Dad’s teaching…

The way my dad taught me, though, was not to rote-momerise how parts are connected to form a gate, but to lean where the electrons flowed to make the gate do its job. To truly internalize and understand what is going on, not just read stuff off some blueprint or out of some book.

Electronics know-how…

What was impressive about this was that I knew so many levels of electronics, logic, binary numbers theory, soldering, and all the experiences of my life so far just added up. I could explain to judges how binary numbers worked, how you added and subtracted them and them I could explain how gates were made of diodes and transistors. I would then show the right combination of gates that made a one-bit adder (something that could only add 1 and 0). I could show them a simple modification I did that could do subtraction as well. I also told the judges how I’d solves a nonworking problem in the electronic of a fate, switching from resistors to diodes. That’s real electronics know-how.

One step at a time…

Not everyone gets in today’s engineering community, you know. THroughout my career at Apple and other places, you always find a lot of geeks who try to reach level without doing the in between ones first, and it won’t work. It never does. That’s just cognitive development, plain and simple. You can’t teach somebody two cognitive steps above from where you are… I keep telling them, like a mantra - one step as a time.

Algo…

That made me realize that a million times a second didn’t solve everything. Raw speed isn’t always the solution. Many understandable problems need an insightful, well-thoughtout approach to succeed. The approach a program uses to solve something, the rules and steps and procedures it follows, by the way, is called an algorithm.

Using minimum number of chips…

Many times I’d redesign the same computer a second or third time, using newer, better components. I developed a private little game of trying to design these minicomputers with the minimum number of chips. I have no idea why this became pastime of my life. I did it all alone in my room with my door shut. It was like a private hobby. I didn’t share this activity with anyone. It was that private.

Building a first computer…

But you know what? I knew deep inside that it didn’t matter that I had built this computer. It didn’t matter that I had built this computer. It didn’t matter because the computer couldn’t do anything useful. It couldn’t even play games, it couldn’t solve math problems It has way too little memory. The only important things was that finally finally, Id been able to actually build a computer. My very first one. It was extraordinary millstone in that sense.

stopped following…

I stopped following computer developments so closely. …. So everything was weirder then. And because I was so happy in my job (HP), I didn’t know what I was missing.

working on projects…

I think most people with day jobs like to do something totally different when they get home. Some people like to come home and watch TV. But my thing was electronics projects. It was my passion and it was my pastime. Working on projects was something I did on my own time to reward myself, even though i wasn’t getting rewarded on the outside, with money or other visible signs of success.

first colored TV…

That was amazing because back then, color TVs operated with circuits a lot more complicated than any computer was back then. And the funny thing is, that very idea came to me in the middle of the night at the lab at Atari. I did no testing on it, but I filed it away in my memory, and eventually that was something how things like color monitors ended on personal computers everywhere. Because of my wild idea that night.

Happy…

In my head, the guy who’d rather laugh than control things is going to be the one who has the happier life. That’s just my opinion. I figure happiness is the most important thing in life, just how much you laugh. The guy whose head kind of floats, he’s so happy. That’s who I am, who want to be have always wanted to be. And that’s why I never let stuff like this happened with Breakout bother me. Though you can disagree - you can even split form a relationship - you don’t have to hold it against the other. You’re just different. That’s the best way to live life and be happy. And I figured this all out even before Steve and I started Apple.

having fun….

And, of course, we didn’t need a ton of money to operate. I had a day job, so I looked at it as, Hey, cool. Extra money for pizza! As for Steve, he was living at home. I was 25 and he was 21, so what expenses could we have, really?… Apple didn’t have to make that much to sustain itself and be on-going. We weren’t paying ourselves salaries or paying rest, after all. We didn’t have any patents to pay for. Or lawyers. I twas a small time business, and we were worried that much about anything. My dad, watching this pointe out that we weren’t actually making money because we weren’t playing ourselves thing! But we didn’t care, we were having too much fun.

all those business people…

We got on the plane in San Jose and Steve and I sat together with the Apple I and II with us on board. And the funny thing was, a bunch of the people we knew from Homebrew, who now worked at all these little competing computer companies, were seated around us on the same plane. We could hear them talking in advanced business talk - you know, talking about proposals, and using business like acronyms we’d never heard before. We felt so out of these discussions. But inside, we knew we had a secret. A big secret.

starting small…

By this point, Apple was a large company, and it wasn’t and still sin’t the love of my life. The love in my life is starting small companies with small groups of friends. Bringing new ideas out and trying to build them.

giving it away…

I didn’t start Apple so that I would get more money than I would ever need to live on. I never planned in my life to seek great wealth. And I’d always been inspired by stories of those who have in order to do good in life.

advice…

No, my advise has to do with what you do when you find yourself setting there with ideas in your head and a desire to build them. Buy you’re young. You have no money. All you have is that stuff in the brain. And you think it’s good stuff, those ideas you have in your brain. Those ideas are what drive you, they’re all you think about. But there’s a big different between just thinking about investing something and doing it. So how do you do it? How do you actually set about changing the world?

disagreeing…

Another key to happiness was to realize that I didn’t have to disagree with someone and let it get all intense. If you believe in your own power to reason, you can just relax. You don’t have to feel the pressure to set out and convince anyone.

The world needs…

Excellence came to me from not having much money, and also form having good building skills but not having done these products before. I hope you will be as lucky as I am. The world needs inventors - great ones. You can be one. If you love what you do and are willing to do what it takes, it’s within your reach. And it’ll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. It’ll be worth it, I promise.