I didn’t separate myself from Apple because of any lack of enthusiasm for the concept of computer products. Aside from any immediate apprehension in regard to financial risks, I left because I didn’t feel that this new enterprise would be the working environment that I saw for myself, essentially for the rest of my days. I had every belief would be successful but I didn’t know when, what I’d have to give up or sacrifice to get there, or how long it would take to achieve that success.
In addition to my rather mundane daily activities during my time as an Apple Co-founder—a full time job at Atari working for Al Acorn and directly answerable to Nolan Bushnell as Atari’s International Field Service engineer—I was writing my treatise on the true nature of money, Insolence of Office.
At the time I was earning $22,000 a year—$88,000 a year in today’s money—we’ve had at least 400% inflation since that time. The Dow Jones had just broken a thousand points. Something Steve Jobs and I had discussed many times—Jobs had asked me if I had thought the Dow Jones would ever break a thousand points. I told him that it would break 1,000, then 5,000 thousand, and at some point in the future, 10,000 points. These types of conversations were typical of those Jobs and I would have over lunch at some of the local diners surrounding Los Gatos, during our time together at Atari.
To counter much that has been written in the press about me as of late, I didn’t lose out on billions of dollars. That’s a long stretch between 1976 and 2012. Apple went through a lot of hard times and many thought Apple would simply go out of business at various times in its maturity. I perhaps lost tens of millions of dollars. And quite honestly, between just you and me, it was character building.
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Category: Apple People