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Essay: The Legendary Life of Steve Jobs – His Challenges, Co-Founding Apple, Innovative Products & More

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  • Published: 1 April 2019*
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Steve Jobs is the best example of a hero. He was adopted and faced many challenges throughout his life, but he still prevailed on top. Jobs is most famous for being the co-founder of Apple inc. with Steve Wozniak. He changed the way the world would look at technology forever. His revolutionary products include the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac and many many others. These products now seem to be dictating modern technology (Biography).

Steven Paul Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, in San Francisco, California, to Joanne Schieble and Abdulfattah "John" Jandali, who gave their unnamed son up for adoption.. Shortly after Steve was placed for adoption, his biological parents got married and had another child, Mona Simpson. Jobs only found out who his biological parents were when he was 27 years old. Clara and Paul Jobs adopted this ‘unnamed child’ and they named him Steven Paul Jobs. His mother was an accountant and his father was a Coast Guard veteran and machinist. They all lived together in California. When Steve was just a young lad, he and his father worked on electronics in their garage. Here he learned how to take apart and reconstruct electronics, a hobby that gave him confidence and mechanical talents while setting him on path for what he would later do in life.

Although he was a very smart boy,  he struggled in school. He was a prankster in elementary school because he was bored during class, and his 4th grade teacher even had to bribe him to study. Since he did so well on his tests, his principal wanted to skip him ahead to high school, but his parents declined the offer.

A few years later, when Jobs was in Homestead High School, he was introduced to his future partner Steve Wozniak, who was attending the University of California, Berkeley. In a 2007 interview with PC World, Wozniak spoke about why he and Jobs clicked so well: "We both loved electronics and the way we used to hook up digital chips," Wozniak said. "Very few people, especially back then, had any idea what chips were, how they worked and what they could do. I had designed many computers, so I was way ahead of him in electronics and computer design, but we still had common interests”(Biography).

Steve Wozniak’s interest in electronics had grown stronger, and he began to regularly attend meetings of a group of early computer hobbyists called the Homebrew Computer Club. The knowledge that Wozniak gained from these Homebrew meetings, as well as his amazing talent, allowed him to build his own computer board, simply because he wanted a personal computer for himself. Steve Jobs took interest in this, and he quickly understood that his friend's brilliant invention could be sold to software fanatics, who wanted to write software without the trouble of putting together a computer kit. Jobs convinced Wozniak to start a company for that purpose. Together they created the first Apple Computer on April 1, 1976.

The following months Steve worked on assembling boards of the Apple I Computers in his garage and sold them to mainly hobbyists. Although the Apple I sold mainly to hobbyists, it produced enough money to allow Jobs and Wozniak to improvise and upgrade their technology and design. In 1977, they introduced the Apple II. This was the first personal computer with color graphics and a keyboard. The user-friendly Apple II was a huge success, leading in the new era of the personal computers (Entrepreneur). They both knew that they could and would be extremely successful in what they did.  Jobs eventually convinced former Intel executive  Mike Markkula to invest $250,000 in Apple, in January 1977. Markkula was a big believer in the personal computing revolution, and he said to Jobs and Wozniak, that because of the Apple II, their company can could be one of the richest companies in even less than 2 years (All About Steve Jobs).

Three years after the release of Apple's second model, the Apple II, the company's sales increased to nearly $200 million. In 1980, Apple Computer became a publicly traded company, with a market value of $1.2 billion by the end of its first day of trading. Jobs looked to marketing expert John Sculley of Pepsi-Cola to take over the role of CEO for Apple.

However, the next several products from Apple had very big design flaws, which caused a lot of consumer disappointment, which lost them many of their customers. IBM suddenly passed Apple in sales, and Apple now had to compete with an IBM who now dominated the business world. In 1984, Apple released the Macintosh, but despite very positive sales and performance superior to IBM's PCs, the Macintosh was still not IBM-compatible.  The new CEO John Sculley thought that Jobs was hurting Apple, and he and the company's executives began to push him out. In a February 1996 Time magazine article, Jobs said, "The thing that drives me and my colleagues … is that you see something very compelling to you, and you don't quite know how to get it, but you know, sometimes intuitively, it's within your grasp. And it's worth putting in years of your life to make it come into existence."

In 1985 Jobs didn’t have a significant title anymore in Apple, the company which he co-founded. He decided to leave Apple that year to start a new hardware and software company called NeXT, Inc. The next year Jobs bought an animation company from George Lucas, which later became known as Pixar Animation Studios. Jobs believed so much in his new company that he invested $50 million of his own money in the company. The studio went on to produce wildly popular movies such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles (Biography).

After Steve Jobs left Apple, business was not doing well at all. Within days of Pixar going on the stock market, Apple bought NeXT for $400 million and re-appointed Jobs to Apple's board of directors as an advisor to Apple chairman and CEO Gilbert F. Amelio. This was pure desperation on Apple’s part. They had failed to create a next-generation Macintosh operating system. The firm's share of the PC market had dropped to just 5.3 percent, and they hoped that by reassigning Jobs to a significant position could help turn the company around to where it was before when he was with Apple. At the end of March 1997, Apple announced a quarterly loss of $708 million. Three months later, Amelio resigned as CEO and Jobs took over as CEO.

When Jobs was once again the head of Apple, he made a deal with Microsoft which would insure Apple’s survival. Under the arrangement, Microsoft invested $150 million for a non voting minority stake in Apple, and the two companies agreed to "cooperate on several sales and technology fronts." Next, Jobs installed the G3 PowerPC microprocessor in all Apple computers, making them faster than competing PCs. He also led the development of the iMac, a new line of affordable home desktops, which debuted in August 1998 to rave reviews. While Apple was led by Jobs, the company quickly returned to profitability, and by the end of 1998, their sales went up to $5.9 billion.

Against all odds, Steve Jobs brought the company that he originally co-founded and was then kicked out of and asked to come back, back to life. Apple once again continued to create new products which would make them even more well known throughout the technological world. Over the next decade, Apple created a series of new revolutionary products, including the iPod which was a portable digital audio player in 2001, an online marketplace called the Apple iTunes Store in 2003 where one can buy music to put on their iPods, the iPhone handset in 2007 and the iPad in 2010 (Entrepreneur).

Unfortunately in late 2003 Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer of a rare kind, that could potentially be cured only by surgery. However, against everyone's advice, he decided that he wasn’t going to have the surgery for nine months. Only in July 2004 did he agree to have the surgery. For the next five years he looked fully cured and he even spoke about being fully cured of cancer in his famous Stanford speech. Although he publicly denied it, in 2008 his cancer had returned. By the returning of the cancer, Jobs realized that it was time that he ‘put his affairs in order’ before his passing. Jobs made sure that Apple would be able to go on without him by appointing the dean of the Yale School of Management to create 'Apple University'. This would be a school that would prepare new Apple executives by showing them the way Apple runs their business.

Steve Jobs resigned as Apple’s CEO on August 24, 2011.  In his Letter of resignation he said "I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know, Unfortunately, that day has come” (Entrepreneur). Jobs died peacefully at home on October 5, 2011, surrounded by his family which was the day after the introduction of the iPhone 4S, an Apple event that he watched from his deathbed (All About Steve Jobs).

One of the many reasons that Steve Jobs is hero to many is because he is a perfectionist in everything he does. One time he even sent a revolutionary circuit board back because he didn’t like the way it looked even though only he and the technicians would be seeing it. He also delayed the release of some products in order to make them even better. At one point when Apple was coming out with the iPad, Jobs looked at the product and felt very dissatisfied. He decided to change the original model from cornered edges to rounded edges so people would be able to pick it up at ease as opposed to having to worry about picking it up carefully from one of the sides. Jobs delayed the production of the iPad until this change would be made. When Jobs was a young boy he was once building a fence for his backyard with his father and he was told that he had to take just as much care to the back of the fence as he did for the front of the fence. He asked his father, “Why? Nobody will know about it? His father responded, “But you will know”. This is where the perfectionism sparked in the young Jobs.

Even though Steve Jobs had difficulties in his life from start to finish – from being an adopted child, to getting kicked out of the company that he started, to getting Pancreatic Cancer, he still made the most of his life by accomplishing his goal of creating Apple, which is arguably one of the most important companies we have today. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 Jobs said “My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. Everything else was secondary. Sure, it was great to make a profit, because that was what allowed you to make great products. But the products, not the profits, were the motivation” (Harvard Business Review). This shows the true dedication Steve Jobs had to Apple. This shows how he put the products before the profits. For most of his career he was only getting paid $1 per year along with money from his share in the company. The main reason he is a hero is because “There is not a single executive or creator in the technology industry more important than Steve Jobs” (Biography).

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