Steve Jobs died in 2011 at the age of 56 after a lifetime of innovating technology and revolutionizing the way we live our day-to-day lives. Rememberum presents a tribute of his
Click on the icons below to learn more about the man who created Apple and helped change our world.
During his freshman year at Homestead High, Jobs built a frequency counter that relied on parts from Hewlett-Packard. To get these parts, Jobs called HP CEO Bill Hewlett at his home. Hewlett gave him the parts needed, as well as the bonus of a summer job with the company on an assembly line for frequency counters.
On February 24, 1955, Steve Jobs was born in San Francisco to Joanne Carole Schieble and her boyfriend Abdulfattah "John" Jandali. Joanne’s parents disapproved of her relationship with Jandali, so Steve was given up for adoption.
Joanne and Jandali married within the same year of Jobs’ birth. They had another child, Mona, and then divorced in 1962. Jobs sought his birth mother in his late twenties, and then met his sister for the first time when he was thirty. He and Mona, an author, went on to have a strong and close relationship.
Jobs’ birth mother insisted that the adoptive parents had to be college graduates, but the couple who were the most motivated to adopt him, Paul and Clara Jobs, weren’t.
Despite his adoptive parents not having degrees, they reassured Jobs’ biological parents that their son would be supported to pursue post-secondary education.
Paul Jobs was a high school graduate employed as a mechanic/carpenter, and throughout Steve’s childhood he taught him basic electronics and how to take apart and re-wire items. From Paul, Steve acquired an appreciation of quality-made products.
Clara Jobs worked as an accountant at one of the first tech firms in what was later known as Silicon Valley. Before he began primary school, Clara taught him to read. A few years after his adoption, Paula and Clara Jobs adopted a second daughter, Patty.
Jobs’ high intellect was already apparent in Elementary School. At Monta Loma, Jobs was a prankster, and often bored with class. Despite having to bribe him to do work, the school’s administration wanted him to skip two grades and put him in high school. His parents refused and instead he skipped only one level.
When he moved on to high school, Jobs’ friend Bill Fernandez introduced him to a computer whiz named Steve Wozniack, or “Woz.” Jobs later founded Apple with Woz, a man who he called “the first person I met who knew more about electronics than I did.”
Woz built a computer board with his friend Bill Fernandez, and nicknamed the creation “The Cream Soda Computer,” for all the Cream Soda bottles they drank and then returned for money. Jobs was impressed when he saw their work – and eager to see more.
After six months of attending Reed College (a university his middle-class parents could barely afford), Jobs lost interest in his classes and dropped out. He began cashing in Coca-Cola bottles for a small source of money while sleeping on the floor his friends’ dorm rooms.
Despite having dropped out of his program officially, Jobs would often sit in on calligraphy classes. Though he didn’t participate in tests or examinations, he dedicated himself to learn as much about it as he could about it. He later attributed the selection in Apple fonts and typography to those classes.
Every week at Reed College, Jobs would walk barefoot across town to the Hare Krishna temple to get one free, healthy meal a week.
In early 1974 (at the age of 19), Jobs walked into Atari Inc. bearded, unkempt and wearing sandals. He demanded they give him a job. They did.
Not long after gaining employment at Atari, Steve and a friend, Daniel Kottke, set off to India for more than half of the year seeking enlightenment and knowledge.
Dabbling in LSD led Jobs to feel he had opened his mind and become fully aware of his surroundings and the world. Jobs claimed that LSD was “one of the most important things in my life.”
After returning to the United States from India, Steve had shaved his head and sported traditional Indian clothing. Jobs’ seven-month trip to India transformed him into a dedicated Zen Buddhist. He felt that it taught him true intuition.
After returning to Atari post-India, Jobs was assigned to work on the circuit board for the game Breakout. Jobs tapped his friend Woz to assist him in the task of slimming down the technical side of Breakout while keeping it fully functional.
For every chip component removed, Atari promised Jobs $100.
Jobs, however, did not inform Woz of this deal. The pair were extremely successful, but Jobs only paid Woz $350. Woz was unaware for a decade that he’d been duped -- Jobs had kept $4650 himself. Despite that, the two remained friends for years.
In 1971, Woz created a “blue box” which mimicked the phone system of the time and enabled free long distance calls. Though Woz only did this for recreation, Jobs saw an opportunity to make money. They sold almost a hundred machines, which were most often used by pranksters to make crank calls internationally. Jobs later claimed, “If it hadn’t been for those Blue Boxes, there wouldn’t have been an Apple.”
Both Jobs and Woz attended Homebrew Computer Club meetings. It was an open forum between tech people to make computers more accessible. Many members of this group went on to become major players in Silicon Valley.
Inspired after the first Homebrew meeting, Woz began to sketch out designs for what would later be the Apple I.
In 1976, Wozniak showed Jobs his latest creation: a computer. Jobs felt this could be marketed to the public, so he and Woz established the Apple Computer Company. They called this new computer the Apple I.
The fledgling company needed funding in order to move on to the Apple II. Jobs and Woz were able to negotiate with Mike Markkula, an Intel product marketer and engineer. Markkula invested $250,000 in Apple, thinking they would be a Fortune 500 company within two years. It took seven.
Markkula recruited Mike Scott of National Semiconductor to serve as CEO for Apple in 1977, although a number of roller-coaster years followed his appointment. Jobs said he never yelled at anyone more than he yelled at Mike Scott.
In 1983, Steve Jobs convinced John Sculley (who at the time was president of the Pepsi-Cola division of PepsiCo) to take the position of CEO. Sculley was apprehensive about leaving Pepsi, but Jobs finally persuaded him by asking, “do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugar water, or do you want a chance to change the world?”
When Jobs toured Xerox’s research facility in 1974, they showed him designs for a bitmapped graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced “gooey”). A GUI allows users to interact with images on a desktop instead of text commands. Jobs believed this was the future of computing, so he immediately started Apple on making a better version of it. Quipped Jobs: “good artists copy, great artists steal.”
The first Apple to feature a GUI was the Apple Lisa. Named after Jobs’ first daughter, the new computer was expensive and targeted towards business users. After being booted from the Lisa development team, Jobs focused his attention on the next computer: the Macintosh. The Lisa was discontinued after two years.
Jobs personally directed the development of the Macintosh (Mac) and believed that it would become “the most incredible computer in the world.” A year following the debut of Apple Lisa, the first Macintosh computer was released to great fanfare. It was the first computer for the masses with a GUI and a mouse.
To promote the new Macintosh, Apple commissioned a commercial from director Ridley Scott. The ad, titled “1984” debuted during the Super Bowl in January 1984 with six million people watching. Two days later, Jobs introduced the Macintosh at the annual shareholders meeting. His charismatic and moving speech incorporated the Super Bowl commercial, which is considered the best of all time by Advertising Age.
By 1984, Jobs’ aggressive working habits were causing great tension among the employees, and his relationship with CEO Scully had deteriorated. To fix this, Jobs plotted to remove Sculley from power. Unfortunately for Jobs, Sculley became aware of this plan and instead took action himself.
On May 26, 1985, Sculley called a board meeting and asked whom the employees preferred: him or Jobs. They voted for Sculley. Within five months Jobs left Apple, and soon started his own company: NeXT Inc.
After being squeezed out of Apple, Jobs went to try and re-start his career. With $7 million and few co-workers from Apple to start a new company, Jobs founded NeXT. Unfortunately, the company began to run out of money within the year.
Just as Jobs was about run out of funds for his company, billionaire (and future Presidential candidate) Ross Perot gained an interest in NeXT after seeing an episode of Entrepreneurs. He invested $20 million, and NeXT was able to continue.
The first NeXT workstation was released in 1989 for $6,500. While designed for the educational sector, Jobs was forced to market the units to other industries, as the cost at the time was too high for the education industry. Bill Gates was “disappointed” in the product, and its sales were less than ideal.
The NeXTcube was unveiled in 1990. It developed the communication side of computers and NeXTmail allowed users to share images, videos, graphics and more in an email.
NeXT was not able to sell as many machines as hoped in part due to Jobs’ obsessive attention to detail; his choice of materials were expensive and difficult to manufacture. These burdens lead to them to officially switch to focusing strictly on software development with their release of NeXTSTEP. NextSTEP would also be used with IBM/Intel. In 1994, they reported over $1 million in profit (the first profit since its creation).
In 1996, NeXT released WebObjects, a tool used to create web applications. This framework was later used to create the iTunes Store among other Apple products.
In 1986 Jobs purchased The Graphics Group (which soon after was renamed to Pixar) for $10 million from Lucasfilms.
Soon after Steve Jobs’ involvement in Pixar, the Pixar Image Computer (originally created by the company for graphic design) was released commercially. But this was at no small cost -- it could be purchased by high-end image-makers for a base price of $135,000 plus programming, a lot of money both then and now.
Pixar released the first full-length computer animated picture in 1995. Toy Story, executive produced by Jobs, was a massive success both critically and commercially.
Pixar has released thirteen animated films, which have grossed over $7 billion worldwide. Pixar films have won six Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature since the award was established in 2001, been nominated for twice for Best Picture, and have won twenty-six Academy Awards in total.
Though Pixar films were distributed by Disney since its inception, the relationship between Jobs and Disney CEO Michael Eisner soured and the partnership ended.
Bob Iger succeeded Eisner as Disney CEO and agreed to have Disney buy Pixar in an all-stock transaction. The purchase of gave Jobs stocks in Disney worth $7.2 billion, the highest share of any Disney shareholder.
In 1996, Apple announced that they were purchasing the computer development/manufacturing company Steve Jobs had started, NeXT, for $427 million.
Soon after the purchase of NeXT, Jobs returned to the helm at Apple and made a number of massive changes. In a short time he cancelled the following projects: Newton (a PDA software installed into devices manufactured by Motorola); Cyberdog (an internet suite for Apple computers) and OpenDoc.
After taking over at Apple, Jobs also cracked down on “Macintosh clones” (computers that not manufactured by Apple but ran the Macintosh software). Within a year of his return to the company, he shut down all operations and bought out the largest clone creators for $100 million.
Using the operating system developed by NeXT as a base, the system that eventually became OS X was created. This operating system is still used in Apple computers today.
When Jobs returned to Apple as CEO, the company was struggling and near bankruptcy. To put the company back on good footing Jobs would have to reconcile with his former rival, Bill Gates. After a quick negotiation, Microsoft made a deal to invest in Apple. The pact revitalized the company and removed some tension between the two billionaires. “Some of the most exciting work I’ve done in my career has been the work I’ve done with Steve on the Macintosh,” said Gates.
The new OS X was first introduced with the release of the new iMac. The iMac was their first all-in-one-desktop computer and has evolved since 1998 to become a staple for many consumers. The platform helped to raised profits for Apple greatly after the company struggled in the 1990s.
In 2001, Apple released their first portable music player, the iPod. Initially marketed as being “1,000 songs in your pocket,” the iPod has since evolved into multiple formats with increased storage space, video, and touch screen technology over many generations.
Worried that a cell phone with music playback capability would galvanize sales of the iPod, Apple decided to simply make their own phone. The first iPhone was released in 2007, and 90 million iPhones were sold after three years. Featuring a multi-touch screen, phone capabilities and more apps than you can imagine, the iPhone created a new generation of “smartphone.”
Three years after the iPhone, Apple released the iPad. The tablet used the same multi-touch screen and operating system as the iPhone, but featured a bigger screen. A million were sold within a month, and it too had its own wildly successful App Store.
Within years of the first iPod’s release, the iTunes store was launched, allowing users to purchase and download music, movies, apps and e-books to their handheld Apple devices. It is the most popular music vendor in the world. Coupled with the iPod, iTunes completely revolutionized the music industry.
As a Zen Buddhist, Steve was interested in simplicity. This extended both to the design of each new product and to his personal life. He drove a car without license plates, took years to add furniture to his home, and he always wore the same clothes: dark Levi’s denim jeans and an Issey Miyake mock turtleneck (paired with New Balance 991 sneakers).
As a young man Jobs had a long-term relationship with a painter, Chrisann Brennan, with whom he fathered a child. For many years he denied his paternity to Lisa Brennan-Jobs, claiming sterility, but after a long court case (and a paternity test) he finally admitted he was her father. As a teen she lived with him, his wife Laurene, and their three kids.
While attending a lecture at Stanford Business school in 1989, Jobs took notice of a beautiful woman sitting next to him in the front row. It was Laurene Powell. They had dinner that night, and were married in Yosemite National Park two years later.
Six months after the wedding, Steve and Laurene had their first child, Reed Paul Jobs. Two daughters followed: Erin, born in 1995; Eve, born in 1998. The family lived a down-to-earth lifestyle in an unpretentious house in family-friendly Palo Alto. "Every other CEO has a security detail," said Jobs, "...that's not how we wanted to raise our kids."
Throughout his life, Jobs was seemingly able to convince people that the impossible was, in fact, possible. Early Apple employee Bud Tribble named this phenomenon “The Reality Distortion Field.” "In [Jobs'] presence, reality is malleable," he said. The Reality Distortion Field is given credit for Jobs' uncanny ability to get his team to make hard deadlines and create unimaginable products.
Steve struggled for years with his illness, but he did not allow it to diminish his work ethic. Even when bedridden, he spent hours working on his iPad and took an interest in redesigning the medical equipment around him to be more beautiful.
He would force himself to walk down the entire hallway of his hospital, teaching himself to walk more strongly. He died the way he had lived: with his family around him, love for everyone, and a constant goal of achieving beauty and efficiency in his life.
Sorry, a system error occurred.