The Men Who Changed It All

Updated: 6 days ago

Once In a while, some people take birth, who change the world forever, put a ding into the

universe.

So,

“Here’s to the crazy ones. The Misfits. The Rebels. The Troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules and have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing that you cannot do is, ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones, Who Do.”


Probably one of those people, without whom, modern world would never have existed. We would be still be at least 10 to 15 years back, in terms of technical and digital progress.

It was February 1954. A young unwed graduate put up a baby for adoption in San Francisco, California. A lawyer and his wife, who were unable to get a baby, after several attempts, decided to adopt one. The former one refused to sign the final adoption papers when she found out that, neither the lawyer or his wife went to college. She signed it later. The couple wanted a girl, but when the baby popped out, the doctor said, "we have an unexpected baby boy. Do you want him?" They said, "of course". This was the start of his life.


18 years later, this boy went to college. Not a very famous one, like Harvard or Stanford. He went to Reed's College. But he never liked the course he chose. He had the guts to drop out. He started taking the classes that interested him. Calligraphy. Slept on the floors of friend's dorm rooms, returned coke bottles for 5 cents a day to buy food with, walked 5 miles to a local temple for one good meal a week. But, he never ran away.


Few years later, he landed a job at a game developing firm. Called Atari. At that time, there were boring black and white video games, the kind you would play, when you get bored. He wanted to build something new. Put in colours, something that you would play because you love it. The manager took a shot at him.

He went to a friend, who later became the backbone of his company, to optimise the circuit board. Now, as questioned by many, what is the contribution of the first guy? The contribution is, he had the idea. The one who built it, didn't have the idea. An idea. That is at the very base of everything. The first fully coloured video game which is also interactive and fun to play. Then, he left the company. His boss was very happy with him though.


Now, he and the guy who designed and programmed circuit ports, came together and planned a company. At that time, personal computers were only a concept, a vague one. Also, design implementations on a personal computer were not even a vague concept. So, after handing Steve Wozniak, the guy who designed the game circuit board, his promised $350, this fella settled down on Woz’s couch.


Suddenly his eyes fell on another circuit board, which was connected to a keyboard and a monitor, where you can see your work in real time. You can see when you work. It was a massive breakthrough idea. The idea, which can give people the joy of working independently on their computers. The basic design idea was simple. A circuit board, which would function as the main CPU, which can be connected to a keyboard, a mouse and a monitor or any form of visual output. It was the first time the idea of an operating system emerged.


This idea finally led him to what he always wanted to do: “Put a ding into the universe!”

This is none other than the legendary Steve Jobs. The father of digital revolution. The man who changed the world of personal computers, the way we listen to music and finally the concept of smartphones, Forever!

The Apple I: The Apple I was nothing but a logic board, hand developed by Jobs and Wozniak, in Jobs’ dad’s garage. They needed money to build that. Woz sold his programmable calculator, the HP G5 and Jobs sold his minivan, the Volkswagen Microbus. The Apple I went out to sell for $666.66 retail and $500 wholesale. It was discontinued after the invention of it’s successor, the Apple II.


Apple II: The Apple II was the world’s first successful mass produced personal computer. Designed primarily by Steve Wozniak, it’s production was overseen by Steve Jobs. Apple, for the first time, developed foam moulded plastic case and Red Holt developed the switching power supply. It was Jobs and Woz’s first shot in the dark. With Apple II , they tried to bring personal computers out from industries and business houses to households. The Apple II had a colour display, which was relatively inexpensive and easy to implement.


With this, Jobs was convinced that, the future of personal computers was Graphical User Interface (GUI), and the development of a GUI started for Apple LISA. Jobs, however, was pushed out from the LISA team due to infighting (they saw the crazy in him, but overlooked the genius). Jobs took over Woz and Raskin’s low cost computer project, the Macintosh.

LISA, in 1983, became the first personal computer offered for public sale having a GUI. It was a failure due to it’s high price and limited software titles.


On December 12, 1980, Apple went public and created history for becoming the second company after Ford motors to raise $100m in capital through IPO. Nearly 300 millionaires were created that day.


1984: Apple released their finest creation, the Macintosh. At that time, Jobs hired the CEO of PepsiCo, John Skulley. While interviewing him, Jobs said “Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or come with me and change the world?”


And here he was, at Apple. First few years went smoothly. Then it was quite prominent that both of them had different visions for Apple. They had a fallout. The board of directors sided with Skulley. Jobs got fired. He became a public failure.

Jobs was jobless. A 30 years old man, who got fired from a company he had built himself. Over the next few months, he had nothing to do, He was a public failure. He even thought of running away from the valley. But that’s the only thing that entrepreneurs don’t do. They don’t give up. EVER!


So, Jobs went to create another company called NeXT and world’s first computer animation studio, Pixar. Pixar went on to create the first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, which went on to win an oscar.


After firing Jobs, Apple was like a sinking ship. It was changing CEOs every other week. Each and every contemporary business leader failed to keep Apple afloat. At last, Gil Amelid, the then CEO of Apple, decided to bring Jobs back.

Apple Bought NeXT. Jobs was back at Apple.

The technology built at NeXT, served as the core of Apple’s renaissances. Jobs became the interim CEO or the iCEO.


He made immediate changes in the production, operations, designing and marketing teams. Johny Ive was the VP of industrial design at Apple. Jobs and Ive went on to create the game changer in the personal computers industry, the iMac G3. Probably the most successful product in the history of personal computers. It marked the beginning of a super massive tech giant, the first trillion dollar company of the world, the Apple Inc.





"Between Woz and Jobs, Woz was the innovator, the inventor. Steve Jobs was the marketing person." —Apple employee #12 Daniel Kottke


After Apple became the Goliath of a company that we see now, the one man that gets much lesser than due credit would obviously be Steve Jobs, the amount of work that he put in obviously earns him a double metion.....just joking, I believe it will always be the big nerd who worked day and night in the labs to make the dream true, one of the legends of the world of personal computers, the wizard Mr. Woz, full name: Steve Wozniak.

To understand the genius of this man, we will have to look a bit at his early life and his introduction to the other guy in the duo.

The man was what Internet would fondly call a madlad. He was enrolled in the University of Colorado Boulder(1969) but would be kicked out before completing a single year. The reason you ask, well it was because he hacked the University computers and sent prank messages( would later earn an honorary degree from this college in 1989. He would change colleges twice after this ending up finally in UC Berkeley in 1971. This is where he meets the other Steve through a mutual friend. The line of introduction? It goes like this, A friend said, "you should meet Steve Jobs because he likes electronics, and he also plays pranks." So he introduced us.


Their first venture would be selling Blue boxes, in a pre apple era. The blue boxes were used for no cost long distance communication, Woz read somewhere about them, made and sold about 200 units at $150 each.

In 1973 Jobs was working at Atari, yes the big game company, where it was declared that if the no. of chips in the circuit board can be reduced for the arcade game breakout $100 would be paid for knocking out each single chip. Jobs informed Woz and asked to give him 50% if he could shed some chips, Woz would knock 50 chips off that board, making the game dependent on RAM, which was extremely complicated to be comprehended. Jobs would go on to win $5000 and lie to Woz that he won only $700 and share $350 which would later hurt Woz when he eventually comes to know of it, but he went on to say that he would have given that to Jobs if Jobs needed it.


There was also another computer that Wozniak made much before the Apple era which would give him the experience needed to build the first apple but we will ignore that to keep the story short, except for a short flex, that computer had no processor per say, it completely ran on 20 ttl chips, which is an absolute flex because ttl chips can be used to do nothing more than very basic calculative tasks and logics, running anything close to a computer is absolute genius of an ability.

In 1976 Wozniak would complete the basic idea of Apple I, a project he has been trying to bring up to HP where he previously worked( take that corporate, never refuse geniuses ). As the board design and the OS design were both ready with Wozniak, Jobs would one day approach Wozniak with the idea of opening up a company and then selling these computers that Wozniak has planned in the form of printed circuit boards. Wozniak was skeptical about the chances of such a plan failing but Jobs being Jobs would convince him saying that they would atleast have a story to tell their grandkids.

So in April 1 1976, Apple Computer Company takes shape with Ronald Wayne as supervisor( he's going to leave very soon ). Interestingly to put down the cost of manufacturing of the first batch of Apple I, Jobs would sell his Volkswagen Van and Woz his HP scientific calculator. After the creation of the Apple I, the duo presented the computer at the Homebrew Computer Club that would peak the interest of Paul Terrell, who was starting a new computer shop at Mountain view, California. He would offer the duo a deal, he offered to buy 50 of the Apple-I at $500 each on delivery, but he wanted them fully assembled not as bare circuit boards as Woz and Jobs were planning. The computers were built in Jobs' home and his garage as his home became filled up, these computers were sold at $666.66 which would intrigue Woz as he said he loved the repeating nature of the digits. This deal was the first batch of computers sold under the apple name, the beginning to the billion dollar giant today, a meagre, what one can consider quite DIY start.

This year only Apple will receive a funding from the then-semi-retired Intel product marketing manager and engineer, one of the pther big change in Wozniak's life would be leaving HP to finally become the Vice President in charge of R&D at Apple. At this time Apple I was similar to Altair 8800, the first commercially available microcomputer, though Altair had the option of adding an expansion card that made it programmable while Apple I was much more basic and a hobbyist's computer and lacked a display, power source, keyboard etc., so it was just the computing unit in itself( well Apple seems to have kept that habbit even to this day ). In total about 200 units will be sold of this computer.


Riding the waves of the Apple I success, Woz would now make a second computer, one that would make Apple what it is today, the first computer for the common masses( though there were Altair computer's there, they were for the people with expertise ) and would famously name it Apple II( though I will argue not much effort was put into the naming, just like the first ). It would be very popular among the masses, with it's abilities in both entertainment and work, many of the kids from that era would love the Apple II as the first gaming machine( non arcade).

The Apple II will become the flagship computer of the giant that's building it's reputation now until the Mac age that would usher in late 1980's. Ther is a story that Wozniak wanted to have 8 expansion slots while Jobs wanted 2, Woz famously asked Jobs to "go get himself another computer" and we had 8 slots in Apple II.

Though there was another computer, Apple III( the duo seriously doesn't care about naming ), which failed and Woz attributed the failure to the hardware which he said was 100% faulty because the marketing team made it, not the engineers( someone didn't take any notes eh, an iPhone a year ).

Woz would also be a heavy influence on the design and planning of the first mac, the Macintosh 128k, the first Apple with complete GUI and a mouse.

Wozniak would suffer a plane crash in 1981 because he was the one flying the plane without the knowledge to do so and would suffer from anterograde amnesia, he would move himself away from Apple business with the Doctors saying that he had gone back to when he was 18 years old though his body was of a 30 year old. He would leave the Apple workforce to join UC Berkeley, which he would leave again to return to Apple product development.

This time he would be adding the Apple Desktop Bus which would be the characteristic basis of the NeXT and Mac models for connecting peripherals.

In the meantime we would also see an extremely frustrated Woz because Apple started to ignore the Apple II group though it was their flagship device, he would finally give up in 1986 and later on say that the next group of people that led the company the Lisa group to be the ones who made a computer that was bad and overpriced and Jobs next computer that replaced Lisa as a lousy one, attributing the success of the Mac lineup to John Sculley and said that the original lineup was a failure under the guidance of Jobs.

Though he left Apple as an active employee in 1985, he was never removed from the employee list and would represent Apple and it's engineers on several conventions and events.


This was the story of the legends, the great and the one who was the man behind the curtain in the establishment of the massive Giant that is Apple.


The Greats Behind The Greats.

A PicturePenner Original Series.

Concepted by the Matters That Matter team, PicturePenner.

Series Developed by Krantik Das & Tunir Ghosh.


A ©PicturePenner MTM Exclusive



111 views1 comment

To advertise with us and other updates

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter