Thursday, December 29, 2011

A serious case of " If I knew then what I know now..."

A number of years ago, circa 1985, a few friends and I were at a Sci-Fi Convention in Boston. We were looking at all the different items and displays when we came across a gentleman at a table with an oddly titled comic book he was producing.

The title was " Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"...My friends and I looked at it and found it hard to take seriously. There were well established superheroes in the comic book genre, and this one seemed out of left field. We found it kinda of too oddball to be taken seriously.

Later on, we all were proven dead wrong.

The enclosed story details how a gentleman ran up against a air of oddballs in 1976 in California and had a similar reaction. Pretty interesting on how we are able to view things much differently through hindsight.

Secret Apple archive reveals Steve Jobs was dismissed as a 'joker' in 1976 before taking Apple to global dominance
By Leon Watson - UK Mail
29th December 2011

A treasure trove of Apple papers documenting the rise of technology giant shows Steve Jobs was dismissed as a 'joker' when he tried to start up the business.

The collection, held in a secret location in California, includes a note handwritten in 1976 by a man who had just met Mr Jobs and Steve Wozniak.The pair, who launched Apple that year, had asked the printer called Mike to be given '10m catalog sheets' for free.

He then jotted down an historic note warning his colleagues about the young entrepreneurs.
It said: 'This joker (Jobs) is going to be calling you ... They are two guys, they build kits, operate out of a garage.'

In the interview, Steve Wozniak and the late Steve Jobs recall a seminal moment in Silicon Valley history - how they named their upstart computer company some 35 years ago.
'I remember driving down Highway 85,' Wozniak said. 'We're on the freeway, and Steve mentions, 'I've got a name: Apple Computer.' We kept thinking of other alternatives to that name, and we couldn't think of anything better.'

Mr Jobs then added: 'And also remember that I worked at Atari, and it got us ahead of Atari in the phonebook.'

The interview was among a storehouse of materials Apple had been collecting for a company museum.
But in 1997, soon after Mr Jobs returned to the company, Apple officials contacted Stanford University and offered to donate the collection to the school's Silicon Valley Archives.

Within a few days, Stanford curators were at Apple headquarters in nearby Cupertino, packing two moving trucks full of documents, books, software, videotapes and marketing materials that now make up the core of Stanford's Apple Collection.

The collection, the largest assembly of Apple historical materials, can help historians, entrepreneurs and policymakers understand how a start-up launched in a Silicon Valley garage became a global technology giant.

'Through this one collection you can trace out the evolution of the personal computer,' said Stanford historian Leslie Berlin.

'These sorts of documents are as close as you get to the unmediated story of what really happened.'
The collection is stored in hundreds of boxes taking up more than 600ft of shelf space at the Stanford's off-campus storage facility.

The Silicon Valley Archives claims to be the 'world's greatest repository of materials related to the history and development of Silicon Valley'.

It holds a host of collections including documents about the American Association for Artificial Intelligence, Ampex, the computer science pioneer Douglas Engelbar and Hewlett-Packard.

They are part of Stanford University's Special Collections and University Archives and are open to members of the general public.

But since all materials are located in secret remote facilities, patrons must request materials two full business days before planned date of use.

Among the other items in the Apple Collection are:

- Thousands of photos by photographer Douglas Menuez, who documented Steve Jobs' years at NeXT Computer, which he founded in 1985 after he was pushed out of Apple.

- A company video spoofing the 1984 movie 'Ghost Busters,' with Jobs and other executives playing 'Blue Busters,' a reference to rival IBM.

- Handwritten financial records showing early sales of Apple II, one of the first mass-market computers.

- An April 1976 agreement for a $5,000 loan to Apple Computer and its three co-founders: Jobs, Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, who pulled out of the company less than two weeks after its founding.
It is held in a climate-controlled warehouse on the outskirts of the San Francisco Bay area, but its location has not been disclosed.

Interest in Apple and its founder has grown dramatically since Mr Jobs died in October at age 56, just weeks after he stepped down as CEO and handed the reins to Tim Cook.

Mr Jobs' death sparked an international outpouring and marked the end of an era for Apple and Silicon Valley.

'Apple as a company is in a very, very select group,' said Stanford curator Henry Lowood. 'It survived through multiple generations of technology. To the credit of Steve Jobs, it meant reinventing the company at several points.'

Apple scrapped its own plans for a corporate museum after Mr Jobs returned as CEO and began restructuring the financially struggling firm, Mr Lowood said.

Mr Job's return, more than a decade after he was forced out of the company he co-founded, marked the beginning of one of the great comebacks in business history.

It led to a long string of blockbuster products - including the iPod, iPhone and iPad - that have made Apple one of the world's most profitable brands.

After Stanford received the Apple donation, former company executives, early employees, business partners and Mac enthusiasts have come forward and added their own items to the archives.

The collection includes early photos of young Mr Jobs and Mr Wozniak, blueprints for the first Apple computer, user manuals, magazine ads, TV commercials, company t-shirts and drafts of Mr Jobs' speeches.

In one company video, Wozniak talks about how he had always wanted his own computer, but couldn't get his hands on one at a time when few computers were found outside corporations or government agencies.
'All of a sudden I realised, 'Hey microprocessors all of a sudden are affordable. I can actually build my own,' Mr Wozniak said. 'And Steve went a little further. He saw it as a product you could actually deliver, sell and someone else could use.'

The pair also talk about the company's first product, the Apple I computer, which went on sale in July 1976 for $666.66.

'Remember an Apple I was not particularly useable for too much, but it was so incredible to have your own computer,' Mr Jobs said.

'It was kind of an embarkation point from the way computers had been going in these big steel boxes with switches and lights.'

The archive shows the Apple founders were far ahead of their time, Mr Lowood said.
'What they were doing was spectacularly new,' he said. 'The idea of building computers out of your garage and marketing them and thereby creating a successful business - it just didn't compute for a lot of people.'

1 comment:

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