Fernandez had no idea at the time that the meeting between his two friends would change our world. Jobs and Woz were soon to start a business together. Its name was Apple.
“If Woz and Jobs had never met, there never would have been an Apple computer. There would have been computers, and there would have been personal computers, but we probably wouldn’t have the kind of wonderful empowering things that people fall into if Woz and Jobs hadn’t met
This neighborhood we grew up in had a lot of Lockheed engineers in it, and I would go up and down the street to the various dads on the street and get mentored in electronics, and Steve Wozniak’s father was one of the people who mentored me.
As Jobs and I were walking over, I noticed Woz out washing his car, and I said, “Hey, Woz. Um, come over and meet Steve.”
So, “Steve, meet Steve.” And this is where it happened, basically right here”. (Bill Fernandez)
Woz and Jobs became inseparable friends, but their first venture was not a computer. The pair developed an electronics kit mimicking telephone router codes to make free calls around the world.
“You know, when you make a long distance phone call in the background you hear, “do do do do do”? Those are the telephone computers actually signing each other, sending information to each other to set up your call. And there used to be a way to fool the entire telephone system into thinking you were a telephone computer.
You could, you know, call from a pay phone, go to White Plains, New York, take a satellite to Europe, take a cable to Turkey, um, come back to Los Angeles, and you’d go around the world 3 or 4 times and call the payphone next door, shout in the phone, and be about 30 seconds, it would come out the other phone”. – Steve Jobs
The pair quickly moved on from phone-jacking for fun to creating computers, building the prototype of the very first Apple.
It’s a fond memory for Steve Wozniak.
“He was always thinking about certain technology, the early products that got developed, the building parts, what those might lead to in our future, and he was always pushing me as an engineer…”Could you possibly add this someday, could you possibly add that someday?” Yes, yes, yes, I could,” thinking, “no. It’s way, way off,” but eventually we all did”.
In those early days, Woz and Jobs took their creation to the home-brew computer club, an early computer club, an early computer users’ group in Silicon Valley, where it quickly attracted attention from their peers.
“I met both Steves, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak at a meeting of the home-brew computer club in Palo Alto. Our first meeting was really simple. It was in the parking lot, and I helped them unload Woz’s FIAT and carried in what I guess was the first Apple I to show it off to the assembled multitudes”. – Robert Cringely, Technology Columnist
When that same first Apple I was auctioned in 2010, it attracted even more attention.
“It heralds the home computing revolution. This is the first computer where you use a keyboard and a screen to enter and read data”.
“Selling for £110,000.”
From the hippie days of 1970s California, a handful of teenage geeks emerged to change how we work, play, and communicate with each other.
“Founders can be divided into two camps. There are hippies, and there are nerds, and Jobs was definitely the hippie, and Woz was the nerd. And the hippie has the grand vision, and the nerd is able to realize the vision. The nerd knows everything about women but doesn’t know any women. You know, Steve knew women. So there’s that distinction. So they really needed each other. He knew how to beat it out of Woz, and he would do that, and his contributions at that time were saying, “gosh. We could sell these things.” I mean, which doesn’t sound like much, but it’s huge when you’re dealing with a guy in Woz who never thought about selling anything”. – Robert Cringely, Technology Columnist
“I wanted it to happen so badly, I gave this computer away. I gave away the listings, no copyright notices, no nothing, and then Steve Jobs came and saw the interest, and he said “Why don’t we start a company to make some money?” And I said, “Fine.”” – Steve Wozniak
“They did want to start a business. They raised money to start a business. They knew that they couldn’t do it on their own. They sought out older people to help, and Steve Jobs in particular was quite persuasive”. – Robert Cringely, Technology Columnist
In Apple’s earliest days, the two Steves, Jobs and Woz, took on an older and more experienced partner. Ronald Wayne now lives and works near Las Vegas, a fitting location for a man who walked away with nothing from a $37 billion no-lose bet.
Wayne was invited to discuss a business proposal with Jobs and Woz.
“That was the first time I had met Steve Wozniak, a fascinating guy a fun guy to be with, very… not only a fun guy to be with, the most gracious man I’ve ever met in my life. As far as Wozniak was concerned, the world was a great big sand box with a lot of toys to play with”. – Ronald Wayne, Co-founder of Apple