Entrepreneur’s Biography: Steve Jobs
“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” -Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs regularly makes most rosters of the rich and powerful. It is surprising for a guy who takes home an annual salary of U.S. $1. The reasons why he is on all power lists are; Apple, Next, iPod and Pixar. Jobs is also known as the one man who could have upstaged Bill Gates. But Jobs was as excited about innovation as Bill Gates was interested in making money.
Steve Jobs was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin to Joanne Simpson and a Syrian father Abdulfattah Jandali (who became a political science professor). Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California then adopted him. The writer Mona Simpson is Jobs’ biological sister. In 1972, Jobs graduated from Homestead High School in Cupertino, California and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. One semester later he had dropped out. But instead of going back home he hung around college and took up the study of philosophy and foreign cultures.
Steve Jobs had a deep-seated interest in technology so he took up a job at Atari Inc. which was a leading manufacturer of video games. He struck a friendship with fellow designer Steve Wozniak and attended meetings of the “Homebrew Computer Club” with him. Wozniak and Jobs developed a system with a toy whistle available in the Cap’n Crunch cereal box to make it possible to make free long distance telephone calls. They called off the amateur venture after someone told them of the possible legal consequences.
After saving up some money Steve Jobs took off for India in the search of enlightenment with his friend Dan Kottke. Once he returned he convinced Wozniak to quit his job at Hewlett Packard and join him in his venture that concerned personal computers. They sold items like a scientific calculator to raise the seed capital.
In 1976, Jobs, then 21, and Wozniak, 26, founded Apple Computer Co. in the Jobs family garage. The first personal computer was sold for $666.66. By 1980, Apple had already released three improved versions of the personal computer. It had a wildly successful IPO, which made both founders millionaires many times over. Steve Jobs had managed to rope in John Scully of Pepsi to head the marketing function in Apple.
A tiff with the Apple board and John Scully led to the resignation of Steve Jobs. As soon as he resigned he immersed himself in his brand new venture. Steve Jobs decided that he wanted to change the hardware industry. The company was called NeXTStep and the new machine was called NeXT Computer. He ploughed in more than U.S. $250 million into the company. The machine was a commercial washout but it did help in object-oriented programming, PostScript, and magneto-optical devices. Tim Berners-Lee developed the original World Wide Web system at CERN on a NeXT machine. Bitterly disappointed with NeXTStep, Jobs accepted the offer that Apple made him.
Steve Jobs also started Pixar Inc., which has gone on to produce animated movies such as Toy Story (1995); A Bug’s Life (1998); Toy Story 2 (1999); Monsters, Inc. (2001); Finding Nemo (2003); and The Incredibles (2004). This venture has made him one of the most sought after men in Hollywood.
Post Pixar, Steve Jobs wanted another round of revolutionizing to do. This time it was the music industry. He introduced the iPod in 2003. Later he came up with iTunes, which was a digital jukebox. A million and a half iPods later, the music industry still does not know whether this invention will save it or destroy it. Apple has a great advertising track record and its ‘Rip, Mix, Burn’ campaign was another feather in its cap. Now the industry uses a Mac to make the music and an iPod to store it.
Steve Jobs lives with his wife, Laurene Powell and their three children in Silicon Valley. He also has a daughter, Lisa Jobs from a previous relationship. In 2004, there was a cancerous tumor in his pancreas, which was successfully operated upon.
Steve Jobs — Named one of Time Magazine’s top 25 most influential people on the web (2008) (4/30/09) 1see businessweek.com
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