Net Worth: $10.2 billion
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Inc., was one of those public figures that people either couldn’t stand, or worshipped as one-of-a-kind. Considered to be one of the key innovators of the 21st Century, he was actually a great salesman and marketing expert, creating a legend out of himself and his most known product – the iPhone.
Steven Paul Jobs, as was his full name, was the son of Abdulfattah Jandali, a son of a self-made millionaire from Syria, and Joanne Carole Shieble. The couple met at the University of Wisconsin, where Jandali worked as a teaching assistant for a course that Joanne was taking. Joanne’s parents objected greatly to their relationship because of the fact that Jandali was Muslim. Once Joanne became pregnant, she decided to give the baby up for adoption, as they both felt, at twenty-three years old, they were too young to marry, and abortions were illegal at that time. Joanne travelled to San Francisco to give birth and arrange a closed adoption.
Jobs adoptive parents were Paul Reinhold Jobs, who had a bad boy image when he was young due to his numerous tattoos and a lack of official education, and Clara Hagopian. They began exploring adoption after Clara’s ectopic pregnancy. Although Joanne initially objected on giving her baby to them, she agreed when they promised to take the boy to college. Later in life, Jobs would hate hearing them being called his adoptive parents, as he felt they were his ‘’1000 %’’.
In 1975, Paul and Clara adopted a girl named Patricia, who would become his sister. Four years later, they all moved to California.
As a young boy, Jobs loved spending time with his father, building things in their garage and learning about electronics, but he wasn’t that keen on making any friends his age. He was a bit troublesome in school as he resisted authority figures. The only teacher that inspired him was his fourth-grade teacher, Imogene Hill. Thanks to her, he managed to skip the fifth grade and transfer to sixth in a different school which he ended up hating as he was being bullied there.
Eventually, the family moved homes and settled in what is now a historic site, and Jobs made a first friend after a while, Bill Fernandez, who was also into electronics, and introduced him to another boy with the same interests: Steve Wozniak.
When Jobs was thirteen, he got his first job working for Hewlett Pack, assembling frequency counters, which he got by calling Bill Hewlett to ask him for some parts for an electronics project.
Well into his teenage years, Jobs discovered his creative side. He started reading Shakespeare, listening to a lot of music and tried marijuana.
When Wozniak began his studies at the University of California, Jobs enrolled in a nearby Stanford University’s student union. He was described as being both ‘a kind of a brain and a kind of a hippie’, who didn’t quite fit into any of these groups. Jobs then went on to study ad Reed College in Portland in Oregon, dating Chrisann Brennan at the time, who decided on not continuing her studies. Jobs also dropped-out soon after as he didn’t want his parents to keep on struggling with paying for college. He did continue to go to several classes, like a course of calligraphy. Not long after, his relationship with Brennan came to an end.
Steve Wozniak designed his own Pong video game version in 1973, and Jobs was the one to take the game to Atari, Inc. Atari thought that Jobs was the one to build the game and so offered a job to him to become a technician. Jobs worked there, saving money to go on a trip to India in search of a spiritual enlightenment, which he managed to do a year later. He stayed in India for seven months, with his friend Daniel Kottke. This experience changed his style completely and led him to experiment with psychedelics.
When he came back, he moved back in with his parents, started practicing Zen Buddhism and went back to his work at Atari. At Atari, he was given an opportunity to create a circuit board for an arcade video game called Breakout. Jobs asked Wozniak to help him out, with a promise of splitting the fee if he could minimize the number of TTL chips, which he did. Atari paid Jobs $5,000, but had given only $350 to Wozniak, saying they were paid only $700 altogether. Wozniak discovered the lie ten years later.
Wozniak also designed a log-cost digital blue box which allowed free long-distance calls and Jobs made sure they sold them, the success of which gave Jobs the confidence to proceed with more profitable ideas.
In 1976 Wozniak invented the Apple I computer. Jobs decided they needed to sell it. Along with Ronald Wayne, who stuck with them only for a little while they formed the Apple Computer in Job’s garage. ‘Steve took me over to the garage…’, explained Larry Waterland, Job’s neighbor at the time, ‘He had a circuit board with a chip on it, a DuMont TV set, a Panasonic cassette tape deck and a keyboard. He said: this is an Apple computer. I dismissed the whole idea.’
Apple Computer received funding from a Intel product marketing manager and engineer Mike Markkula. A year later, Jobs and Wozniak introduced the Apple II computer, the first consumer product of the company at the West Coast Computer Faire.
Soon, Jobs became a millionaire, at the young age of 23. The next computer he marketed was called The Lisa, named the same as his daughter born at that time. He became the youngest person to ever make the list of Forbes’ ‘Nation’s Richest People’.
In 1984, Apple introduced the Macintosh computer at its annual shareholders meeting on January 24. In 1985, Apple created a television commercial called 1984. Bill Gates’ company Microsoft was the one that developed Mac applications, while working on an operating system on its own called Windows. The trouble with Macintosh was the fact that it was too expensive at the time. Also, Jobs and the company’s CEO at the time, Sculley, faced differences in leading the business, which resulted in many people leaving the company, Wozniak included. The two began a war over who would end up leading the company. In the end, Jobs decided to resign.
Upon leaving Apple, Jobs founded NeXT Inc. and created the NeXT computer, releasing it in 1988, on a gala launch event. Although highly progressive, the computer was again considered to be overpriced, although its target audience was the financial, scientific and academic community. Interestingly, the World Wide Web was invented on a NeXT computer.
In 1990, NeXTcube was presented as the first interpersonal computer, the first to use e-mail. However, the company’s lack of desired success led it to focus on creating software only and creating NeXTSTEP/Intel. In 1997, NeXT was acquired by Apple Inc.
Going back in time to 1986, it is interesting to mention that Jobs founded the spinout of The Graphics Group, a company that would later become Pixar. The first film produced by Pixar and Disney, the Toy Story in 1995, has Jobs credited as its executive producer. Jobs also became The Walt Disney Company’s largest single shareholder, with seven percent of its stock.
In 1997, Jobs was back at Apple, named interim chief executive, and began cleaning up what he thought was the mess in the company. He soon created iMac, then iPod, iTunes digital music software and the iTunes Store, moving into consumer electronics and music distribution. Jobs joked about his title, calling himself iCEO.
On June 29, 2007, Apple introduced the iPhone.
In 2011, Jobs got a medical leave of absence due to his health issues and a long battle with cancer. On August the same year, he announced his resignation as the CEO, naming Tim Cook as his successor, and remaining the chairman of the board until his death.
Steve Jobs was the kind of celebrity, and person, you either loved or hated. High self-confidence was one of his stronger personality traits and there is no doubt about it that his greatest talent was the art of salesmanship. He was great at giving speeches, known as Stevenotes, during Macworld Expos and Apple Worldwide Developers Conferences. He was, and still is, worshipped by Apple users who believe that he was one of a kind innovator. ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower‘, he said.
In order to gain respect, he decided to create a uniform for himself, something that will make him seem both serious and approachable, but above all recognizable. It ended up being an Issey Myake black turtleneck, Levi’s 501 jeans and New Balance 991 sneakers.
‘It’s not about charisma and personality.’, he also said. ‘It’s about results and products and those very bedrock things that are why people at Apple and outside of Apple are getting more excited about the company and what Apple stands for and what its potential is to contribute to the industry.’
When it comes to controversies concerning his personal image, he led a quiet and secluded private life. His reputation was somewhat shaken when Jobs was accused of not reporting of over $ 20,000,000 taxable income, but numerous investigations didn’t go further than that. Also, in 2005, after much criticism over Apple’s recycling programs, Jobs made it possible for old iPods to be taken back to retails stores and then expanding it to programs concerning Mac buyers.
In 2013, after his death, Brennan published an autobiography focused on her relationship with Jobs, titled The Bite in the Apple. Also, two films about him have been shot: Jobs (2014) with Ashton Kutcher and Steve Jobs (2015) with Michael Fassbender.
Steve Jobs was in a difficult, on-and-off relationship with Chrisann Brennan, a painter, since 1972. They stayed in touch even when they were seeing other people. They both traveled to India and became followers of the Zen Buddhism. As Jobs’ career progressed, his relationship with Brennan got worse.
Brennan was given a position in Apple’s shipping department. In 1977, she became pregnant with Job’s first child, who was not supportive of this fact. She didn’t want to have an abortion nor give it away for adoption. At the same time, she was offered a paid internship at Apple that could further her career greatly, but she decided to refuse it due to the circumstances. The lack of support around her got her to welfare and cleaning houses in order to get by as Jobs refused to give her any money. He would spread rumours about her being promiscuous and thus the baby not being his. When he was 23, Brennan gave birth to their baby, Lisa Brennan and Jobs underwent a paternity test which confirmed him as the father. He was obliged to give $385 a month and return the money she received from welfare. Jobs was a millionaire at the time. Years later he apologized for his behavior, got close to Lisa and had her surname changed to Brennan-Jobs.
Jobs also searched quietly for his birth parents and discovered he had a biological sister, Mona Simpson. After his adoptive mother died, he developed a close relationship with both Joanne and Mona and would even spend Christmas with them. He was told that only six months after he was given up for adoption, her father died, making her able to wed Jandali, with whom she had another child. She regretted giving him up. Their marriage ended in divorce when he returned to Syria to work. Jobs and Mona have also found Jandali and discovered that he used to own a restaurant where Jobs was a frequent guest. Mona developed a relationship with Jandali, but Jobs decided not to meet him.
In 1989, Jobs met Laurene Powell at a lecture he was giving at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She became his wife and they stayed together until his death. They had three children: Reed, Erin and Eve.
In 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas. Although it was a rare, less aggressive type, the disease progressed. Jobs denied a medical intervention at first and relied on a pseudo-medicine diet at first, which might have delayed the chances for his recovery. In 2004, he agreed on a surgery that seemed successful at first. However, in 2009, he had to undergo a liver transplant.
On October 5, 2011, Jobs died in his home in Palo Alto in California, surrounded by his family, due to the complications from a pancreatic cancer relapse. He is buried in an unmarked grave at Alta Mesa Memorial Park in Palo Alto.
- The Bite in the Apple (2013), a memoir by Chrisann Brennan
Written by: Tamara Djordjevic