Reading about Steve Jobs resignation from Apple took me back to 1984. KABC, sent me out to do a story on a new product. It was something called a “Macintosh.” I remember it clearly, an unimpressive little off-white plastic box with a slot on its front side and a small screen displaying the image of a New Balance athletic shoe. I remember being totally non-plussed and without a clue as to why anybody would want to invest in this new gadget, which, I thought, would have a very limited use and appeal only to the eggheads among us. Keep in mind that at the time we were all still banging away with our giant Royal typewriters. Having my own personal computer wasn’t even conceptual, which is why Apple was calling out the media to do stories on its new product.
So I was wrong. So were a whole lot of people, probably. Such is the genius of Steve Jobs, a guy who was given up for adoption by his parents and dropped out of Reed College after one semester but kept auditing classes, including a class in calligraphy, which, according to Jobs, accounts at least in part for his artistic bent when it comes to computer design issues. If that’s not interesting enough, he then left for India, seeking enlightenment and returned a Buddhist, with a shaved head and wearing robes. By one account, he eats no meat other than fish and says that using LSD, was “one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life.”
It wasn’t until the 1990’s that he sought out his sister, who turned out to be novelist Monica Simpson, leading some to point to the likelihood of a DNA-caused creative connection.
Eventually he hooked up with Steve Wozniak and a few others and the rest as they say, is one big database.
Not your typical American CEO? Maybe a little more Buddhism would do corporate America some good?
But it gets even better. Some contend that Bill Gates stole his graphical operating system (Windows) from Jobs, who stole it from Xerox. I really don’t know, but it’s a good story, isn’t it?
It’s kind of a mute point as the economic bitstream continues to be downloaded. Job’s current net worth is listed at $8.3 billion. Not bad for a college dropout, just like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Wozniak.
As for me, I never saw the light and remain a PC/Linux (Ubuntu) user. I do have an ipod though and so does my wife. And that new ultra-thin Macbook “Air” looks awfully good. Jobs may get another devotee yet, although the price is a little high…