One time Al Alcorn came into the lab and introduced a new engineer dressed in
a toga and sandals named Steve Jobs. He must have been about 19. Like me he
didn't seem to have a specific job for the first few weeks and just hung
around the lab. Then he started working on "Breakout". Sometimes he would
take his pad and go down to the local park for hours. I think he came out to
lunch with us a few times but he wasn't very social. His bench was right next
to mine but he was different and a tough person to get to know and get along
Nolan Bushnell would often talk to us about his plan to get video games into
people's homes using their televisions which eventually happened with the 2600.
This could have sparked some of Steve's ideas. I know he asked Nolan to back
him financially with his plan to start a company and build a computer but
Nolan wasn't interested.
I went to see Steve years later when he was trying to get "Next" computer up
and going. As soon as I walked in he said "I don't have any jobs available".
I told him I wasn't looking for a job and started to talk about the old days
at Atari but he just wanted to talk about what he was into now and where he
thought it was going. He was always marketing his new ideas.
Many years later I was working for a company that was supplying some test
equipment to Apple and I was loaned out to them for over a year. I worked
in Apple's Milpitas building. I ran into Steve a couple of times but we
didn't have much in common. I was working there during the big earthquake
that stopped the world series in 1989. It was an "earthquake proof" building
so is rocked and rolled the whole time with almost no damage.
Steve ultimately proved to be one of the best marketers ever. I'm glad
to have known him.