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Steven Jobs
Early years

Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco, California to an American mother and a Syrian father - Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah John Jandali, a graduate student who later became a political science professor. One week after birth, Jobs was put up for adoption by his unmarried mother. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs of Mountain View, Santa Clara County, California. They gave him the name Steven Paul Jobs. His biological parents later married and gave birth to Jobs' sister, the novelist Mona Simpson, whom Jobs did not meet until they were adults. The marriage of his biological parents ended in divorce years later. Jobs dislikes hearing the "adoptive parents" appellation applied to Paul and Clara Jobs and refers to them as his only parents.

Jobs attended Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, and frequented after-school lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto, California. He was soon hired there and worked with Stephen Wozniak as a summer employee. In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but he dropped out after only one semester. When speaking at a Stanford University graduation ceremony in 2005, Jobs ironically said to the new college graduates that had he remained at Reed attending classes, including one in calligraphy. "If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts," he said. In the autumn of 1974, Jobs returned to California and began attending meetings of the Homebrew Computer Club with Steve Wozniak. He took a job as a technician at Atari, a manufacturer of popular video games, with the primary intent of saving money for a spiritual retreat to India. During this time, it was discovered that a slightly modified toy whistle included in every box of Cap'n Crunch breakfast cereal was able to reproduce the 2600 Hz supervision tone used by the AT&T long distance telephone system. Jobs and Wozniak went into business briefly in 1974 to build "blue boxes" that allowed free long distance calls.

Jobs then backpacked around India with a Reed College friend (and, later, first Apple employee), Daniel Kottke, in search of philosophical enlightenment. He came back with his head shaved and wearing traditional Indian clothing. He returned to his previous job at Atari, and was given the task of creating a circuit board for the game Breakout. According to Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell, Atari had offered $100 for each chip that was reduced in the machine. Jobs had little interest or knowledge in circuit board design, and made a deal with Wozniak to split the bonus evenly between them if Wozniak could minimize the number of chips. Much to the amazement of Atari, Wozniak reduced the number of chips by 50, a design so tight that it was impossible to reproduce on an assembly line. At the time, Jobs told Wozniak that Atari had only given them $500 (rather than $5000), and that Wozniak's share was thus $250.

Steven Jobs
Beginnings of Apple Computer

When the then twenty-one-year-old Jobs saw a computer that Wozniak had designed for his own use, he convinced Woz to assist him and started a company to market the computer. Apple Computer Co. was incorporated on April 1, 1976. Though their initial plan was to sell just printed circuit boards, Jobs and Wozniak ended up creating a batch of completely assembled computers, and entered the personal computer business. The first personal computer Jobs and Wozniak introduced was called the Apple I. It sold for $666.66, in reference to the phone number of Wozniak's Dial-a-joke, became a huge success and turned Apple into an important player in the nascent personal computer industry. In December, with a successful IPO, Apple Computer became a publicly traded corporation, further boosting Jobs's stature. Then in May of the next year, Apple Computer released the Apple III, but it met with less than stellar success.

As Apple continued to grow, the company began looking for an experienced executive to help manage its expansion. In 1983, Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola, to serve as Apple's CEO, challenging him, "Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want to change the world?" That same year, Apple also released the technologically advanced but commercially unsuccessful Lisa.

1984 saw the introduction of the Macintosh, the first commercially successful computer with a graphical user interface. The development of the Mac was by Jef Raskin, and the Xerox PARC, but had not yet been commercialized. The success of the Macintosh product line eventually led Apple to abandon the Apple II.

Departure from Apple, creation of NeXT

While Jobs was a persuasive and charismatic evangelist for Apple, some of his employees from that time have described him as an erratic and tempestuous manager. In 1985, following an internal power struggle, Jobs was stripped of his duties by the board of directors. Jobs resigned in protest, but remained the chairman of Apple Computer for some time. He was upset at being sidelined in the company he had founded and sold all but one of his shares in Apple.

After leaving Apple, Jobs founded another computer company, NeXT Computer. Like Apple's Lisa, the NeXT workstation was technologically advanced, but was never able to break into the mainstream mainly owing to its high cost. Among those who could afford it, however, the NeXT workstation garnered a strong following because of its technical strengths, chief among them its object-oriented software development system. Jobs marketed NeXT products to the scientific and academic fields because of the innovative, experimental new technologies it incorporated (such as the Mach kernel, the DSP chip, and the built-in Ethernet port).

The NeXT Cube was described by Jobs as an "interpersonal" computer, which he believed was the next step after "personal" computing. That is, if computers could allow people to communicate and collaborate together in an easy way, it would solve a lot of the problems that "personal" computing had come up against. Jobs had been criticized for not including built-in networking features on the original Macintosh (calling it an "umbilical cord to the company"), and he was determined not to repeat the mistake. During a time when e-mail for most people was plain text, Jobs loved to demo the NeXT's e-mail system, NeXTMail, as an example of his "interpersonal" philosophy. NeXTMail was one of the first to support universally visible, clickable embedded graphics and audio within e-mail.

Jobs ran NeXT with an obsession for aesthetic perfection, as evidenced such things as the NeXT Cube's magnesium case. This put considerable strain on NeXT's hardware division, and in 1993, after having sold only 50,000 machines, NeXT transitioned fully to software development in 1993 with the release of NeXTSTEP/Intel. During this time, NeXT and Sun Microsystems started working on the OpenStep specification, which would lead to the next release of NeXTSTEP called OPENSTEP, and later on also a Solaris port of the environment.

NeXT technology played a large role in catalyzing two unrelated events:

The World Wide Web. Tim Berners-Lee developed the original World Wide Web system at CERN on a NeXT workstation. Jobs' insistence that average people should be able to write custom "mission-critical" applications formed the basis of Interface Builder, which Berners-Lee utilized to do just that - write a program entitled "WorldWideWeb 1.0".

The Return of Apple Computer. Apple's reliance on ancient software and internal mismanagement, particularly its inability to release a major operating system upgrade, had brought it near bankruptcy in the early-to-mid 1990s. Jobs' progressive stance on Unix underpinnings was considered overly ambitious and somewhat backward in the 1980s, but his choice ultimately became an expandable, solid foundation for an operating system. Apple would later acquire this software and, under Jobs' leadership, experience a renaissance.

NeXT's technologies also helped the advancement of technologies such as object-oriented programming, Display PostScript, and magneto-optical devices.

Steven Jobs
Return to Apple

In 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $402 million, bringing Jobs back to the company he founded. In 1997 he became Apple's interim CEO after the directors lost confidence in and ousted then-CEO Gil Amelio in a boardroom coup. In March of 1998, in order to concentrate Apple's efforts on returning to profitability, Jobs immediately terminated a number of projects such as Newton, Cyberdog, and OpenDoc. In the coming months, many employees developed a fear of encountering Jobs while riding in the elevator, "afraid that they might not have a job when the doors opened. The reality was that Steve's summary executions were rare, but a handful of victims is enough to terrorize a whole company." This was nicknamed "to be Steved."

With the purchase of NeXT, much of the company's technology found its way into Apple products, notably NeXTSTEP, which evolved into Mac OS X. Under Jobs' guidance the company increased sales significantly with the introduction of the iMac. Since then, appealing designs and powerful branding have worked well for Apple. Being Apple's interim CEO, the introduction of the iMac led Jobs to use the title iCEO.

In recent years, the company has branched out. With the introduction of the iPod portable music player, iTunes digital music software and the iTunes Music Store, the company is making forays into consumer electronics and music distribution. While stimulating innovation, Jobs also reminds his employees that "real artists ship," by which he means that delivering working products on time is as important as innovation and killer design.

Jobs worked at Apple for several years with an annual salary of $1, and this earned him a listing in Guinness World Records as the "Lowest Paid Chief Executive Officer". At the 2000 keynote speech of Macworld Expo in San Francisco, the company dropped the "interim" from his title. His current salary at Apple officially remains $1 per year, although he has traditionally been the recipient of a number of lucrative "executive gifts" from the board, including a $90 million jet in 1999, and just under 30 million shares of restricted stock in 2000-2002. As such, Jobs is well compensated for his efforts at Apple despite the nominal one-dollar salary.

Jobs is both admired and criticized for his consummate skills of persuasion and salesmanship, which has been dubbed the "reality distortion field" and is particularly evident during his keynote speeches at Macworld Expos. The "RDF" is an encapsulating term, also referring to Apple's sometimes non-competitive market pricing, the overly expensive Power Mac G4 Cube being a case in point, or making decisions contrary to the desires of the marketplace, such as the elimination of Macintosh clones. One oft-cited example of a poor business decision is Apple's marketing efforts in the 1980s, which, while excellent from a technical standpoint, were alienating to corporate buyers. Corporate buyers consequently turned to IBM, resulting in a precipitous drop in market share.

In 2005, Jobs responded to criticism of Apple's poor recycling programs for e-waste in the U.S. by lashing out at environmental and other advocates at Apple's Annual Meeting in Cupertino in April. When asked by a representative of a socially responsible investment fund why Apple's programs lagged behind Dell's and HP's, Jobs wound up his critic by calling the advocates' complaints "bullshit". However, a few weeks later, Apple announced it would take back iPods for free at its retail stores. The Computer TakeBack Campaign responded by flying a banner from a plane over the Stanford University graduation at which Jobs was the keynote speaker. The banner read "Steve - Don't be a mini-player recycle all e-waste." In 2006 he further expanded Apple's recycling programs to any customer who buys a new Mac. This program includes shipping and "environmentally friendly disposal" of their old systems.

Steven Jobs
Pixar and Disney

In 1986, Steve Jobs bought Lucasfilm's computer graphics division from George Lucas for $10 million and named the new computer animation studio Pixar. The new company, which was originally based in Point Richmond, California but has since relocated to Emeryville, California, contracted with Disney to produce a number of computer-animated feature films, which Disney would co-finance and distribute.

The first film produced by the partnership, Toy Story, brought fame and critical acclaim to the studio when it was released in 1995. Over the next ten years, under Pixar's creative chief John Lasseter, the company would produce the box-office hits A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), and The Incredibles (2004). Both Finding Nemo and The Incredibles received the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, an award introduced in 2001.

In the years 2003 and 2004, as Pixar's contract with Disney was running out, Jobs and Disney chief executive Michael Eisner tried but failed to negotiate a new partnership, and in early 2004 Jobs announced that Pixar would seek a new partner to distribute its films once its contract with Disney expired. Personal animosity between the two executives was largely blamed for the companies' failure to renew their partnership.

In October 2005, Bob Iger replaced Eisner at Disney, and Iger quickly worked to patch up relations with Jobs and Pixar. On January 24, 2006, Jobs and Iger announced that Disney had agreed to purchase Pixar in an all-stock transaction worth $7.4 billion. Once the deal closed, Jobs became The Walt Disney Company's largest single shareholder with approximately 7 percent of the company's stock. Jobs' holding in Disney will far outpace those of Eisner, who holds 1.7 percent, and Disney Director Emeritus Roy E. Disney, who holds about 1% of the company's stock and whose criticisms of Eisner included the soured Pixar relationship and accelerated his ousting. A Disney press release stated that Jobs would join its Board of Directors upon completion of the deal.

Personal life

Jobs married Laurene Powell, nine years his junior, on March 18, 1991 and has had three children with her. He also had a daughter named Lisa Brennan-Jobs with Chris Brennan, whom he did not marry.

In The Second Coming of Steve Jobs author Alan Deutschman reports that Jobs once dated Joan Baez. Deutschman quotes Elizabeth Holmes, a friend of Jobs from his time at Reed College, as saying she "believed that Steve became the lover of Joan Baez in large measure because Baez had been the lover of (Bob) Dylan."

In iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey S. Young & William L. Simon, the authors suggest that Jobs might have married Baez, but her age at the time (41) meant it was unlikely the couple could have children. Baez included a mention of Jobs in the acknowledgements of her 1987 memoir And A Voice To Sing With.

Jobs is not a vegetarian or vegan as is often claimed. Although he does not eat mammalian meat, he reportedly eats fish from time to time.

In 1982, Jobs bought an apartment in The San Remo, an apartment building with a politically progressive reputation, where Princess Yasmin Aga Khan, daughter of Rita Hayworth, also had an apartment. With the help of I.M. Pei, Jobs spent years renovating his apartment in the top two floors of the building's north tower, only to sell it almost two decades later to U2 frontman Bono. Jobs had never moved in.

In 1984, Jobs purchased a 17,000 square foot, 14 bedroom Spanish Colonial mansion, designed by George Washington Smith in Woodside, California, also known as Jackling House. Although Jobs lived in the mansion for ten years, reportedly in an almost unfurnished state, and let Bill Clinton use it in 1998 while his daughter was studying nearby, the mansion was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Planning to demolish the house and build a smaller home on the property, he met complaints from local preservationists over his plans. In June 2004, the Woodside Town Council gave Jobs approval to demolish the mansion, on the condition that he advertise the property for a year to see if someone would move it to another location and restore it. A number of people expressed interest, including several with experience restoring old property, but no agreements to that effect were reached. Later that same year, a local preservationist group began seeking legal action to prevent demolition of the property. Litigation has been ongoing since September of 2005.

In 2005, Steve Jobs discontinued all books published by John Wiley & Sons from the Apple retail stores in response to their publishing an unauthorized biography, iCon: Steve Jobs by Jeffrey Young and William L. Simon.

In an interview in the book What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, Steve Jobs talks about how taking LSD was "one of the two or three most important things he has done in his life". Wishing to surround himself with people of a similar mindset, he would often ask interviewees how many times they have taken LSD.

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An average person with average talents and ambition and average education, can outstrip the most brilliant genius in our society, if that person has clear, focused goals.
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