Steve Jobs may have been a brilliant businessman, but he wasn’t always nice.
In the early Apple days, when the company was still being run in a garage, Steve Jobs and Apple’s board refused to give some early employees stock options.
Apple employee #12 Daniel Kottke was one of these people. He had traveled to India with Jobs and was his college friend, but Jobs still didn’t feel he was worthy of stock. Kottke later told Dice that he hoped to meet Facebook’s ousted founder, Eduardo Saverin, because he felt the two had similar stories.
“It got to be the summer of 1980 and I never had a stock option,” Kottke told Dice. “No one would ever talk to me about it. All I wanted was just to touch base with Steve about it, and he just would not talk to me. He kept me waiting outside his office for hours, on multiple occasions. It was very cold. And you know how he is, he would just be on the phone endlessly until I went away, because he didn’t want to talk to me.”
When another Apple executive later confronted Jobs about Kottke’s lack of stock options and offered to match whatever Jobs gave him, Jobs infamously replied, “OK. I will give him zero.”
Apple’s other co-founder, Steve Wozniak, didn’t feel this was right. When Jobs refused to hand over stock options, Wozniak dug into his own pockets and offered $US10 million worth of Apple stock to early garage employees. He says it was “the right thing” to do.
He recounts in a comment on Google+: “And when Jobs (in the [Steve Jobs] movie, but really a board does this) denied stock to the early garage team (some not even shown) I’m surprised that [the producers] chose not to show me giving about $US10M of my own stock to them because it was the right thing. And $US10M was a lot in that time.”