He didn’t actually want to leave Reed; he just wanted to quit paying tuition and taking classes that didn’t interest him. Remarkably, Reed tolerated that. “He had a very inquiring mind that was enormously attractive,” said the dean of students, Jack

Dudman. “He refused to accept automatically received truths, and he wanted to examine everything himself.” Dudman allowed Jobs to audit classes and stay with friends in the dorms even after he stopped paying tuition.

“The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting,” he said. Among them was a calligraphy class that appealed to him after he saw posters on campus

that were beautifully drawn. “I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”

It was yet another example of Jobs consciously positioning himself at the intersection of the arts and technology. In all of his products, technology would be married to great design, elegance, human touches, and even romance. He would be in the fore

of pushing friendly graphical user interfaces. The calligraphy course would become iconic in that regard. “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the

Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

In the meantime Jobs eked out a bohemian existence on the fringes of Reed. He went barefoot most of the time, wearing sandals when it snowed. Elizabeth Holmes made meals for him, trying to keep up with his obsessive diets. He returned soda

bottles for spare change, continued his treks to the free Sunday dinners at the Hare Krishna temple, and wore a down jacket in the heatless garage apartment he rented

for $20 a month. When he needed money, he found work at the psychology department lab maintaining the electronic equipment that was used for animal

behavior experiments.

Occasionally

Chrisann Brennan

would come to visit.

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When IBM introduced its personal computer in August 1981, Jobs had his team buy one and dissect it.

Their consensus was that it sucked. Chris Espinosa called it “a half-assed, hackneyed attempt,”

 

and there was some truth to that. It used old-fashioned command-line

prompts and didn’t support bitmapped graphical displays.

attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions. There were quasi-academic groups doing studies on the effects of LSD; participants included Doug Engelbart of the Augmentation Research Center in Palo Alto, who later helped develop the computer mouse and graphical user interfaces, and Ken Kesey, who celebrated the drug with

 

music-and-light shows featuring a house band that became the Grateful Dead. There was the hippie movement, born out of the Bay Area’s beat generation, and the rebellious political activists, born out of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley.

Overlaid on it all were various self-fulfillment movements pursuing paths to personal enlightenment: Zen and Hinduism, meditation and yoga, primal scream and sensory deprivation, Esalen and est.

 

This fusion of flower power and processor power, enlightenment and technology, was embodied by Steve Jobs as he meditated in the mornings, audited physics classes at Stanford, worked nights at Atari, and dreamed of starting his own business.

“There was just something going on here,” he said, looking back at the time and place. “The best music came from here—the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Joan Baez, Janis Joplin—and so did the integrated circuit, and things like the Whole Earth Catalog.”

 

Initially the technologists and the hippies did not interface well. Many in the counterculture saw computers as ominous and Orwellian, the province of the

 

Pentagon and the power structure. In The Myth of the Machine, the historian Lewis Mumford warned that computers were sucking away our freedom and destroying “life-enhancing values.” An injunction

 

on punch cards of the period—

“Do not fold, spindle or mutilate”

—became an ironic

phrase of the antiwar Left.

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But by the early 1970s a shift was under way. “Computing went from being dismissed as a tool of bureaucratic control to being embraced as a symbol of individual expression and liberation,” John Markoff wrote in his study of the

counterculture’s convergence with the computer industry, What the Dormouse Said. It was an ethos lyrically expressed in Richard Brautigan’s 1967 poem, “All Watched Over by Machines of Loving Grace,” and the cyberdelic fusion was certified when Timothy Leary declared that personal computers had become the new LSD and

years later revised his famous mantra to proclaim, “Turn on, boot up, jack in.” The musician Bono, who later became a friend of Jobs, often discussed with him why those immersed in the rock-drugs-rebel counterculture of the Bay Area ended up helping to create the personal computer industry. “The people who invented the

twenty-first century were pot-smoking, sandal-wearing hippies from the West Coast like Steve, because they saw differently,” he said. “The hierarchical systems of the East Coast, England, Germany, and Japan do not encourage this different thinking. The sixties produced an anarchic mind-set that is great for imagining a world not yet in existence.”

One person who encouraged the denizens of the counterculture to make common cause with the hackers was Stewart Brand. A puckish visionary who generated fun and ideas over many decades, Brand was a participant in one of the early sixties LSD studies in Palo Alto. He joined with his fellow subject Ken Kesey to produce the

acid-celebrating Trips Festival, appeared in the opening scene of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and worked with Doug Engelbart to create a seminal sound-and-light presentation of new technologies called the Mother of All Demos. “Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized

control,” Brand later noted. “But a tiny contingent—later called hackers—embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation. That turned out to be the true royal road to the future.”

Brand ran the Whole Earth Truck Store, which began as a roving truck that sold useful tools and educational materials, and in 1968 he decided to extend its reach with the Whole Earth Catalog. On its first cover was the famous picture of Earth

taken from space; its subtitle was “Access to Tools.” The underlying philosophy was that technology could be our friend. Brand wrote on the first page of the first edition, “A realm of intimate, personal power is developing—power of the individual to

conduct his own education, find his own inspiration, shape his own environment, and share his adventure with whoever is interested. Tools that aid this process are sought and promoted by the Whole Earth Catalog.” Buckminster Fuller followed with

a poem that began: “I see

God in the instruments

and mechanisms

that work reliably.”

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The group became known as the Homebrew Computer Club, and it encapsulated the Whole Earth fusion between the counterculture and technology. It would become to the personal computer era something akin to what the Turk’s Head coffeehouse was to the age of Dr. Johnson, a place where ideas were exchanged and

disseminated. Moore wrote the flyer for the first meeting, held on March 5, 1975, in French’s Menlo Park garage: “Are you building your own computer? Terminal, TV,

typewriter?” it asked. “If so, you might like to come to a gathering of people with like-minded interests.”

Allen Baum spotted the flyer on the HP bulletin board and called Wozniak, who agreed to go with him. “That night turned out to be one of the most important nights of my life,” Wozniak recalled. About thirty other people showed up, spilling out of

French’s open garage door, and they took turns describing their interests. Wozniak, who later admitted to being extremely nervous, said he liked “video games, pay movies for hotels, scientific calculator design, and TV terminal design,” according to

the minutes prepared by Moore. There was a demonstration of the new Altair, but more important to Wozniak was seeing the specification sheet for a microprocessor.

As he thought about the microprocessor—a chip that had an entire central processing unit on it—he had an insight. He had been designing a terminal, with a keyboard and monitor, that would connect to a distant minicomputer. Using a

microprocessor, he could put some of the capacity of the minicomputer inside the terminal itself, so it could become a small stand-alone computer on a desktop. It was an enduring idea:

keyboard, screen, and computer all in one integrated personal package. “This whole vision of a personal computer just popped into my head,” he said. “That night, I started to

sketch out on paper

what would later

become known

as the Apple I.”

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Jobs became a Whole Earth fan. He was particularly taken by the final issue, which came out in 1971, when he was still in high school, and he brought it with him to college and then to the All One Farm. “On the back cover of their final issue” Jobs

recalled, “was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: ‘Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.’” Brand sees Jobs as one of the purest embodiments of the

cultural mix that the catalog sought to celebrate. “Steve is right at the nexus of the counterculture and technology,” he said. “He got the notion of tools for human use.”

Brand’s catalog was published with the help of the Portola Institute, a foundation dedicated to the fledgling field of computer education. The foundation also helped launch the People’s Computer Company, which was not a company at all but a

newsletter and organization with the motto “Computer power to the people.” There were occasional Wednesday-night potluck dinners, and two of the regulars, Gordon French and Fred Moore, decided to create a more formal club where news about personal electronics could be shared.

They were energized by the arrival of the January 1975 issue of Popular Mechanics, which had on its cover the first personal computer kit, the Altair. The Altair wasn’t much—just a $495 pile of parts that had to be soldered to a board that would then do

little—but for hobbyists and hackers it heralded the dawn of a new era. Bill Gates and Paul Allen read the magazine and started working on a version of BASIC, an easy-to-use programming language, for the Altair. It also caught the attention of Jobs

and Wozniak. And when an Altair kit arrived at the People’s Computer Company, it became the centerpiece for the first meeting of the club that

French and Moore had

decided to launch.

The Homebrew

Computer Club

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At first he planned to use the same microprocessor that was in the Altair, an Intel 8080. But each of those “cost almost more than my monthly rent,” so he looked for an alternative. He found one in the Motorola 6800, which a friend at HP was able to get for $40 apiece. Then he discovered a chip made by MOS Technologies that was

electronically the same but cost only $20. It would make his machine affordable, but it would carry a long-term cost. Intel’s chips ended up becoming the industry standard, which would haunt Apple when its computers were incompatible with it.

After work each day, Wozniak would go home for a TV dinner and then return to HP to moonlight on his computer. He spread out the parts in his cubicle, figured out their placement, and soldered them onto his motherboard. Then he began writing the

software that would get the microprocessor to display images on the screen. Because he could not afford to pay for computer time, he wrote the code by hand. After a couple of months he was ready to test it. “I typed a few keys on the keyboard

and I was shocked! The letters were displayed on the screen.” It was Sunday, June 29, 1975, a milestone for the personal computer. “It was the first time in history,”

Wozniak later said, “anyone had typed a character on a keyboard and seen it show up on their own computer’s screen right in front of them.”

Jobs was impressed. He peppered Wozniak with questions: Could the computer ever be networked? Was it possible to add a disk for memory storage? He also

began to help Woz get components. Particularly important were the dynamic random-access memory chips. Jobs made a few calls and was able to score some from Intel for free. “Steve is just that sort of person,” said Wozniak. “I mean, he knew

how to talk to a sales

representative.

I could never have

done that. I’m too shy.”

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Apple. It was a smart choice. The word instantly signaled friendliness and simplicity. It managed to be both slightly off-beat and as normal as a slice of pie. There was a whiff of counterculture, back-to-nature earthiness to it, yet nothing could be more

American. And the two words together—Apple Computer—provided an amusing disjuncture. “It doesn’t quite make sense,” said Mike Markkula, who soon thereafter became the first chairman of the new company. “So it forces your brain to dwell on it.

Apple and computers, that doesn’t go together! So it helped us grow brand awareness.”

Wozniak was not yet ready to commit full-time. He was an HP company man at heart, or so he thought, and he wanted to keep his day job there. Jobs realized he

needed an ally to help corral Wozniak and adjudicate if there was a disagreement. So he enlisted his friend Ron Wayne, the middle-aged engineer at Atari who had once started a slot machine company.

Wayne knew that it would not be easy to make Wozniak quit HP, nor was it necessary right away. Instead the key was to convince him that his computer designs would be owned by the Apple partnership. “Woz had a parental attitude toward the

circuits he developed, and he wanted to be able to use them in other applications or let HP use them,” Wayne said. “Jobs and I realized that these circuits would be the core of Apple. We spent two hours in a roundtable discussion at my apartment, and I

was able to get Woz to accept this.” His argument was that a great engineer would be remembered only if he teamed with a great marketer, and this required him to

commit his designs to the partnership. Jobs was so impressed and grateful that he offered Wayne a 10% stake in the new partnership, turning him into a tie-breaker if Jobs and Wozniak disagreed over an issue.

“They were very different, but they made a powerful team,” said Wayne. Jobs at times seemed to be driven by demons, while Woz seemed a na?f who was toyed with by angels. Jobs had a bravado that helped him get things done, occasionally by

manipulating people. He could be charismatic, even mesmerizing, but also cold and brutal. Wozniak, in contrast, was shy and socially awkward, which made him seem childishly sweet. “Woz is very bright in some areas, but he’s almost like a savant,

since he was so stunted when it came to dealing with people he didn’t know,” said Jobs. “We were a good pair.” It helped that Jobs was awed by Wozniak’s engineering wizardry, and Wozniak was awed by Jobs’s business drive. “I never

wanted to deal with people and step on toes, but Steve could call up people he didn’t know and make them do things,” Wozniak recalled. “He could be rough on people he didn’t think were smart, but he never treated me rudely, even in later years

when maybe I

couldn’t answer

a question as

well as he wanted.”

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One course that Jobs took would become part of Silicon Valley lore: the electronics class taught by John McCollum, a former Navy pilot who had a showman’s flair for exciting his students with such tricks as firing up a Tesla coil. His little stockroom, to which he would lend the key to pet students, was crammed with transistors and other components he had scored.

McCollum’s classroom was in a shed-like building on the edge of the campus, next to the parking lot. “This is where it was,” Jobs recalled as he peered in the window, “and here, next door, is where the auto shop class used to be.” The juxtaposition

highlighted the shift from the interests of his father’s generation. “Mr. McCollum felt that electronics class was the new auto shop.”

McCollum believed in military discipline and respect for authority. Jobs didn’t. His aversion to authority was something he no longer tried to hide, and he affected an attitude that combined wiry and weird intensity with aloof rebelliousness. McCollum later said, “He was usually off in a corner doing something on his own and really

didn’t want to have much of anything to do with either me or the rest of the class.” He never trusted Jobs with a key to the stockroom. One day Jobs needed a part that was not available, so he made a collect call to the manufacturer, Burroughs in

Detroit, and said he was designing a new product and wanted to test out the part. It arrived by air freight a few days later. When McCollum asked how he had gotten it, Jobs described—with defiant pride—the collect call and the tale he had told. “I was furious,” McCollum said. “That was not the way I wanted my students to behave.”

Jobs’s response was, “I don’t have the money for the phone call. They’ve got plenty of money.”

Jobs took McCollum’s class for only one year, rather than the three that it was offered. For one of his projects, he made a device with a photocell that would switch on a circuit when

exposed to light, something any high school science student could have done. He was far more interested in playing with lasers, something he learned from his father. With a few friends,

he created light shows

for parties by bouncing lasers off mirrors that

were attached to the

speakers of his stereo system

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Jobs began to accompany Wozniak to Homebrew meetings, carrying the TV monitor and helping to set things up. The meetings now attracted more than one hundred enthusiasts and had been moved to the auditorium of the Stanford Linear

 

Accelerator Center. Presiding with a pointer and a free-form manner was Lee Felsenstein, another embodiment of the merger between the world of computing and the counterculture. He was an engineering school dropout, a participant in the Free

Speech Movement, and an antiwar activist. He had written for the alternative newspaper Berkeley Barb and then gone back to being a computer engineer.

Woz was usually too shy to talk in the meetings, but people would gather around his machine afterward, and he would proudly show off his progress. Moore had tried to instill in the Homebrew an ethos of swapping and sharing rather than commerce.

“The theme of the club,” Woz said, “was ‘Give to help others.’” It was an expression of the hacker ethic that information should be free and all authority mistrusted. “I designed the Apple I because I wanted to give it away for free to other people,” said Wozniak.

This was not an outlook that Bill Gates embraced. After he and Paul Allen had completed their BASIC interpreter for the Altair, Gates was appalled that members of the Homebrew were making copies of it and sharing it without paying him. So he

wrote what would become a famous letter to the club: “As the majority of hobbyists must be aware, most of you steal your software. Is this fair? . . . One thing you do is prevent good software from being written. Who can afford to do professional

Steve Jobs, similarly, did not embrace the notion that Wozniak’s creations, be it a Blue Box or a computer, wanted to be free. So he convinced Wozniak to stop giving away copies of his schematics. Most people didn’t have time to build it themselves

anyway, Jobs argued. “Why don’t we build and sell printed circuit boards to them?” It was an example of their symbiosis. “Every time I’d design something great, Steve

would find a way to make money for us,” said Wozniak. Wozniak admitted that he would have never thought of doing that on his own. “It never crossed my mind to sell computers. It was Steve who said, ‘Let’s hold them in the air and sell a few.’”

 

work for nothing? . . .

I would appreciate

letters from anyone

who wants to pay up.”

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Jobs worked out a plan to pay a guy he knew at Atari to draw the circuit boards and then print up fifty or so. That would cost about $1,000, plus the fee to the designer. They could sell them for $40 apiece and perhaps clear a profit of $700. Wozniak

 

was dubious that they could sell them all. “I didn’t see how we would make our money back,” he recalled. He was already in trouble with his landlord for bouncing checks and now had to pay each month in cash.

Jobs knew how to appeal to Wozniak. He didn’t argue that they were sure to make money, but instead that they would have a fun adventure. “Even if we lose our money, we’ll have a company,” said Jobs as they were driving in his Volkswagen bus. “For

once in our lives, we’ll have a company.” This was enticing to Wozniak, even more than any prospect of getting rich. He recalled, “I was excited to think about us like

that. To be two best friends starting a company. Wow. I knew right then that I’d do it. How could I not?”

In order to raise the money they needed, Wozniak sold his HP 65 calculator for $500, though the buyer ended up stiffing him for half of that. For his part, Jobs sold

his Volkswagen bus for $1,500. But the person who bought it came to find him two weeks later and said the engine had broken down, and Jobs agreed to pay for half of the repairs. Despite these little setbacks, they now had, with their own small

savings thrown in, about $1,300 in working capital, the design for a product, and a plan. They would start their own computer company.

Apple Is Born

Now that they had decided to start a business, they needed a name. Jobs had gone for another visit to the All One Farm, where he had been pruning the Gravenstein apple trees, and Wozniak picked him up at the airport. On the ride down to Los

Altos, they bandied around options. They considered some typical tech words, such as Matrix, and some neologisms, such as Executek, and some straightforward

boring names, like Personal Computers Inc. The deadline for deciding was the next day, when Jobs wanted to start filing the papers. Finally Jobs proposed Apple

Computer. “I was on one of my fruitarian diets,” he explained. “I had just come back from the apple farm. It sounded fun, spirited, and not intimidating. Apple took the edge off the word ‘computer.’ Plus, it would get us ahead of Atari in the phone book.” He told Wozniak that if a better name

did not hit them by

the next afternoon,

they would just stick with

Apple. And they did.

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