Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life, says Steve Jobs. From the day he was born on February 24, 1955, Steven Paul Jobs has been blazing his own path. As the CEO of Apple Computer and CEO and Chairman of Pixar, Jobs is today recognized as one of the top leaders and visionaries of both the computer and entertainment industries and is worth an estimated $4.4 billion.
Born in San Francisco, California to an American mother and a Syrian father, Jobs was given up for adoption just one week after his birth. He was adopted by Paul and Clara Jobs and the new family settled in Santa Clara County, California. Paul was a machinist for Spectra-Physics who helped spark Jobs early interest in machines. Jobs has always considered Paul and Clara his only parents.
While attending Cupertino Middle School and Homestead High School, both in Cupertino, California, Jobs spent his free time attending lectures at the Hewlett-Packard Company in Palo Alto. He became a familiar face there and was soon hired as a summer student. It was here at the age of 13 where Jobs would meet his future Apple co-founder, Stephen Wozniak, who was also working as a summer employee. After striking up a friendship, Jobs began to help Wozniak market and sell his latest invention an illegal device that could be attached to telephones to allow users to make free long-distance calls. He also spent his free time repairing and selling stereos.
After graduating from high school in 1972, Jobs registered at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, but found he had little interest in pursuing a degree. He dropped out after just one semester, but continued to attend classes in philosophy, physics, and literature for another year. He returned to California two years later and began attending Wozniaks computer hobbyist club, the Homebrew Computer Club. He also began working as a technician for Atari, a company that manufactured popular video games.
Working at Atari allowed Jobs the chance to save enough money for a spiritual retreat to India, where he went along with Daniel Kottke, a friend from Reed College and later, the first Apple employee. Upon his return, Jobs went back to work at Atari, but this time was in charge of creating a circuit board for the game Breakout. Atari had offered a $100 bonus for each chip that could be reduced in the machine. With little knowledge of circuit boards, Jobs made a deal with Wozniak to work together and split whatever bonus they got. Wozniak reduced the chips by 50, surprising both Atari and Jobs himself. The design proved to be so tight in fact that the circuit board was impossible to reproduce on the assembly line.
This experience at Atari proved to be the beginning of a long business relationship between Jobs and Wozniak that would soon spark one of the most successful and revolutionary companies of the 20th century.