The co-founder and primary public face of Apple, Steve Jobs lived by his motto “Think Different.” His view on technology and what was possible has shaped the world as we know it, changing how people view and interact with technology forever. Take a look at the life of this pioneer and what separated him from the rest.
He Was A College Dropout
Raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jobs attended Reed College, a private liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon, in 1972. Due to financial difficulties, he ended up dropping out that same year.
However, his time at school wasn’t completely useless, as decades later, he would later explain that a calligraphy class he took at Reed inspired some of the early typography used in Mac computers. Two years after leaving the university, Jobs then traveled through India to study Zen Buddhism.
He Wasn’t A Technological Genius
While Steve Jobs may be synonymous with innovation and advancement in technology, he wasn’t always the smartest person in the room. Those who knew and worked with Jobs refer to him more as an extremely creative businessman who was not as skilled at the inner workings of technology as most people assume.
According to Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Jobs, “He did not know technology. He’d never designed anything as a hardware engineer, and he didn’t know software. He wanted to be important, and the important people are always the business people. So that’s what he wanted to do.”
He Wanted The iPhone Primarily To Stay As A Phone
The iPhone changed the cell phone industry forever, with almost 50% of smartphone users in the United States owning one. With the world at our fingertips and the convenience of texting, people are actually calling one another less and less, which was the opposite of what Jobs was going for.
Initially, Jobs wanted the iPhone to be a better and more reliable cell phone. In 2007, Jobs stated, "We want to reinvent the phone … What’s the killer app? The killer app is making calls. It’s amazing how hard it is to make calls on most phones."
He Established Pixar Studios
Back in 1979, director George Lucas founded Lucasfilm’s computer division, devoted to computer-animated films. Unfortunately, the company was severely struggling by 1986, and it seemed that the company of just 44 employees was going to be shut down. Jobs stepped in to buy the company from Lucas for $10 million.
He then rebranded Lucasfilm’s computer division as Pixar, which became one of the biggest animation studios in Hollywood, which would also produce Toy Story, the first 3D computer-animated feature film.
He Dated A Popular Folk Singer
Prior to meeting his wife, Laurene Powell, Jobs was involved in a romantic relationship with folk singer Joan Baez, a major name in music during the 1960s. They began dating in 1982, with Jobs explaining that it was “a serious relationship between two accidental friends who became lovers.”
Ironically, Baez had also dated and frequently performed with Bob Dylan. Jobs was a huge fan of Dylan’s and he and Steve Wozniak bonded over his music together. In 2004, Jobs finally met Dylan, although it’s unknown if the topic of Baez came up.
He Was Adopted
Jobs was born to Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah “John” Jandali, a Syrian immigrant, on February 24, 1955. His biological parents were both undergraduate students that were unable to afford to keep their baby, leading them to put Steve up for adoption not long after he was born.
He was then adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs, with Steve working on electronics with his adoptive father at a young age. Later in his life, Jobs would reject his biological father’s attempts to get in touch.
He Refused To Drive With A License Plate
Being the eccentric person that he was, Jobs was never one to fit in, even when it came driving with a license plate on his car. Instead, he would drive around with a barcode where the plate would be normally.
While it’s illegal to drive without a license plate, Jobs found a loophole in the law which stated, “a vehicle displaying a copy of the report of sale may be operated without license plates or registration card until … [a] six-month period, commencing with the date of sale of the vehicle, has expired.” So, he would only lease cars for six months at a time.
He Stole From Steve Wozniak On One Of Their First Jobs
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s volatile relationship is no secret in the industry. Yet, despite their major disagreements, few people know that Jobs actually kept money from Wozniak on one of their first jobs. The two were assigned to develop a game similar to Pong by Atari, with the payment being $700 that they would split evenly.
After finishing the game in five days, Jobs was given a bonus of $5,000 for their speed and the efficiency of the game, although Jobs still only paid Wozniak the original $350. Wozniak would only learn about this deception years later.
His Final Words Were Fitting For His Unique Life
Jobs met his biological sister, Mona Simpson, when they were both in their twenties, and they remained close up until Jobs’ death. Simpson gave the eulogy at Jobs’ funeral on October 7, 2011, in which she detailed their relationship and his final days in his unfortunate battle with cancer.
Simpson also said that Jobs died peacefully, with his final words being, “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.” For someone who was always looking forward to what was next, this only seems appropriate.
He Wasn’t A Fan Of The Genius Bar
In 2001, Apple hired Ron Johnson as the operator of the first Apple retail stores. He is credited with coming up with the now-famous Genius Bar, where people can get one-on-one help with their Apple devices. While most people couldn’t imagine an Apple store without one, initially, Jobs wasn’t sold on the idea, calling the whole thing "idiotic."
He once told Ron, "You might have the right idea, but here’s the big gap: I’ve never met someone who knows technology who knows how to connect with people. They’re all geeks!"
He Was One Of Three Founders Of Apple
Although most people are aware that Apple was founded by Jobs and Wozniak in a garage in Silicon Valley, few know that there was actually a third partner named Ronald Wayne.
Wayne not only drew up the original contracts for the company but also designed Apple’s now-iconic logo. Unfortunately for Wayne, just three days after founding the company, he sold his 10% in Apple stock for $500, which would be worth around more than $350 billion today.
The Apple I Was Priced For A Specific Reason
When it came time for Jobs and Wozniak to begin selling their Apple I, they were aware that most retailers would buy them for $500 each. However, because they needed to make a profit, they added 1/3 of $500, which brought the price to $667.
Because they both liked even numbers Jobs and Wozniak then rounded the price down to a clean $666. To make the price even more unique, Jobs then added $0.66 to that number, so the computer was a total of $666.66, which proved to be a beneficial marketing strategy.
He Applied To Be A Civilian Astronaut
In 1985, Jobs was fired by the CEO he personally hired at Apple due to an ongoing power struggle. With all his money and nothing to do, Jobs looked to the stars. He applied to fly on a space shuttle as a civilian astronaut, although he was rejected from the space program.
Following his rejection, Jobs considered starting a Soviet computer company with the hopes that they would eventually allow him the opportunity to go into space.
He Had An Illegitimate Child And Named A Computer After Her
When he was 23 years old, Jobs had an illegitimate child with his high school girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan. Yet, for years, Jobs refused to accept that the child was his, leading Brennan to raise their daughter, Lisa, on welfare checks.
Years later, Jobs would finally admit to being the father, even naming the mega-computer LISA after her, which stood for “Local Integrated Software Architecture.” The LISA was the first non-text-based commercial PC and the first ever to use a mouse.
He Had Interesting Eating Habits
Considering the many other peculiar aspects of his life, it’s not too surprising that Jobs also ate differently than most people. Although he was a pescetarian, for the most part, he experimented with his diet throughout his life.
For example, at one point, he only ate apples and carrots for as long as his body would let him. He also spent several weeks only eating fruit. While portraying Jobs in the 2013 film Jobs, Ashton Kutcher attempted the only fruit diet, which landed him in the hospital.
He Gave Back More Than People Thought
Being the uber-successful and wealthy person he was, people criticized Jobs for his lack of philanthropic ventures when compared to his contemporaries such as Bill Gates. However, few people were aware that he was secretly donating to a number of charities, even giving $52 million of his own money to California state hospitals, which included the construction of a children’s hospital and other medical buildings.
His wife, Laurene’s, primary job was to donate to charities, although they kept it anonymous. She once commented, “we don’t like attaching our names to things.”
He Made The Forbes Millionaire List At A Young Age
By the time he was just 23, Jobs was worth more than $1 million, which was beyond impressive at the time. And by the time that he was 25, he was worth more than a whopping $250 million!
This made him one of the youngest people to ever make the Forbes list of the wealthiest people in the United States. At that time, most of the other young people on the list had the help of inherited wealth, which Jobs certainly did not.
He Was A Handful In School
As a boy, Jobs had a difficult time paying attention in the classroom and had an issue with authority, leading him to be suspended on a number of occasions. Already demonstrating his intelligence at a young age, Jobs admitted that he was pretty bored in school and [had] turned into a little terror.”
Although he was known for his pranks and misbehavior at school, his adoptive father never reprimanded him and instead blamed the school for their inability to challenge Jobs’ intelligence.
He Chose Holistic Remedies For Cancer
After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in2003, instead of having an immediate operation as the doctors recommended, he chose a more holistic approach. This included an alternative medicine regimen such as a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and consulting a psychic.
He eventually gave in and had the surgery nine months after it was suggested. Unfortunately, it was too late, with many people considering his delay being the main cause of his untimely death.
The Story Behind His “Uniform”
Steve Jobs’ iconic style consisted of a pair of white tennis shoes, blue Levis 501 jeans, and a black turtle neck. His choice to wear this as his everyday clothing came from a trip to Japan in the early 1980s, where he was exposed to Sony’s simple yet effective work uniforms
Yet, when he pitched this idea of a mandatory work uniform for his Apple employees, people weren’t exactly thrilled. So, he didn’t force them to but decided to wear a “uniform” himself, which also helped with branding. By the time of his death, he had more than 100 black turtle necks and blue jeans.