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Early Apple Employees Talk Memories of Steve Jobs, Thoughts On New Movie 146

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-never-realized-steve-jobs-was-a-transformer dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Daniel Kottke and Bill Fernandez had front-row seats to the birth of the personal computing industry, as well as the most valuable technology company in the world. Both served as employees of Apple Computer in its earliest days: Kottke working with the hardware, Fernandez developing the user interfaces. Both have some strong opinions about the new feature film Jobs, which dramatizes the personal and professional escapades of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs and his more technically inclined partner, Steve Wozniak. Kottke consulted on early versions of the script, attended the movie's premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in February, and is currently planning to see it again shortly after its release on August 16. Fernandez, on the other hand, hasn't seen it and doesn't intend to, because he considers it a work of fiction and thinks it will upset him. In this lengthy interview with Slashdot, both attempted to distinguish the facts and longstanding geek legends from the instances of pure creative license exercised by the filmmakers."
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Early Apple Employees Talk Memories of Steve Jobs, Thoughts On New Movie

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  • Funny (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Haawkeye (2680377)
    I think it will be funny and entertaining to see if they make him into the second coming. If nothing else it should be entertaining.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by TWiTfan (2887093)

      That's going to take all the whitewash in the world. But, this is Hollywood, so I'm sure they'll find a way.

    • Someone should make a Monty Python esque holy book for the Apple dupes to follow. I've gotten so tired of them and yes, Hollywood probably will make him into the second coming. There are so many others in computer science that made greater contributions than Steve Jobs. As a side note, I always thought that the Atari/Commodore story was much more interesting than the Apple story. Even though both companies lost at the end of the day, they both had machines much more impressive and cheaper than the Apple II
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Friday August 16, 2013 @09:43AM (#44582943)

    Metacritic and Rotten don't seem to be encouraging this movie.

  • Link to film (Score:3, Informative)

    by SpaceMonkies (2868125) on Friday August 16, 2013 @09:43AM (#44582947)
    "For a man whose singular vision alienated many – a point illustrated by Kutcher's straight-talking, temper-riddled reading of Jobs – those closest to him are barely given time to voice their concerns, let along develop as characters. Jobs's Apple co-founder, self-taught software whizz Steve "Woz" Wozniak (Josh Gad), already a vocal critic of the film, is presented as a mere backdrop. We learn little about Woz: where he came from, how he met Jobs, or what happened after he quit Apple, dissatisfied with the direction in which the company was heading."
    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2013/jan/28/sundance-festival-jobs-first-look-review [theguardian.com]

    Heres a link to info about the film itself: Jobs (film) [wikipedia.org].

    Check out the new Slashdot iPad app [apple.com]
    • Re:Link to film (Score:5, Informative)

      by deKernel (65640) <timfbarber@[ ]oo.com ['yah' in gap]> on Friday August 16, 2013 @10:49AM (#44583621)

      Uhm, I hate to break the news to you, but the name of the movie was "Jobs" and not "Jobs & Woz".

      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by interval1066 (668936)
        Jobs was a cult, not a man. I betcha dollahs to donuts the film is going to illustrate how Job's singular vision overcame the adversity of a hostile company board to bring joy and consumer products to thronging crowds. The scene where Scully fires Jobs is going to have a lot of violins in the background, watch.
      • Re:Link to film (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Friday August 16, 2013 @11:01AM (#44583713) Homepage
        I hate to break it to you, but without Woz it is highly likely that nobody would even have heard of Jobs. Not making him an integral part of the story is like doing a movie called "Robert Plant" and glossing over the Led Zeppelin part.
        • by cusco (717999)
          I think Jobs would still have been famous, possibly in the way that Jerry Brown, Billy Mays, or Michael Milken were famous. An ego of that magnitude would have eventually found an outlet, it just wouldn't have been in the tech field.
          • Hard to say. Jobs and Woz met through mutual friend Fernandez becuase Fern built a little pc prototype, obviously Jobs was turned on by tech. But then after high school he goes to a community college in Portland taking courses in calligraphy. But we know this: he brought vision to a field dominated at the time by stuffed shirts who saw NO value in giving tech to the masses. What did HP execs tell Jobs n' Woz when they tried to sell them on the Apple I? "What do consumers need with computers?" (paraphrasing)
        • A partnership (Score:5, Insightful)

          by sjbe (173966) on Friday August 16, 2013 @11:59AM (#44584297)

          I hate to break it to you, but without Woz it is highly likely that nobody would even have heard of Jobs.

          And without Jobs it's pretty unlikely most of us would have heard of Woz. It was a partnership and while it lasted a pretty remarkable one. Woz was a technical genius and Jobs was a sales/design genius. You need both to be successful, especially in a startup.

          • "And without Jobs it's pretty unlikely most of us would have heard of Woz."

            Well, if you had said most of the world then I would agree with you, though it is hard for me to understand why you even stated it. It is almost like you decided to read my post as suggesting that Woz was somehow more important than Jobs. In that case, I'm assuming you have no idea who Led Zeppelin is, and specifically that you've never heard of Jimmy Page.

            If by the word "us", you meant Slashdot readers, then I think you are compl

            • I knew about Wozniak well before the Internet went mainstream (circa 1982), and well before hearing about Jobs.

              How would you have heard of Woz before '82? You lived in Cupertino, CA and subscribed to the Homestead High newsletter? Or did you work for HP, where Woz was a grunt and worked for pennies? Did you belong to the Homebrew Computer Club in the late 70's?

              I'm a Japanophile and Samurai history enthousiast, I'd love to have been a personal friend of Tokugawa Ieyasu, but at least on my side the man was famous, he was the Shogun of all Japan and laid down the law of that country for 250 years. Woz? At that time? Ho

              • You should probably look up the word circa [merriam-webster.com] (e.g. 1983/84 is circa 1982). Also, I lived in La Jolla California in the early 1980s. I cut my teeth on a Kaypro luggable and an early Apple II. You should learn your computer history, specifically this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] and this one [wikipedia.org]. Then it wouldn't surprise you that people who have been in the field since the early '80s have heard of him.
                • You should probably look up the word circa...

                  Thanks, I speak english.

                  I cut my teeth on a Kaypro luggable and an early Apple II.

                  You heard of Wozniak after the Apple II came out, amazing.

                  Then it wouldn't surprise you that people who have been in the field since the early '80s have heard of him.

                  Heard of him, yes. You made it sound like you knew the fucker and dated his sister.

                  • "Thanks, I speak english."

                    My fault was in hoping for you to understand English. Clearly I was asking for too much.

                    "You heard of Wozniak after the Apple II came out, amazing."

                    Since my claim was that it wasn't particularly amazing to have heard of Woz by then if you were a true technophile, you come off as even more idiotic than usual. I'm not even going to get into your inability to punctuate properly.

                    "Heard of him, yes. You made it sound like you knew the fucker and dated his sister."

                    So you think that the

                    • My fault was in hoping for you to understand English. Clearly I was asking for too much.

                      Oh? Hows that? Looks like I understand your "english" just fine.

                      Since my claim was that it wasn't particularly amazing to have heard of Woz by then if you were a true technophile, you come off as even more idiotic than usual.

                      How's that?

                      I'm not even going to get into your inability to punctuate properly.

                      probably becuase its pedantic and infantile to do so

                      So you think that the words "I knew about Wozniak well before the Internet went mainstream" indicate an indication of personal familiarity with him. You should probably stop going around telling people you speak English, since ... and I know you won't follow this ... people usually think it means you also understand it when it is written.

                      Don't know, don't care... say what you mean, mean what you say. I'm bored.

                    • Congratulations. You win today's "Complete waste of carbon [wikipedia.org]" award. PLONK.
              • by mattack2 (1165421)

                Apple went public on December 12, 1980, so of course it was well known by 1982.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday August 16, 2013 @09:44AM (#44582949)

    Oh, those were the days. We used to laugh, and then he would deny us stock options, and then we would go to a bar and drink, and then he would curse at us and fire us. Oh man, were those great times!

    • Yeah, everything I've ever read about the dude wasn't exactly positive from an engineer's perspective. I like how Jobs "valued" art, keeping guitars from rockstars and motorcycles in the lobby of 1 Apple Way but demanding engineers spend 80% of their time in the office and farming out his products to Chinese sweatshops.
      • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Friday August 16, 2013 @10:06AM (#44583167)

        My personal favorite Steve Jobs "asshole moment" was when he came back to the company in the 90's. One of his first acts as CEO was to end all of Apple's charitable giving programs. Such a sweet fella. I think that's even better than when he used to regularly park his Porsche in handicapped spots (starting back in the 80's, long before he was sick, mind you).

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yah, that always hit me as karma.... The universe responding, "So... you want to park in handicap spots?"

        • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday August 16, 2013 @11:30AM (#44583979)
          I don't have any major problems with Jobs removing the program when the company was struggling. I have a problem with him not reinstating it when Apple got back to sound financial footing.
          • I don't have any major problems with Jobs removing the program when the company was struggling. I have a problem with him not reinstating it when Apple got back to sound financial footing.

            Or maybe he understood that the money belonged to the shareholders. If the shareholders wanted to give money to charity, they were free to do so. They didn't need a corporation to do so on their behalf. There is nothing admirable about being generous with money that doesn't belong to you. If you want to criticize Jobs for being uncharitable, you should point out that he gave away very little of his own fortune.

        • You never know .... but from everything I've read about the man, I don't think his ordering Apple to end donations to those programs was necessarily something he did out of hatred?

          Most companies do this primarily for the sake of getting tax credits and publicity. Considering there's little record of Jobs making donations to charities on even a personal level, I'd say it's as likely as anything he simply found it distasteful to donate non-anonymously?

          When you have the type of income he had, it becomes a disa

      • I believe most of the outsourcing was done by Tim Cook, then head of production and now CEO.

        But I think you kind of nailed it on the head inadvertently. Jobs strengths were about design and vision. Making sure the small things work and making sure all things fit together. Most CEOs claim to do this but few do.

        As they say, always give the devil his due.

    • LOL seriously. I roll my eyes about how an abusive boss is now being canonized as a modern day Leonardo Davinci. Um, it was his engineers who came up with a lot of the innovations and they probably could have also done those things being treated respectfully.

      • by wootcat (1151911)
        Maybe, maybe not. I've read several accounts from former Apple engineers who state Jobs pushed them to do far more than they ever thought they could. Many times, they would present work to Jobs they thought was "good enough" only to have it thrown back at them.
  • by nitehawk214 (222219) on Friday August 16, 2013 @09:45AM (#44582963)

    The one true geek character in the entire Apple saga. Well that is enough for me to not bother with it.

  • A legend? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Opportunist (166417) on Friday August 16, 2013 @09:54AM (#44583045)

    Woz is the legend. Jobs was the PR machine.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's PR machines like Jobs that *make* a legend like Apple happen.

    • Re:A legend? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by orthancstone (665890) on Friday August 16, 2013 @10:06AM (#44583169)
      That's somewhat disingenuous. Steve had great ideas and vision, but more importantly he knew how to get people to buy into it. You can downplay that as "PR" all you want, but strong leadership involves convincing others to collaborate on a common set of goals.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Woz is the legend. Jobs was the PR machine.

      Odds are exceptionally high that neither man would have been even vaguely as successful as they were without the other. They were a perfect combination of elements that demanded the other to launch them on their paths to success. Without Woz, Jobs wouldn't have had a breakthrough product to market; without Jobs, Woz would still be tinkering on brilliant and cool tech in a garage. To downplay the importance of either man in both of their stories of success is to be a blind and idiotic fool.

    • Woz is the legend. Jobs was the PR machine.

      Woz built the Apple 1 motherboard (interestingly, unlike products like Macintosh, iPod, iPad, Pentium and so on, the first Apple computer was actually called Apple 1 from the start). Jobs convinced Byte Shop to hand over $25,000 for 50 finished boards. How many would have been built without that first sale?

      • I'm not saying that Jobs had no part in the success story. But it is highly unfair to consider him the pinnacle of computer design without even mentioning Woz.

        • by Raenex (947668)

          Woz gave an interview to Charlie Rose when his iWoz book came out, and he said something to the effect that Jobs needed Woz more than Woz needed Jobs, because Woz would have been happy being a tech and making stuff at HP or whatever.

          That much is true, and Woz was a legend of the early Apple. Yet Jobs was a legend in his own right, and dismissing him as a mere PR man shows your own bias.

  • For balance (Score:4, Informative)

    by ciderbrew (1860166) on Friday August 16, 2013 @10:06AM (#44583175)
    For balance here is comedian Bill Burr talking about Jobs.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iGm4dl0Ys4 [youtube.com]
    Bill Burr - Night of Too Many Stars 2012
  • Sounds like Daniel Kottke would be a great person to know. Let him roll about those days. Thanks!
  • I sympathize with Bill Fernandez saying he won't see the movie.

  • Would Steve Jobs please come back to life so they'll stop eulogizing him. I can't believe they made a movie about him. I haven't seen any about Tesla. He was a good product design guy and made some money. 'nuf said. He's dead. Who cares?

    • Sure, they should make a movie about Tesla, but that doesn't change the fact that a movie about Jobs is worthwhile. It just needs to be an accurate representation of Jobs.
      • Why is a movie about Jobs worthwhile? Is it because he made a lot of money? Buffett, Gates and a long list of others made more. Is it because he "created an industry"? Robert Noyce had a lot more to do with that and most people have never even heard of him. Is it because Jobs was a colorful character? Taking an engineer on a walk to show him rectangles with rounded corners is anywhere near as colorful as, say Howard Hughes?

        P.S. I see my GP was already modded down, because I'm a blasphemer or a heretic or an

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          While I realize it's not specifically what you're talking about (a fictionalized movie), there have been several documentaries about Tesla on PBS, and there was a recent documentary, "Silicon Valley", that was about Fairchild Semiconductor.

    • Would Steve Jobs please come back to life so they'll stop eulogizing him. I can't believe they made a movie about him. I haven't seen any about Tesla. He was a good product design guy and made some money. 'nuf said. He's dead. Who cares?

      Well, you obviously care about it more than about Tesla movies - else you A) wouldn't have felt the need to post, and B) you would have known that there already is a movie about Tesla made in 1980. Not to mention the two that are in pre-production, nor the major role he plays in The Prestige.

  • apple greybeards slowstroking to memories of a benevolent leader. the man is more of a pop culture consumer electronics icon than he ever was a tech mogul, and the jobs film will see to it the legacy remains intact. it will pander heavily to fanboys and moviegoers alike as it eschews fact for fiction in the pursuit of product placement and marketing tie-ins. We'll ignore guys like Jonathan Ive, who were basically instrumental in making the iPod pretty. the throngs of coders and UI designers and engineer
    • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Friday August 16, 2013 @10:51AM (#44583639)

      the man is more of a pop culture consumer electronics icon than he ever was a tech mogul

      Well put. Non-techies go "ooh, ahh" because the end products are what they see. Meanwhile, how many people have heard of Nyquist, Bardeen, Brattain, Shockley, Shannon, Kilby, Noyce and all the other tech pioneers and inventors who made this stuff possible. Money? Sure, but there are others with more. Nor is Jobs even colorful enough to be interesting, like Howard Hughes. Please stop, this is getting worse than the 24x7 coverage of the OJ trial.

      • Well put. Non-techies go "ooh, ahh" because the end products are what they see. Meanwhile, how many people have heard of Nyquist, Bardeen, Brattain, Shockley, Shannon, Kilby, Noyce and all the other tech pioneers and inventors who made this stuff possible. Money? Sure, but there are others with more. Nor is Jobs even colorful enough to be interesting, like Howard Hughes. Please stop, this is getting worse than the 24x7 coverage of the OJ trial.

        Three of these people on your list invented the transistor. Fine. What can I do with a transistor? 99.99% of the population couldn't do _anything_ with it. Somebody has to take an invention and find a use for it. Without that person, the invention is worthless.

        • by Entropius (188861)

          Far more people saw the transistor and knew you could make a radio out of it than saw the Schroedinger equation and knew you could make a transistor out of it.

      • Well put. Non-techies go "ooh, ahh" because the end products are what they see. Meanwhile, how many people have heard of Nyquist, Bardeen, Brattain, Shockley, Shannon, Kilby, Noyce and all the other tech pioneers and inventors who made this stuff possible. Money? Sure, but there are others with more. Nor is Jobs even colorful enough to be interesting, like Howard Hughes. Please stop, this is getting worse than the 24x7 coverage of the OJ trial.

        Agreed. If they want a modern day Howard Hughes, I'd vote for Sir Richard Branson. Heck, even they had/have a passion for flight and would probably make for a better biopic at the end of the day. Jobs, was all about Jobs.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday August 16, 2013 @10:41AM (#44583551)

    It really amazes me how badly some people want history to read that Apple started the computer revolution. If there is any one group responsible for starting the home computing boom, it was the Homebrew Computer Club and the advent of the Altair [wikipedia.org] . Please stop trying to make Apple history happen differently than it happened. If anything, Jobs and Gates were douc^H^H businessmen and acted as such trying to screw everyone else over [winrumors.com] in order to gain wealth and power.

    • by 0racle (667029) on Friday August 16, 2013 @11:13AM (#44583829)
      I knew someone was going to say something like this, because people can't read. The article doesn't say Apple was the birth of the PC, it says Apple was at the birth of the industry, not the birth but at the birth, which is true. Therefore those who were part of Apple were at the birth of the industry as well.

      The interviewees also lament that the movie in question doesn't even mention all the others that were there to provide context, and that Apple was by no means a sure thing.
    • It really amazes me how badly some people want history to read that Apple started the computer revolution. If there is any one group responsible for starting the home computing boom, it was the Homebrew Computer Club and the advent of the Altair .

      Not really. That wasn't any "home computing" boom. That was a tiny "build your own computer" movement. "Home computing boom" started when you had computers that could be used without a soldering iron.

      There were of course other companies involved like Commodore, but without someone building computers that the masses could use there would have been no boom.

    • by msauve (701917) on Friday August 16, 2013 @11:34AM (#44584029)
      Nope. Only a techie would flip front panel switches to enter a loader, so they could then run a program from paper tape. The Altairs, IMSAIs, SOLs, North Stars, Cromemcos, Poly-88s, etc. were hobby or industrial computers, not home computers.

      It was indeed Apple, Radio Shack, and Commodore who started the home computer industry. They were the first packaged systems which could be purchased, set up, and operated by a normal person.

      Apple, especially for the relatively low cost/high performance disk drive Woz developed, which made things like Visicalc practical.
    • If there is any one group responsible for starting the home computing boom, it was the Homebrew Computer Club and the advent of the Altair

      I certainly don't idolize Jobs - He was probably mostly a dick. However, the Homebrew Computer Club and the Altair can't take the credit. The computer 'revolution' started when businesspeople took what they were doing and ran with it. Until Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Don Estridge stepped up it was just a bunch of geeks swapping floppy disks. Once you had the platfo

  • by Gravis Zero (934156) on Friday August 16, 2013 @11:04AM (#44583743)

    it's not "pure creative license," it's revisionist history.

  • People don't want "the real story" of Apple or even of Jobs.

    They don't care about Woz's tech wizardry making Apple computers what they were or the other people (or institutions, *cough*PARC*cough*) that made Apple what it is.

    They want a story about a hero, a guy who through sheer force of personality made an iconic computer company and then came back and "saved it" and made it even better than it was, creating the iPhone, etc.

    A story about a narcissist who serially manipulated people, refused to support his

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hired in the summer of 1979 and working in the Bandley Iii bullpen... Woz's was always what the company was all about... The color production trick, the state machine trick, the integer basic, and the playful hard-working attitude made my time at apple a joy. Jobs was a prick who for example told Wendell sanders where exactly on the motherboard to put the ill fated and single sourced national semiconductor clock chip and denied a friend who now works at oracle the PRE iPod stock option that jobs personally

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I was a low three-digit employee (engineer). I met jobs and knew all the players including Dan Kottke.. Dan was the most modest and happy early-timer I knew at Apple. Andy H. was happy but he was always baked so it was hard to tell. I didn't know until years later that Dan was employee twelve from the garage days, he was that self-effacing.

    Admission after thirty years: I took the diagonal cutter with the gumby green handle from Woz's office and never returned it. I still have it. Who knows what role it play

  • According to the reviews I've read the movie isn't very good. It's an amateurish portrayal where they never really delve all that deeply into Jobs' life. They want to glorify Jobs as an incredibly driven innovator, but while trying to humanize him manage to make him quite an unlikeable character. Aston Kutcher is as bad as everyone expected him to be; he's over-the-top and none of it feels authentic. It's like he's ticking off a checklist of tics, expressions and reactions.

    Apparently, the writer of The Soci

  • the way that mr. fernandez comes across in the interview, it sounds like there is a single definitive history that only he knows about and resistant to share. it's not like movies are used as definitive pieces of history, it's essentially folklore at best.

  • So, is this a Slashdot article about a Slashdot article? News must be slow today.
  • I refuse to pay $10/ticket to watch a two-hour-long commercial for Apple.

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