gave himself a salary of only $1 a year, hired new management and altered the stock options. His first product after coming back on board was the iMac. With effective branding and cutting edge technology Apple caught the customer’s attention again.
Later innovations took the world by storm. The iPod and the iPhone changed the way we process information. It was common for other companies to ape Apple’s products; rushing to the factory to develop their counterfeit products. By 2007 Apples stock was worth $199 a share. A record at that time. In 2008 ITunes Apples music service became America’s second biggest music retailer. Steve jobs had revolutionized the world.
Death of A Legend
On October 5, 2011, Steve jobs died from pancreatic cancer, and the world lost a great man, a legend of his time. He died peacefully at home and surrounded by his family. He was 56 years old.
8 Most Inspiring Stories from Steve Jobs’ Life
There is no denying that Steve Jobs has changed the way we see technology today. His death cannot even stop his legacy from influencing every business person and consumer. Like many people who were inspired by the stories of Steve Jobs, here are those that made me motivated to seek higher heights as technology and information systems progress.
Hiding the Porsches
Randy Adams, a software engineer, turned down the offer of Steve Jobs to work at NeXT Computer Company (This was the company Jobs made after being kicked out from Apple). Adams didn’t feel like he was ready enough to work after he just recently sold his desktop software company. Jobs didn’t give up and instead told Adams that he “was blowing an opportunity of a lifetime” on the answering machine. This prompted Adams to reconsider.
When he finally agreed to it, both Adams and Jobs coincidentally bought the same Porsche 911 and to prevent dings; the cars were parked near to each other. One day, Jobs rushed to Adam’s work cubicle and told him to move their cars. When asked why Jobs responded that Ross Perot was coming, and he was contemplating on investing in the NeXT Company. “We don’t want him to think we have a lot of money,” said Jobs. Hence, the Porsche cars were moved to the back of NeXT’s offices and in 1987, Perot invested a good $20 million to the company.
It is a really good strategy for businesspeople who are in dire need of investment for their highly-potential products. While many of them would rather show their financial ability, Jobs thinks slightly differently and much wisely.
Making a smaller iPod
While engineers were on their way to producing the very first iPod, a prototype was presented to Steve Jobs for approval. What Jobs did was he played with it, carefully scrutinized it, felt and weighed it and immediately rejected the prototype. The reason? It was too big.
Aghast with the simple remark, the engineers explained that it was impossible to recreate the iPod and make it smaller than it already was. This made Jobs went silent for a while and when he finally stood up, he walked to the aquarium and released the iPod. When it reached the bottom, many bubbles were floating. He then stated that the air bubbles mean there is still space. “Make it smaller”, he added.
Jobs, indeed, is a man of justifications. I believe this trait is the most important in doing business. Your employees should know what to improve and be able to challenge the limits they have set for themselves. A little too pushy, eh? But Steve Jobs is a proof that transformational leaders do exist today and while most of the people succumb to their comfort zones, Steve Jobs learned how to defy gravity.
Apple has always been seen as a company that never fails. When it does fail, it is not much of a good sight. When apple debuted the first ever iPhone, it also launched MobileMe. MobileMe was an e-mail system that seeks to provide synchronization features which corporate users have loved while using their BlackBerry smartphones. However, this system was useless for many users; there were many reported lost e-mails and syncing was very blotchy in stark comparison to its new iPhone.
Jobs does not tolerate such ineffective services. Right after the launching event, he called for the team (MobileMe) and gathered them in an auditorium in the campus which the company uses for product unveilings to journalists. A participant remembered seeing Jobs walking in with his simple black turtleneck and blue jeans, after which he clutched his hands and asked the team a simple question. He asked what MobileMe was supposed to do and after hearing an acceptable answer, replied “So why the fuck doesn’t it do that?” Jobs continued to criticize the group saying how it has tarnished the reputation of Apple. Right there and then, a new executive was hired to run the team.
Popular to contrary belief, Apple is not an enthralled place where only wonderful items are produced and the staff can be as creative and free as they can be. While that may be true, Apple is also a brutal place. Accountability is a must and communication m. But then again, who says business is merciful? One failed product can mean a lot to the future of a business. Apple is a great example to those who believe that businesses are made among friends—they simply aren’t.
A former operations manager of Astarte where Apple has just purchased its American division, Mike Evangelist, still recalls his first meetings with Steve Jobs. When he was put into a team that was tasked to think of ideas for a program on DVD-burning to be installed on Macs, Mike and another employee worked on mock-ups and prototypes for the interface of the program. On the presentation day, they gathered in the boardroom along with Jobs and showed screen shots of the new program’s windows and options with the description of how the application works.
Rather unexpectedly, they recalled seeing Jobs not even taking a glimpse at their work and just picked up a marker. Jobs walked over the whiteboard, drew a rectangle and said, “Here’s a new application. It’s got one window. You can drag your video into the window. Then you click the button that says BURN. That’s it.” Everyone in the room was dumbfounded. That wasn’t how decisions over products are made in Evangelist’s company. More so, that kind of product decisions are not made anywhere else in the same industry. This DVD-burning software went on to become the iDVD.
A real innovator, Steve Jobs has always emphasized the need for being simple. To this end, we know just how far Steve’s idea of minimalism has benefitted many people across the globe evidenced through the Apple products.
Steve Jobs is famous for pushing people in doing what seems like an impossible task. A quick example would be when Jobs asked Steve Wozniak to make game “Breakout”. While Wozniak believed it would take a few months to create it, Jobs only stared and said the game is doable in four days. After four days, the game was created.
For people who don’t know Jobs, it could be easily interpreted as bullying, but for those who do, this worked to the extent to producing extraordinary achievements. Jobs just knew that ordinary rules don’t apply and so he went on inspiring his team to start making its computer history. As what he would say, “You did the impossible because you didn’t realize it was impossible.”
One time Jobs went over the cubicle of Kenyon, the engineer tasked to work on the Macintosh OS, and complained how it takes so long to boot. Kenyon explained that reducing the time was impossible but Jobs quickly responded by asking if he can save more boot up time if a person’s life is at stake, to which Kenyon said he probably could. Jobs did the simple math on a whiteboard showing a time wastage of time for users. This prompt Kenyon to redo his work and made booting up much faster by 28 seconds.
Another great example was during the phase of the designing of the iPhone. Jobs was aiming its facade to contain a harsh and scratch-proof glass instead of the usual plastic. Meeting with the CEO of Corning, Wendell Weeks, he found out that they have developed a material known as “Gorilla glass” through a chemical exchange process. Jobs immediately requested for a major shipment in a span of six months to which Week said they are not actually producing the glass and also didn’t have the capacity to do so. Jobs merely replied “Don’t be afraid”. Despite the efforts of Weeks to explain how a false sense of confidence cannot easily overcome the challenges of engineering but only to be ignored by Jobs. Weeks can only shake his head in utter astonishment. He called the facility of Corning in Kentucky that was making LCD displays to convert them into Gorilla glasses.
In six months’ time, the glasses were ready and consequently, every piece of iPhone or iPad contains the glass made by Corning.
While Jobs has been branded to be totally unforgiving to major failures, many of his employees also see him as a gift-giver.
According to Givens, Apple’s director of quality from the years 1981 to 1986, people were very afraid of him, especially his staff who had to meet high expectations implicitly set by Jobs himself. When one time a secretary arrived late at work, Jobs berated the employee and asked why. The secretary, a single mother and a good worker, said that her car didn’t start. That afternoon, Jobs walked back into her office and threw a key to a Jaguar. “Here, don’t be late anymore”, Jobs added before moving out.
Givens added that Jobs always had the habit of surprising people, even sending newly known friends with gifts and devices.
The Steve Jobs Calculator Construction Set
Chris Espinosa, a software engineer was set to demonstrate the QuickDraw software program. Jobs, as many other cases, was not satisfied. At the end of the presentation, he was waiting for the reaction of Jobs. He commented how it’s a good start to the entire program but how essentially, “it stinks”. He added that the choice of background color was dark, some of the program’s lines had wrong amounts of thickness and the keys were just too big. In response, Chris assured that he will continuously change it until Steve approves of it.
Chris would improve the software based on the suggestions made by Steve from the preceding day, but there is always a fault pointed every time it was shown. Just then, an idea crossed his mind. The very next afternoon, Chris used another approach rather than making it fix for the users. He called this approach “the Steve Jobs Roll Your Own Calculator Construction Set” where the users can easily decide as to the graphical attributes of the software like the thickness, background designs, button sizes and many other.
It is an epitome of a workplace where mediocre is simply not a word. Jobs know how to say no which just forces his employees to produce a much better result. Saying no really has its perks. Who says it’s just brutal?
An intern at Apple shared his brief encounter with Steve Jobs at the company while he was working in an internal team. He and Jobs often pass by each other and every time, Jobs would do an eye contact, form a brief smile on his face and nod. He remembers Jobs speaking in lecture series where executives talk with the interns. He always take the questions and respond to them, but one distinct answer the intern never forgot was how Jobs got his inspiration from the “scorn of women” although this was said half-jokingly. He said the serious, complete answer afterwards.
One time while sitting at the cafeteria, the intern knew that Steve was behind him, speaking to someone else. Thrilled with the thought of knowing Steve Jobs was just right back, the intern dropped the conversation he was having, describing it “mundane” and concentrated his ears to his back—words full of vision and mission of Jobs. One striking line that he remembers was: “I wish I could be a fly on the wall in 100 years to see what technology is like.”
It was simply the most beautiful line that the intern has heard, and probably mine too. Not only did it pointed to the unknown future of technology, but it also created an impression of leaving a legacy behind that would stretch for generations to come. What an important advocacy is it to create something that would live on for the years and centuries to come? Entrepreneurship should be approached in the most practical yet idealistic way as possible.
Steve Jobs: A True Inspiration
The life of this legendary inventor itself is a great source of true inspiration. He was adopted at birth, grew up in a humble family, was socially awkward, dropped out of college and had to sleep in dorm floors. He was forced out from his company and had many failing products. Through it all, he never gave up. He died a true pioneer, inventor and a great thinker of our time.
Steve jobs himself gave a summary of his guiding principle during the 2005 Stanford university graduation ceremony. He said you had to find what you love. He went on to say that our work is going to fill a large part of our life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. So keep looking and don’t settle for less.
He also believed what is happening today with us, good or bad, will somehow connect in our future. Our life incidences are like ‘dots’. In his words, we can’t connect the dots looking forward; we can only connect them looking backward. What we have to do is just trust in something — our gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach, he firmly believed, had never let him down, and had made all the difference in his life.
During that speech in Stanford University, he said with finality;
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Do not lose faith.”