In the wake of Steve Jobs' death, perhaps no one can reflect on the man who was essentially the force of success behind Apple (AAPL) like Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple who befriended Jobs when he was still a high school student in Cupertino, Calif.
The pair met through their shared passion for electronics while Wozniak, who was five years older than Jobs, was attending the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. In an interview with CNET, Wozniak said that aside from their interest in technology they also enjoyed playing pranks on people, organizing several stunts at Jobs' high school such as turning sprinklers on at parents during a graduation ceremony and making a banner that 'flipped off' the senior class.
We were best friends for all the years leading up to Apple, he said. We would go driving out to faraway places, explore the musical catalogues of Bob Dylan and people who had rare photographs of him.
He also said they often discussed their worldviews and the roles of young people and revolution in society, themes that stuck with Jobs for the rest of his life as he applied his personal vision to the products he designed and marketed.
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As many who worked along Jobs have indicated, Wozniak said Jobs' quick mind was one of the keys to Apple's success.
Almost all the time that we had discussions about how something should be done in a company, he was almost always right. And he had thought it out, and he had thought out why a product should go to the left instead of the right, he said.
After Jobs dropped out of Reed College and returned to California in 1974, he and Wozniak attended meetings of a group of computer hobbyists called the Homebrew Computer Club, where Wozniak presented a homemade computer he had designed that would become the Apple I. The two started Apple Computer Inc. in Jobs' parents' garage in 1976; Wozniak told The Associated Press Jobs suggested the name after visiting an apple orchard that was actually a commune.
Wozniak ended up leaving Apple in 1987 to pursue his own projects.
Wozniak told CNET that he and Jobs' humble beginning is one of his chief ways he expects to remember his friend.
Apple Started As A Hobby
I'm going to go back to how young and naive we were in thinking out our original ideas. We would look back now and think 'Oh my God, that sort of thinking could actually lead to what it led to?'
Apple's now-legendary origin is something he said Jobs often brought up when they spoke during the last years of his life. While Jobs sometimes seemed eager to reflect on the past, Wozniak said he never took the time to really delve into it because with both the company's and Jobs' level of success, it was hard to go back to the simple days, when personal computers were a hobby and they simply thought it could help them make a few bucks.
I think it was on his mind in his last days, Wozniak said.
Jobs -- who Wozniak said was, in his opinion, more like a Walt Disney than a Thomas Edison due to his gift for marketing and understanding the consumer -- left multiple legacies. In the Bay Area, Wozniak said he is a shining example of how young people with no money can succeed by using their mind as their chief asset. As for Apple, one of the world's most recognizable companies, Wozniak said the company will continue to flourish if it sticks to Jobs formula to success.
What Steve wanted is something we should all live up to forever, he said.