On October 5, 2011, the world lost a legendary entrepreneur, Steve Jobs. We all know Steve Jobs as co-founder of Apple, but in this article I wanted to write a short biography about his life and remember a person who inspired and motivated us all to become more technologically-savvy and better entrepreneurs.
Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955 to Joanne Simpson and Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, two University of Wisconsin graduate students who gave their unnamed son up for adoption. Steve was adopted by Clara and Paul Jobs and grew up in Mountain View, a town within California’s Silicon Valley. Steve first became interested and involved in electronics when he and his father Paul worked on cars in their garage.
Steve was not your average student. He was so smart that at one point in school he tested so well that administrators wanted to skip him ahead two years to high school, which his parents declined, although they let him skip one grade. During high school, Steve spent most of his free time at Hewlett-Packard (aka HP), where he met and worked with Steve Wozniak. After high school, Jobs enrolled in Reed College in Portland, Oregon. Lacking a sense of direction, Jobs dropped out of college after 6 months and spent the next eighteen months auditing a variety of creative classes.
In 1976, at the age of 21, Jobs and Wozniak started Apple Computer out of the Jobs family garage; they funded their entrepreneurial venture after Jobs sold his VW bus and Wozniak sold his beloved scientific calculator. Jobs and Wozniak are credited with revolutionizing the computer industry by democratizing the technology and making the machines smaller, cheaper, more intuitive and more accessible to every day consumers.The two men conceived a series of user-friendly personal computers that they initially marketed for $666.66 each. Their first model, the Apple I, earned them $774,000. Three years after the release of their second model, the Apple II, sales increased 700 percent to $139 million dollars. In 1980, Apple Computer became a publically traded company with a market value of $1.2 billion on the first day of trading.
In 1984, Apple started to suffer significantly from design flaws, and IBM's sales suddenly surpassed Apple's sales. That same year, Apple released the Macintosh; despite positive sales, the Macintosh was not IBM-compatible. About this time, John Scully, Apple’s president, thought Steve Jobs was hurting Apple, and he began to plot against him.
In 1985, Jobs resigned as Apple’s Chairman to begin a new hardware and software company called NeXT, Inc. The following year, Jobs purchased an animation company from George Lucas, which later became Pixar Animation Studios, in which Steve invested $50 million of his own money. Pixar produced such films as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Pixar has since netted more than $4 Billion. The studio merged with Walt Disney Studios in 2006, making Steve Jobs Disney’s largest shareholder.
NeXT, Inc floundered and was eventually bought by Apple in 1997 for $429 million; that same year, Jobs returned to his post as Apple’s CEO and immediately revitalized Apple.
Most people are famliar with what happened next: Apple became an extraordinary company, with a new management team and new products, such as the Macbook, the iPod, the iPhone and, ultimately, the iPad. Jobs received stock options but worked for a self-imposed annual salary of $1.00. Jobs put Apple back on track and we are all aware of the recent innovations that cannot and will not be matched by any other software company in the world.
Unfortunately, Jobs' life took a tragic turn in 2003 when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Jobs did his best to fight the cancer but it eventually took his life on October 5, 2011. He was 55.
From all the entrepreneurs in the world, I would like to say thank you to Steve Jobs. He was an inspirational man who will always be remembered for his resiliency and passion to succeed, and for making technology not only better but also accessible.
R.I.P. Steve Jobs.
You can read a full biography of Steve Jobs at biography.com.