Stuff You Should Know: Steve Jobs

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We first published this back when Steve Jobs announced that he’d be taking a medical leave from his post as CEO of Apple. In light of the passing of one of this country’s true innovators, we once again present 10 Things You Should Know About Steve Jobs…

1. Steve Jobs is Syrian

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Bet you didn’t see that coming. Steve was adopted as a baby and his birth dad was a Muslim Syrian professor of political science. His mom was one of his dad’s students. The unwed lovers put Steve up for adoption on the condition that his adopted parents be college graduates. Later, they married and actually had another child, who grew up to be a respected professor and novelist. Steve and his sister met as adults.

But back to Steve’s adopted parents…

2. They Weren’t Actually College Graduates

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And they lied to get their baby. After Paul and Clara Jobs took custody of baby Steven Paul, it was revealed that his adopted mom never actually finished college and his adopted dad was really a high school dropout. Steve’s birth mom wasn’t super keen on signing her baby over to an uneducated couple, but relented when the two pinky swore they’d send the boy to college. Which they did, at the cost of their life savings.

3. And He Dropped Out in No Time Flat

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What a loser, right? Jobs gave college a go at Reed College in Portland, but quit in six months. Here’s what’s interesting about Steve Jobs, though, he kept going to class for another 18 months after quitting, but only the classes he was interested in, including a very good calligraphy class (which played a big role in helping him design fonts at Apple later.)

Without a dorm room, he slept on the floor of his friends’ rooms, turned in Coke bottles for change and got a free meal at the Hare Krishna temple every week.

4. And Then He Went Hippie

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After dropping out of college and doing a summer job at Atari, Jobs took off for a backpacking trip through India. While there he converted to Buddhism, shaved his head and experimented with LSD, which he later claimed was “one of the most important things he had done in his life.” The LSD part, not the shaving of the head part.

When Jobs got back to the States, he was a chrome-domed, Indian clad Buddhist and ready to work.

5. A is for Apple and Also, Money

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Apple Computer, Inc. was founded on April 1, 1976 by Atari buddies Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Here’s a fun note: Wayne renounced his 10% share of Apple and bailed in two weeks for a one time payment of $800. Today Wayne’s shares would be worth $22 billion. That’s “billion” with a “b.”

Once begun, Apple’s first few years were all about selling computer kits. The Apple I came in 1976, followed by the Apple II in ‘77, the bombtastic Apple III in ‘80, the Lisa in 1983 and the Macintosh in ‘84. And that was when things really got interesting.

6. 1984

Steve Jobs was the greatest champion of Apple’s landmark Super Bowl commercial, which you can see in the video above.

At a preview, Steve Wozniak apparently hated it so much that he offered to pay to not air it. Still, Jobs pushed and the ad aired. By the night of Super Bowl, the commercial was universally acclaimed and newscasts were rebroadcasting it for free. Totes brillz.

7. And Then He Was Fired

Donald Trump

Straight fired. It was after a power struggle with the Board of Directors, but also a year after the successful launch of a world-changing product, and from a company that he founded. Poor Steve was only 30.

But it was all good because Jobs started a new company called NeXT, which focused on computer workstations for colleges and businesses. And even though NeXT was pretty much a failure, it managed to create a modern operating system. Which was important, because in 1996 Apple acquired NeXT for that very operating system and brought Steve Jobs back into the company. SCORE!

8. But First, Steve Jobs Invented the Universe’s Favorite Animation Studio

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Kind of. Before Jobs was brought back into the fold, he bought Pixar in 1986, back when it had the most booorrriiinnnggg name in the world: Graphics Group. Back then, Graphics Group wasn’t an animation studio at all, it was a computer hardware company that specialized in graphics hardware, mostly selling its wares to hospitals. And it was failing.

In 1990, Jobs sold off the hardware division of the company and focused Pixar on animation; two years later he scored a three movie deal with Disney. BOOM.

9. You Probably Make a Bigger Salary Than Steve Jobs

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Unless you make less than $1 a year, in which case, how are you paying for your Internet, you priorities-out-of-whack fool? Get a job.

Speaking of jobs, Steve only pulls in a buck a year from Apple, but also owns over 130 million shares of Disney stock, and those dividends pay out about $50 million a year. So he’s doing alright. Sorry for giving you a false sense of accomplishment over the whole “earning more than Steve Jobs” thing.

10. This, That and the Other

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Jobs doesn’t eat meat, except for fish. He’s dated Joan Baez and bases his business model on the Beatles. In 2008, he and Apple were both sued for securities fraud over backdating stock options, and the SEC has also investigated Apple over letting their CEO get cancer and not telling shareholders about it right away. Apparently, that kind of thing is frowned upon.

Fortune Magazine named him CEO of the decade, despite the whole SEC investigation, and as of this moment, no one has been named as Steve’s successor. It could be you, who knows? Never say never, right?

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