How Steve Wozniak invented the Personal Computer [Video]

Tue, Dec 1, 2009

Apple History, News

Check out this extremely enthusiastic and informative video of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak discussing how he developed the Apple I and the Apple II.  Woz goes into interesting detail regarding his thought process at the time and how he and Steve Jobs up and decided to create Apple Computer.

What’s also interesting is that the Apple II almost didn’t get off the ground because Woz was apprehensive about leaving his job at Hewlett-Packard, a company he idolized and loved working for. It wasn’t until Steve Jobs convinced Woz’s close friends and family to get on his case about his decision that Apple as we know it was truly formed.  In his book, iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It, Wozniak writes:

A few day after that, venture capitalists Steve had contacted started to come by. One of them was Don Valentine at Sequoia… Well, he turned us down, but he did get us in touch with a guy named Mike Markkula… He was truly interested. He asked us who we were, what our backgrounds were, what our goals were with Apple, where we thought it might go. And he indicated some interest in financing us. He was talking about $250,000 or thereabouts to build 1,000 machines…

Well, after Mike agreed to do our business plan—after he started working on it—he asked to talk to me. He said, “Okay, Steve. You know you have to leave Hewlett-Packard… So I decided I wouldn’t do Apple after all. I would stay at HP for my full-time job and design computers for fun. I went to the cabana—Mike had a cabana on his property—on ultimatum day and told Mike and Steve what I’d decided. I told them no. I’d thought about it, and I’d come to the conclusion that I wasn’t going to leave HP. I remember Mike was very cool about it. He just shrugged and said, “Okay, Fine.” He was really terse about it. It was like he thought, okay, fine, he would just get what Apple needed somewhere else. But Steve was upset. He felt strongly that the Apple II was the computer they should go with.

Within a couple of days my phone started ringing. I started getting phone calls at work and home from my dad, my mom, my brother, and various friends. Just phone call after phone call. Every one of them told me I’d made the wrong decision. That I should go with Apple because, after all, $250,000 is a lot of money. It turned out that Steve had talked them all into calling me. Apparently he thought I needed an intervention.


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