100 Facts from the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

— Apple’s “Think Different” commercial, 1997

Many of you ask yourselves, who deserved credit for Apple computers. Some people would say it is Steve Wozniak, the genius who created the circuit board and related operating software, the others would side with the one who integrated hobbyist circuit boards into a friendly end to end package from the power supply to sleek case. I would say, it were even more than these two absolute geniuses, including Mike Markkula who wrote the company’s business plan, which described how many families would need personal computers and who would end up playing a critical role at Apple for the next two decades, Ron Janoff who created the simple logo which became the embodiment of Apple Marketing Philosophy, Rod Holt whose revolutionary power supplies switched the power on and off thousands of times allowing to store the power for far less time, and thus throwing less heat, and many others, and last but not least do not forget the legendary epoch, when the lives of all these people crossed at the intersection of counterculture and technology. Today, knowing all these facts and history, I again pay credit to Steve Jobs whose biography was chosen to be the first one to describe the daring feats in the filed of computer technology. 

  1. The author deflected Steve’s suggestion that he write a biography on him twice. Steve Jobs first asked Walter Isaacson to write  his biography in 2004. At that time the author demurred and did not take him seriously. A few years later in 2009 Steve Jobs one more time raised the subject, and only the news of Jobs’ sickness made it come true.
  2. The book is based on more than 40 interviews during which Walter Isaacson was gathering string on the subject.
  3. Biological parents of Steve Jobs are Abdulfattah Jandali, a Muslim teaching assistant from Syria and Joanne Schieble, a catholic graduate student at the University of Wisconsin.
  4. Adopted parents of Steve Jobs are Paul Jobs, a repossession agent and Clara Hagopian, a daughter of Armenian immigrants.
  5. Paul and Clara Jobs got married ten days after their first date, as Paul made a wager with his friends that he would find himself a wife within two weeks.
  6. Joanne’s father who was a strict Catholic could not accept the marriage of his daughter with a muslim. Besides, he was sick and dying at that time, and he had threatened to disown her if she wed Abdulfattah, which is why the young parents had to give their son out for adoption.
  7. After the death of Joanne’s father the same year as Steve Jobs  was born the young couple finally got married and two years later they had a daughter, and seven years after Steve Jobs was born they divorced.
  8. Steve had two sisters, a biological sister Mona Simpson who became an acclaimed novelist and Patty Jobs, another adopted child in the Jobs’s family.
  9. Clara Jobs had been married before but her husband was killed in the war, and she suffered an ectopic pregnancy in which the fertilized egg was implanted in a fallopian tube rather than the uterus, and she had been unable to have children. So, by 1955, after nine years of marriage, Paul and Clara Jobs were looking to adopt a child.
  10. Joanne had one requirement for adoption: her child must be adopted by college graduates.
  11. Due to the requirement first adoption was arranged for a family of a lawyer, but the future adopted parents backed out as they decided that they wanted a girl.
  12. Thus the child was placed for adoption to a family of a high school dropout with a passion for mechanics and his salt-of-the-earth wife who was working as a bookkeeper.
  13. Paul and Clara Jobs signed a pledge to fund a savings account to pay for the boy’s college education and only with this stipulation Joanne agreed for adoption.
  14. The adoption was a closed one, but not for Steve who from his early age knew that he had been adopted.
  15. Thanks to the love of his adopted parents Steve Jobs had never felt abandoned, quite the opposite he felt special.
  16. Steve Jobs had two sides: he stood at the intersection of humanities and sciences. This magic blend turned out to be a key to creating innovative technologies.
  17. Steve was a daredevil boy and he was able to look up Bill Hewlett, the founder of HP, in the phone book and call him to get parts to build a frequency counter when he was in the Hewlett-Packard Explorers Club at the age of 15. Bill Hewlett chattered with Steve Jobs over the phone for twenty minutes and together with the spare parts he offered him a job in the plant where they made frequency counters.
  18. Steve Jobs got his first car with the help of his father when he was fifteen and it was a two-tone Nash Metropolitan, which he did not like and within a year trade it up to a red Fiat 850 coupe with an Abarth engine.
  19. Attributes to describe Steve Jobs’s character as a child: infuriated, petulant, searing, daredevil, skittish, blunt, callous, bulky, bristle, erratic, savvy.
  20. School was unable to interest Steve and his favorite school activity was to play pranks.
  21. Steve was intellectually special, and the school made the remarkable proposal that he skip two grades and go right into the seventh grade; it would be the easiest way to keep him challenged and stimulated.
  22. Jobs was often bullied at school. He demanded from his parents that he go to a school with a better reputation which his parents could hardly afford. It was located in the Cupertino-Sunnyvale School District, one of the safest and best in the valley.
  23. Taking a long walk was his preferred way to have a serious conversation.
  24. For many years he had been on a compulsive fruitarian diet, dropped acid, smoked marijuana and all his life he was studying and trying to practice the tenets of Zen Buddhism.
  25. Jobs’s parents wanted him to have a religious upbringing, but when he was thirteen he ceased attending the Lutheran church where he used to go most Sundays. Jobs announced that he did not want to have anything with worshiping God when he saw an article in Life magazine a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra.
  26. The first symbiosis of the two Steves (Steve Jobs and Stephen Wozniak) worked when they created a hacker phone which allowed to make long-distance calls for free and was sold for $150 each while the parts cost $40. Steve Jobs risked of being shot when he tried to pitch one of the phones at a restaurant parking.
  27. In 1972 Jobs started going out with a girl named Chrisann Brennan, who in five years would become pregnant with a girl who Steve Jobs would abandon.
  28. When it came to the choice of the college, Steve chose Reed College at Portland, Oregon, known for its free-spirited hippie lifestyle and was also expensive. But as in the case with the high school, his parents relented and saved very dime to pay his tuition at Reed.
  29. He soon dropped out of the University, as he became bored with it. As a result he never got higher education which was at a premium for his biological parents and a stipulation for his adoption. What he got were compatriots and early Apple employees who together with others helped him to build the Apple Corporation: Daniel Kottke, Robert Friedland and Elizabeth Holmes.
  30. He stopped paying his tuition fee, and after another 18 months of hanging around the dorms at Reed he returned to his parents’ house and became one of the first fifty employees at Atari, working as a technician for $5 an hour. To other employees he seemed quite a nutcase to deal with because of his nature, which was not disposed to accept any authority, ferocious criticism and negligence of hygiene.
  31. He intuitively appreciated the simplicity of Atari’s games. They came with no manual and a stoned freshman could figure them out.
  32. Jobs took a twelve-week course of primal scream therapy which dealt with  psychological problems caused by the repressed pains of childhood. The therapy course cost him 1000$, but it did not prove very useful.
  33. In 1973 Steve Jobs would spend weeks at All One Farm a commune based on eastern spirituality where Steve ran the apple orchard.  Steve’s job was to lead a crew of freaks to prune the orchard and whip it back into shape.
  34. In 1974, when he turned 19, Jobs had a trip to India which had a lasting influence on his life. His trip to India lay through such European countries as Germany and Italy and was partially covered by Atari, as he had some business to do in those countries on behalf of Atari.
  35. Books which inspired Steve Jobs: Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryi Suzuki, Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trunpa, Diet for a Small Planet by France Moore Lappé and Mucusless Diet Healing System by arnold Ehret.
  36. In 1975 after his trip to India Steve Jobs returned to Atari and got his job back until he and Woz started their own business.
  37. In 1975 Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari, asked Jobs to design a new single-player version of a game when instead of  competing against an opponent, the player would volley the ball into a wall that lost a brick whenever it was hit. Wozniak was a better engineer than Jobs and Jobs suggested to share the fee.  There was a bonus tied to keeping down the number of chips about which Steve Jobs did not mention to Woz. Such a job might take most engineers a few months, but Jobs made Wozniak believe that he could do that for four days, and he astonishingly completed the work within the given period. Jobs simply gave Wozniak half of the base fee and not the bonus, which greatly disappointed Wozniak when he finally knew about the bonus after Atari’s story was published.
  38. They started their own company with $1,300 as starting capital. In order to raise the money they needed, Wozniak sold his HP 65 calculator which cost $500 for half of that. For his part, Jobs sold his Volkswagen bus for $1,500 and two weeks later he had to pay for half of the repairs for the broken engine.
  39. Steve Wozniak became haunted with the idea of assembling his own commuter since he saw a 1975 Popular Mechanics Issue with the first personal computer kit, the Altair. Because he could not afford to pay for computer time, he wrote the code by hand, he worked every day to moonlight on his computer which later became known as the Apple I.
  40. The Apple I did not have a case, monitor, power supply and a built in human-typable keyboard, but was a printed circuit board $50 worth, appealing to a few hard-core hobbyists ready to assemble it.
  41. The first order for the Apple I was for $25 000.
  42. Ethics were in the first place for Wozniak and he offered the Apple I to HP first since he designed it while working there. Though the senior executive HP manager was impressed, they did not see it appropriate among their professional products as the Apple I looked more like a hobbyist product, but did not fit into the company’s high-quality market segments.
  43. When they created the Company and needed a name for it, Steve Jobs proposed «Apple» as the name for their company. At that time he was on one of his fruitarian diets and visited the All One Farm where he helped with the harvest.
  44. In the beginning the company consisted of Steve Jobs, Steven Wozniak and Ron Wayne, a draftsman at Atari, who had earlier started a company that built slot machines. The memories of his business failure were so fresh that Ron Wayne withdrew his partnership soon and received $800, and shortly afterward $1,500 more instead of possible $2.6 billion which he could get in 2010 if he had stayed with the Company then.
  45. In 2010 one of the original Apple I computers: the eight kilobytes of memory, and the version of BASIC was sold at auction by Christie’s for $213,000.
  46. Rod Janoff designed the famous logo for the Apple I which the company is still using.  He came up with a simple apple in three versions: one whole, one with a bite taken out of it, and the third one stripped in six colors with psychedelic hues sandwiched between while-earth green and sky blue. The whole apple looked pretty much like a cherry, the colorful apple made printing the logo significantly more expensive, so Steve chose the one with a bite.
  47. Steve Jobs threw tantrum when Mike Scott, president of Apple who had bee brought in to keep a tighter rein on Jobs,  assigned him to #2 employee badge and Woz to #1. It was specially done to cool his ego. Finally, as a solution Jobs demanded #0 but the bank of America would not allow it as their payroll system required a positive integer and Jobs’s remained #2.
  48. He was not a model boss or human, and patience was never one of his virtues. There was a huge hygiene issue even when Jobs founded the company. He believed his fruitarian diet allows him not to take a shower and not to use any smell controller which was not true and besides he would soak his feet in the toilet to relieve stress and would walk barefoot and very often put his feet for observation onto the table.
  49. The Apple II was introduced at the first West Coast Computer Faire in April 1977 in San Francisco. By that time only three Apple IIs were assembled and the rest of the boxes were empty. The Company got three hundred orders after the Fair.
  50. After the birth of Steve’s out-of-marriage daughter Lisa, his life became more mature, he put aside drugs, eased his strict diets and got a stylish haircut. Lisa Nicole Brennan was born on May 17, 1978, and as at that time Steve Jobs was not ready to become a father, his daughter was not given his last name. Later Jobs was made take financial responsibility for his daughter and prove his paternity. Even 94,41% probability of paternity according to the DNA test could not assure him that Liza was his daughter, as he merely did not want to accept this fact. Later he started paying $385 and $5,856 in back welfare payments. Later Steve jobs would say that if he had been given the second chance he would have handled it differently and very much regretted his behavior.
  51. …to be continued …