Long before Apple was the most valuable company in history, it was a startup led by a “reckless upstart” named Steve Jobs.
Today, Jobs is a legend.
But as journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli show in their new biography “Becoming Steve Jobs,” the founder started out as a hyper-energetic, big-dreaming 20-something.
Early in the book, it’s clear that Jobs became immortal because he had something in the late ’70s that nobody else had: the conviction that a computer didn’t have to be shared between four or five people in a lab — it could be used by just one person.
“Our whole company is founded on the principle that there is something very different that happens with one person, one computer. What we’re trying to do is remove the barrier of having to learn to use a computer.”
– Steve Jobs
That was the brilliance of Apple’s — and Jobs’ — positioning.
While Apple’s competitors like IBM were building room-sized computers for corporations, governments, and universities, Apple was making it person-sized.
In an interview with the New Yorker that year, the 22-year-old Jobs said that Apple had “domesticated” the computer and turned it into an appliance, like a dishwasher or microwave.
It worked. When the Apple II rolled out in April 1977, it launched the personal computing revolution, selling more than 2 million units by 1984.
Jobs’ mission to “remove the barrier of having to learn” technology would animate Apple’s great triumphs of the 21st century: the ease of the iPhone, the rapid downloads of iTunes, the baby-ready accessibility of the iPad.
That’s how Steve Jobs became Steve Jobs.