This is a transcript I’ve done from a rare video of Steve Jobs addressing an audience in 1980 about their very first computer idea/build and how their ‘ethos’ started. Take it away Steve….
We had absolutely no idea what people were going to do with these things when we started out. As a matter of fact the 2 people it was designed for was ‘Woz’ and Myself’ because we couldn’t afford to buy a computer kit on the market. So … we liberated some parts from Hewlett Packard and Atari and worked on the design for about six months and decided that we would build our own computer so we built one. And ah, Woz was up till 4 in the morning for many moons and we got it working and we showed some of our friends and immediately everybody wanted one, and it turned out it took about 40 hours to build one of these things and about another 20, 30, 40 to de-bug it. And we had a lot of friends who worked at similar companies who could liberate the parts also, and we found ourselves spending every spare moment of our time helping our friends to build computers and it was just getting to be a tremendous drain on our lives so we got the idea one day that we could make a printed circuit board without the parts and sell these blank printed circuit boards to our friends and cut the assembly and de-bug time down to, you know, 5 or 10 hours. So Woz sold his HP65 calculator and I sold my van and we got 1300 bucks together and paid our friend of ours who was this PC board layout person 1300 bucks to do us a layout and decided we would sell printed circuit boards at twice what it cost to build them and hopefully recoup our calculator and transportation at some later date. So that’s what we did. And I was out trying to peddle PC boards one day and walked into a bike shop, the first bike shop in Mountain View and Paul Terrell the then owner of the bike shop said he would like to take 50 of these computers and I saw dollar signs in front of my eyes, but he had one catch which is he wanted them fully assembled and tested ready to go which is a new twist, so we spent the next 5 days on the phone to distributors and convinced the electronic parts distributors around here to give us about $10,000 worth of parts on thin air…just on enthusiasm, so we got the parts and we built 100 computers and we sold 50 of them for cash and in 29 days paid off the distributors and that’s how we got started!
So we had 50 computers left over, well that meant we had to sell them so then we started worrying about marketing, worrying about distribution and we got on the phone to the other computer stores around town and gradually the whole thing began to build momentum and at that point of time we had some feeling that we were on to something…but the feeling is so different than the experience of actually seeing it happen right now…its entirely different and sometimes a lot of people ask did you know it was going to mushroom into this phenomenon and you could say yeah you know we planned it out we had lead on a piece of paper but its different from the experience of seeing 500 people working at Apple Computers its different from the experience of seeing 5 year old kid who really understands the tool he’s got in front of him. And the best analogy I’ve ever heard is scientific America I think it was that did a study in the early 70’s on the efficiency of locomotion and thats what they did, was for all different species of things on the planet – bird and cats and dogs, fish and man and goats and stuff, they measured how much energy does it take for a goat to get from here to there, right, kilocalories per kilometre or something like that, I don’t know what they measured it in,
and they ranked them, they published a list and the Condor won. The Condor took the least amount of energy to get from here to there, and man he didn’t do so well, he came in with a rather unimpressive showing about a third of the way down the list. But fortunately someone at Scientific America was insightful enough to test man with a bicycle, and man with a bicycle won, twice as good as the Condor all the way off the list. And what it showed was that man as a tool maker has the ability to make a tool to amplify an inherent ability that he has, and thats exactly what we’re doing here.
The complete video is about 22 minutes long and can be viewed here..