Wozniak, not surprisingly, had the opposite attitude

8 Nov

Wozniak, not surprisingly, had the opposite attitude

Wozniak, not surprisingly, had the opposite attitude.

Before the shares went public, he decided to sell, at a very

low price, two thousand of his options to forty different midlevel

 

employees. Most of his beneficiaries made enough to buy a home.

Wozniak bought a dream home for himself and his new wife, but

she soon divorced him and kept the house. He also later gave shares

outright to employees he felt had been shortchanged, including Kottke,

 

Fernandez, Wigginton, and Espinosa. Everyone loved Wozniak,

all the more so after his generosity, but many also agreed with

Jobs that he was “awfully na?ve and childlike.” A few months later

a United Way poster showing a destitute man went up on a company

bulletin board. Someone scrawled on it “Woz in 1990.”

Wozniak, who was living in an apartment nearby and working at

HP, would come by after dinner to hang out and play the video games.

He had become addicted to Pong at a Sunnyvale bowling alley,

and he was able to build a version that he hooked up to his home TV set.

One day in the late summer of 1975, Nolan Bushnell, defying the

prevailing wisdom that paddle games were over, decided to develop

a single-player version of Pong; instead of competing against an

opponent, the player would volley the ball into a wall that lost a brick

whenever it was hit. He called Jobs into his office, sketched it out

on his little blackboard, and asked him to design it. There would be

a bonus, Bushnell told him, for every chip fewer than fifty that he used.

Bushnell knew that Jobs was not a great engineer, but he assumed, correctly,

that he would recruit Wozniak, who was always hanging around.

“I looked at it as a two-for-one thing,” Bushnell recalled. “Woz was a better engineer.”

Wozniak was thrilled when Jobs asked him to help and proposed splitting the fee.

“This was the most wonderful offer in my life, to actually design a game

that people would use,” he recalled. Jobs said it had to be done in four days

and with the fewest chips possible. What he hid from Wozniak was that the

deadline was one that Jobs had imposed, because he needed to get to the

All One Farm to help prepare for the apple harvest. He also didn’t

mention that there

was a bonus tied to

keeping down

the number of chips.

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