Celebrities & Biographies

Steve Jobs Biography, Early Years & Death

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Steven Paul Jobs, better known as Steve Jobs, was born on February 24, 1955. He was the chairman and co-founder of Apple Inc, n American multinational technology company headquartered in Cupertino, California, that designs, develops, and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and online services.

His biological parents were Joanne Carole Schieble and Abdulfattah Jandali (of Syrian origin), who gave him up for adoption after his birth. Apparently, they decided on adoption because they were two young university students who were not married at the time, something that did not look good in the Puritan society of their time (although later they became married for a few years giving birth to Mona Simpson, Steve’s biological sister).

Joanne was looking for a marriage with a certain level and with higher education but the only thing she found was a lower-middle-class marriage in San Francisco Bay. The marriage that hosted Steve were Paul and Clara Jobs who came to adopt a second daughter named Patty in 1958. Although Joanne was initially reluctant to this adoption, she finally agreed on the promise of the new couple that they would study beyond their son.

Paul Jobs worked as a machinist, although his hobby was to repair cars, the idea is that, as Steve later said, his adoptive father loved doing things with his hands and it is something that the young man copied in the early stages of his life as we will see later. Clara instead was an accountant and her real name was Hagopian because she was of Armenian origin. Both died a few years ago and are the only parents Steve Jobs recognized as such, denying that right to his real parents with whom he never had a good relationship. Not so in the case of Mona Simpson, with whom he has maintained a cordial relationship since he met her, already in adulthood.

Although during their childhood they lived in the city of San Francisco, at the age of 6 the family decided to move to Mountain View (where Google headquarters is now) at a time when many companies began to appear in that area dedicated to electronics, an area that would eventually become the Silicon Valley area.

Early Years

Steve Jobs Youth

During his youth, Steve Jobs attended Cupertino June High School and Homestead High School in Cupertino, California, a city that would later become synonymous with Apple. After school, he used to attend conferences and classes at Hewlett-Packard Company , in Palo Alto , also in California. Sometime later he got a summer job at this company, where he met another emblematic character of technology and the famous apple: Steve Wozniak.

In 1972, Jobs graduated from high school and began studying at Reed College, in Portland, Oregon. As many of us know thanks to his famous lecture at Stanford University, Jobs dropped out of these studies after a semester but continued attending as a listener those classes he considered interesting, out of curiosity and for the love of learning. During those years, the ones he called some of the most wonderful and exciting years of his life, Jobs slept on the floor of his friends’ rooms, collected soda bottle caps to exchange them for money, and attended Hare Krishna temple a Once a week to have a decent meal. In addition, it is at this time that he knows calligraphy (thanks to one of the classes he attended out of curiosity), an element, a characteristic that years later would result in an aesthetic pillar and a distinctive Apple brand.

Later, in the fall of 1974, Steve Jobs returned to California where he began to meet with Wozniak at the Homebrew Computer Club meetings , and at this time he also accepted a job as a technician at Atari (the popular video game company) with a goal in mind: save money and travel to a spiritual retreat in India, something you finally accomplished. Not many details are known about this stage of his life, however, it is possible to say that he converted to Buddhism, that he experimented with LSD, and that he described this stage as one of the two or three most important things he ever did.

Apple Foundation and Expansion

The year 1976 is key, not only for Steve Jobs but also for Apple, more particularly because at this time the apple company was born. In other words, in the garage of a house, Jobs, Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne founded Apple. Later, they received funding from Mike Markkula but the important thing at this time was the creation and launch of Apple I, the first true home computer. Jobs began to show itself as a leader since then: he pushed the development of Mac computers and understood where the future should go. That is, from this early stage of the company, Steve JobsHe showed himself as a great leader and visionary, something that, unexpectedly, would have a negative impact.

By 1978, Apple was expanding and needed more people, more trained professionals who assume different roles for its operation. From this moment, personnel were hired and among these people, it is possible to highlight Mike Scott of National Semiconductors, who assumed the role of CEO in some of the most difficult years of the company. Later, in 1983, Steve convinced John Sculley to leave Pepsi-Cola and join Apple. On this, it is inevitable to remember the following phrase attributed to Jobs:

«Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or do you want to come with me and change the world?»

For many, Apple’s next years were wonderful: the famous Super Bowl advertising titled “1984” was launched and Steve introduced the Macintosh to a tremendously elated and enthusiastic audience. This was the first small computer with a graphical interface that had commercial success. Now, as I said moments ago, for many these years Apple were wonderful but they would not be entirely for Steve Jobs. Described by some as a persuasive and charismatic director, for other employees, Jobs was a temperamental and erratic manager. Over time, towards the end of 1984, the relationship between Jobs and Sculley deteriorated, and at the end of May 1985, (after a struggle of internal powers, a strategy to get allies and followers) Sculley dismissed Jobs. In simple English, the founder of Apple was kicked out of the company he created. Many years later, in a mixture of reflections that merged optimism and an analysis of his career, Jobs confessed that having been fired from his company was the best thing that could have happened to him. Some will remember the following phrase also present in Stanford’s speech:

«The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less certain of everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. »

It is worth clarifying that this was not the speech of a proud person, trying to hide the shame and failure but quite the opposite: as we will see next, from this moment, Jobs entered into one of the most creative periods of his life.

Birth of NeXT and Pixar

On previous occasions in AppleWeblog we have talked about NeXT and Pixar, however, it is always good to return and refresh the memory. After his forced departure from Apple, Steve Jobs founded NeXT Computer, another computer company, perhaps a little less accessible or more targeted at professionals, scientists and academics, and not the “common user.” Still, NeXT allowed Jobs to develop and experiment with new technologies, some that sowed seeds of what would come, of technology that in some cases is standard.

Those of us who have read or seen Steve Jobs interviews know that he was an obsessive man and a seeker of aesthetic and functional perfection. This was very noticeable in NeXT and, over time, the company became a company focused on software development. A clear example of this was the launch of NeXTSTEP. On this, it seems prudent to quote our partner Dani, who months ago proposed that NeXT and NeXTSTEP directly influenced Apple and Mac OS X:

«The main innovations introduced by this new operating system were the use of Objective-C as a programming language, as well as being an object-oriented operating system, which greatly facilitated the work of developing applications in this environment, simplifying many tasks of the programmer. Nor can we forget its great graphic engine, far ahead of the rest of the machines of its time. So much was the success of this operating system that in 1993 NeXT canceled its hardware division to focus exclusively on marketing the software. »

On the other hand, it should also be noted that in 1986, Steve Jobs acquired a company called The Graphics Group. Originally from the Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division, it was purchased for $ 10 million, with 5 million invested as capital, and was then transferred from San Rafael to Emeryville, both in California. The intention of this company was to become a developer of high-tech graphics hardware but, after a couple of years of unprofitable sales, The Graphics Group, better known as Pixar, was hired by Disney to produce a series of films based on computer animation (all co-funded and distributed by the Mickey mouse company).

This was how, probably without knowing it beforehand or without knowing it at all, Steve Jobs marked a moment in the history of cinema : in 1995 Toy Story was launched, acclaimed by the public and critics, and in the next 15 years others were launched Famous titles like A Bug’s Life in 1998, Monsters, Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003, WALL-E in 2008, and Up in 2009 (among many others). In addition, it should be noted that many of these received Academy Awards in the animation category. So, to sum up: Steve not only revolutionized the world of computer science and computers but also marked a before and after in the universe of cinema and animation.

Back to Apple

There is a saying or a popular saying (or was it a Tango song?) That states that you always return to first love. I don’t think this is really so, but Steve Jobs’s case seems to be, in some way, an example of that. Others will say that it has to do with “the turns of life” and with karma, and whatever the case, the situation was basically the following: in 1996 Apple announced that it would buy from NeXT for $ 429 million. Apple bought NeXT. Steve Jobs was again part of Apple.

Over time, and around September 1997, Jobs was appointed Apple’s temporary CEO, and in 1998, determined to return the profitability to the Cupertino company, he decided to end a series of projects such as Newton, Cyberdog, and OpenDoc. Closely related to this, some anecdotes comment that in subsequent months employees were afraid to meet Steve in the halls and in the elevator for fear of being fired. Leaving the anecdotal and, perhaps, the humorous aside, the return of Jobs and the launch of the iMac and other products, was synonymous with a significant increase in Apple sales. It should be noted, on the other hand, that it was not until the year 2000 that Jobs set aside the “temporary” title and officially became CEO of the company of Cupertino.

Health issues

In October 2003, Jobs was diagnosed with cancer. In mid-2004, he announced to his employees that he had a cancerous tumor in his pancreas. The prognosis for pancreatic cancer is usually very poor; Jobs stated that he had a rare, much less aggressive type, known as islet cell neuroendocrine tumor.

Despite his diagnosis, Jobs resisted his doctors’ recommendations for medical intervention for nine months, instead of relying on alternative medicine to thwart the disease. According to Harvard researcher Ramzi Amri, his choice of alternative treatment “led to an unnecessarily early death”. Other doctors agree that Jobs’s diet was insufficient to address his disease. However, cancer researcher and alternative medicine critic David Gorski wrote that “it’s impossible to know whether and by how much he might have decreased his chances of surviving his cancer through his flirtation with woo. My best guess was that Jobs probably only modestly decreased his chances of survival if that.” Barrie R. Cassileth, the chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s integrative medicine department, said, “Jobs’s faith in alternative medicine likely cost him his life… He had the only kind of pancreatic cancer that is treatable and curable…. He essentially committed suicide.”

Steve Jobs 2

According to Jobs’s biographer, Walter Isaacson, “for nine months he refused to undergo surgery for his pancreatic cancer – a decision he later regretted as his health declined”. “Instead, he tried a vegan diet, acupuncture, herbal remedies, and other treatments he found online, and even consulted a psychic. He was also influenced by a doctor who ran a clinic that advised juice fasts, bowel cleansings and other unproven approaches, before finally having surgery in July 2004.” He eventually underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy (or “Whipple procedure”) in July 2004, that appeared to remove the tumor successfully. Jobs did not receive chemotherapy or radiation therapy. During Jobs’s absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations at Apple, ran the company.

In early August 2006, Jobs delivered the keynote for Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference. His “thin, almost gaunt” appearance and unusually “listless” delivery, together with his choice to delegate significant portions of his keynote to other presenters, inspired a flurry of media and Internet speculation about the state of his health. In contrast, according to an Ars Technica journal report, Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) attendees who saw Jobs in person said he “looked fine”.Following the keynote, an Apple spokesperson said that “Steve’s health is robust.”

Two years later, similar concerns followed Jobs’s 2008 WWDC keynote address. Apple officials stated that Jobs was a victim to a “common bug” and was taking antibiotics, while others surmised his cachectic appearance was due to the Whipple procedure. During a July conference call discussing Apple earnings, participants responded to repeated questions about Jobs’s health by insisting that it was a “private matter”. Others said that shareholders had a right to know more, given Jobs’s hands-on approach to running his company. Based on an off-the-record phone conversation with Jobs, The New York Times reported, “While his health problems amounted to a good deal more than ‘a common bug’, they weren’t life-threatening and he doesn’t have a recurrence of cancer.”

Steve Jobs Hoax

On August 28, 2008, Bloomberg mistakenly published a 2500-word obituary of Jobs in its corporate news service, containing blank spaces for his age and cause of death. News carriers customarily stockpile up-to-date obituaries to facilitate news delivery in the event of a well-known figure’s death. Although the error was promptly rectified, many news carriers and blogs reported on it, intensifying rumors concerning Jobs’s health. Jobs responded at Apple’s September 2008 Let’s Rock keynote by paraphrasing Mark Twain: “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” At a subsequent media event, Jobs concluded his presentation with a slide reading “110/70”, referring to his blood pressure, stating he would not address further questions about his health.

On December 16, 2008, Apple announced that marketing vice-president Phil Schiller would deliver the company’s final keynote address at the Macworld Conference and Expo 2009, again reviving questions about Jobs’s health. In a statement given on January 5, 2009, on Apple.com, Jobs said that he had been suffering from a “hormone imbalance” for several months.

Leave

On January 14, 2009, Jobs wrote in an internal Apple memo that in the previous week he had “learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought”. He announced a six-month leave of absence until the end of June 2009, to allow him to better focus on his health. Tim Cook, who previously acted as CEO in Jobs’s 2004 absence, became acting CEO of Apple, with Jobs still involved with “major strategic decisions”.

In 2009, Tim Cook offered a portion of his liver to Jobs, since both share a rare blood type and the donor liver can regenerate tissue after such an operation. Jobs yelled, “I’ll never let you do that. I’ll never do that.”

In April 2009, Jobs underwent a liver transplant at Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute in Memphis, Tennessee. Jobs’ prognosis was described as “excellent”.

Resignation

On January 17, 2011, a year and a half after Jobs returned to work following the liver transplant, Apple announced that he had been granted a medical leave of absence. Jobs announced his leave in a letter to employees, stating his decision was made “so he could focus on his health”. As it did at the time of his 2009 medical leave, Apple announced that Tim Cook would run day-to-day operations and that Jobs would continue to be involved in major strategic decisions at the company. While on leave, Jobs appeared at the iPad 2 launch event on March 2, the WWDC keynote introducing iCloud on June 6, and before the Cupertino City Council on June 7.

On August 24, 2011, Jobs announced his resignation as Apple’s CEO, writing to the board, “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.” Jobs became chairman of the board and named Tim Cook as his successor as CEO. Jobs continued to work for Apple until the day before his death six weeks later.

Death

Jobs died at his Palo Alto, California, home around 3 p.m. (PDT) on October 5, 2011, due to complications from a relapse of his previously treated islet-cell pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, which resulted in respiratory arrest. He had lost consciousness the day before and died with his wife, children, and sisters at his side. His sister, Mona Simpson, described his death thus: “Steve’s final words, hours earlier, were monosyllables, repeated three times. Before embarking, he’d looked at his sister Patty, then for a long time at his children, then at his life’s partner, Laurene, and then over their shoulders past them. Steve’s final words were: ‘Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.'” He then lost consciousness and died several hours later. A small private funeral was held on October 7, 2011, the details of which, out of respect for Jobs’s family, were not made public.

Apple and Pixar each issued announcements of his death. Apple announced on the same day that they had no plans for a public service, but were encouraging “well-wishers” to send their remembrance messages to an email address created to receive such messages. Apple and Microsoft both flew their flags at half-staff throughout their respective headquarters and campuses.

California Governor Jerry Brown declared Sunday, October 16, 2011, to be “Steve Jobs Day”. On that day, an invitation-only memorial was held at Stanford University. Those in attendance included Apple and other tech company executives, members of the media, celebrities, close friends of Jobs, and politicians, along with Jobs’s family. Bono, Yo Yo Ma, and Joan Baez performed at the service, which lasted longer than an hour. The service was highly secured, with guards at all of the university’s gates, and a helicopter flying overhead from an area news station. Each attendee was given a small brown box as a “farewell gift” from Jobs. The box contained a copy of the Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, former owner of what would become Pixar, George Lucas, a former rival, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, and President Barack Obama all offered statements in response to his death.

Jobs is buried in an unmarked grave at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, the only nonsectarian cemetery in Palo Alto.

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