I have just finished reading IWOZ and iCON - books on the co founders of Apple. I was drawn into their experiences in the early years when they started out from their homes, experimenting with chips and trying to make computers.
Immediately my mind went back to my school days where we had the rudimentary BBC Micro. After the initial excitement of playing games like Pacman and OddJob we were told that the machine could also do many useless things also. Programming in BASIC we would try to make it do silly jobs like make an inventory for the school library (what was the point? Most of the books were never returned!). Finally after many months when it worked, we jumped around the machine with childlike joy. I think all computers after that have just been machines which work faster at the job and are sleeker – they never matched my first love.
Back to Apple. Mainstream media has always painted the founders as brilliant minds who created wonderful machines and then burnt out because the markets changed or they refused to move onto new products or their personal ambitions got the better of them. However, I found the relationship between the two interesting. Wozniak was always pissed that he got less credit for Apple computers with Steve appearing on magazine covers throughout the 80s and 90s.
This is a constant debate in creative fields – whose idea was it? who gets the credit? how much should I be paid for it? The questions and arguments are endless and very often we lose a lot of time and energy till we often abandon projects half-way. The drive is gone and so is the hunger.
However Steve Jobs did not lose that hunger. He never bothered about what people thought or whether he was hurting people or treading on their toes. He went onto create Pixar (which redefined animation films) and then came back and revived Apple with the ipod. Read the speech he delivered to students at Stanford that ends with the lines - Stay hungry, Stay foolish. It will make you see your own life in a new light.
Image credit : Businessweek