Apple, unlike any other company in the world, has its identity tied to one individual: Steve Jobs.And without question, Jobs is the driving force that turned Apple into the world’s most valuable tech company.
But, Jobs didn’t do it alone.
We decided to take a look at the first 10 employees at Apple, and see what they did and where they are today.
Apple’s first CEO Michael Scott gave us a bunch of colour on the early days, and Steve Wozniak helped with a list of early employees, though it was based on his memory. We got our full list from another early employee. (We don’t think this list has been produced anywhere else.)
The Apple employee numbers aren’t the order each person joined the company. When Scott came to Apple he had to give out numbers to each employee to make life easier for payroll.
Martin thought Apple was going to flop, but joined the company anyway. He stayed at Apple until 1983. From Apple he jumped to Starstruck, a company working on space travel which had Michael Scott as a key employee. (Scott recruited Martin for Apple.)
Martin is now a private investor and is on the board of Canadian tech company LeoNovus.
Livingston was the first secretary at Apple and she did a lot. Michael Scott, who hired her, said she basically did all the odds and ends work for Apple in the early days. She recently became a grandmother, and we're not sure if or where she's working now.
Chris Espinosa joined Apple when he was 14, and still in high school. He's still with the company today. On his personal blog he said he ended up with employee number eight because when CEO Michael 'Scotty' Scott was giving out numbers, he was at school. He arrived late and ended up with the number.
Scott tells us he gave himself the number 7, as a joke. It's a reference to James Bond, 007. Scotty, as he was known, picked all the numbers for employees and organised the company. He was brought in as CEO by Mike Markkula, the man that invested $250,000 in Apple, and helped it map out its business plan.
Scott is currently interested in gems. He's also working on making the Star Trek tricoder a reality, so people can identify stones in the forest and find out what they are.
Wigginton's main job was to rewrite BASIC so it would work for the Apple II, Michael Scott told us in an interview. In his post Apple-life he's worked at eBay, Google, Chegg, and he's now at Square, the payment startup.
Holt was highly regarded designer, who was sceptical of joining Apple initially. But, in 'Return To Magic Kingdom,' he says Steve Jobs 'conned' him into taking the job. Holt was a communist who helped developed the power supply for the Apple II.
Michael Scott told us, 'One thing Holt has to his credit is that he created the switching power supply that allowed us to do a very lightweight computer compared to everybody else's that used transformers.'
After six years at Apple, Holt says he was pushed out of the company by new management.
Bill Fernandez first met Steve Jobs at Cupertino Junior High School when Jobs was a new student. Fernandez was also a neighbour and friend of Steve Wozniak. When Jobs and Wozniak started Apple, they hired Fernandez as the first employee. He stayed with Apple until 1993, when he left to work at Ingres, a database company. He now has a design firm and he's working on user interfaces.
Markkula was as instrumental in developing Apple as either of two Steves. He made an investment in Apple worth $250,000. In exchange for his investment, he took 30% of the company. He also helped manage the company, develop a business plan, hired the first CEO, and insisted Steve Wozniak join Apple. (At the time he was thinking about joining HP.)
Markkula was an early Intel employee and became a millionaire by the time he was 30 when the company went public. According to 'Return to the Little Kingdom,' his investment in Apple was less than 10% of his total worth at the time.
He stayed at Apple until 1997, overseeing the ouster and return of Steve Jobs. When Jobs came back, Markkula was left. He has since invested in a few startups and donated money to Santa Clara University, for the Markkula centre for Applied Ethics.
Why is Jobs employee number two? Michael Scott says, 'I know I didn't give it to Jobs because I thought that would be too much.'
Wozniak almost didn't join Apple. He had a job offer at HP in Oregon, and was considering taking it because he thought Apple would crash and burn*. He made the right choice. He's still an Apple employee on some nominal level, and still talks to Steve Jobs from time to time.
*Update: In the comments of this post, Wozniak writes, 'Uh, I never thought Apple would crash and burn. Some turned down our early offers thinking it wasn't going to be 'big enough' but in my case it was just a love for my job and company at the time. I'd designed all the Apple stuff in a year on my own time and wanted to continue that way, but Markkula wouldn't accept it. I had to think long and hard about who I was and finally came to the conclusion that I could do it as an engineer and overcame my fear of being involved in running a company. Poor shy unpolitical I would have been a loser in the 'running' end. Boy did this article have it wrong.'
In the book 'Return to the Little Kingdom' it says Wozniak told his parents with 'steadfast assurance that Apple's bigtime investor would lose every penny,' which indicated to use he lacked faith in Apple's success.
Oof. Ronald Wayne was an original partner in Apple with Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, but decided the business wasn't for him. He left. To make things official Markkula bought out his stake in the company for $1,700 in 1977.
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