Apple’s employee number one

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Craig Cannon, interviewing Apples’ first employee (beyond Steve Jobs and Woz), Bill Fernandez:

Craig: So at what point do Woz and Jobs come together and decide that they want to start working on Apple?

Bill: Okay, well during this Hewlett-Packard period when Woz and I were both there, Woz in the after hours designed his own Pong game. Pong was the first really popular, you know, video game that bars and pizza shops and restaurants could buy and put it in stores and people would come and put quarters in and play. So he built his own circuitry and used it with a small black and white TV set as the display.

Then a couple of things happened. He started working on building his own computer and he started attending the Homebrew Computer Club that was happening at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, SLAC.

So all of those things happened at the same time and then as his computer came together he would take it and show it off after the meetings. At some point there was enough interest shown that Jobs became aware of this. I don’t know if he went to the Homebrew Computer Club or just when he and Woz were together Woz was talking about it. Basically Jobs said, “You know, we could make printed circuit boards and just sell the computer already assembled so people wouldn’t even have to buy all the parts on the open market and figure out how to wire them together. We could just do it for them.” And so that was the beginning of Apple Computer.

Jobs got a printed circuit board made and he figured out where to get all the parts. They decided what to name the company and then, this is funny, Jobs got a front office front. There was a company at 770 Welch Road. If you look at the old literature that was their address, Apple’s mailing address. So there was this company on the second floor that had people who would answer the phone and depending upon what number was called would say, “Hello, this is Apple Computer, how can I help you?” And would receive packages mailed to Apple Computer and would mail things from Apple Computer. Jobs was working in his father’s garage and in his bedroom, you know, and this was like our front to make it look legit.

This is a nice, long interview, with lots of edge-on views of the stuff of legend, the birth of Apple.

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Khürt Williams

Khürt Williams is Principal for Monkey Hill, LLC, a Skillman, New Jersey based information security governance, risk and compliance consultancy. He's also an avid landscape photographer, and *nix geek.