The Jobs family
Steve Jobs was born on February 24, 1955, in the city of San Francisco. His biological mother was either an unwed graduate student named Joanne Simpson, and his biological father was a political science or mathematics professor, a native Syrian named Abdulfattah John Jandali.
Being born out of wedlock in the puritan America of the 1950s, the baby was put up for adoption. Joanne had a college education, and she insisted that the future parents of her boy be just as well educated. Unfortunately, the candidates, Paul and Clara Jobs, did not meet her expectations: they were a lower-middle class couple that had settled in the Bay Area after the war. Paul was a machinist from the Midwest who had not even graduated from high school. In the end, Joanne agreed to have her baby adopted by them, under the firm condition that they later send him to college.
Paul and Clara called their son Steven Paul. While Steve was still a toddler, the couple moved to the Santa Clara county, later to be known as Silicon Valley. They adopted another baby, a girl called Patti, three years later in 1958.
Steve was quite a turbulent child. He really didn’t care about school for some time — until he reached the 4th grade, and had Imogene “Teddy” Hill as a teacher.
She was one of the saints of my life. She taught an advanced fourth grade class, and it took her about a month to get hip to my situation. She bribed me into learning.
She did bribe him, with candy and $5 bills from her own money. He quickly became hooked — so much so that he skipped the 5th grade and went straight to middle school, namely Crittenden Middle School. It was in a poor area. Most kids did not work much there, they were rather fond of bullying other kids, such as the young Steve. One day he came home and declared that if he wasn’t transferred to another school, he would stop going to school altogether. He was 11. Paul and Clara complied, and the Jobses moved to the cozier city of Los Altos, so that Steve could go to Cupertino Junior High. This proved to be decisive for Steve’s future.
The birth of Silicon Valley
The Santa Clara county, south of San Francisco, California, was a bourgeoning place for computer engineering as early as the 1960s. Indeed, after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, the country engaged in the Space Race, and billions of dollars of federal money were poured into technology companies to advance the state of the art of computing.
One of those firms was the Shockley Semiconductor Company, from William Schockley, who got the Nobel Prize of Physics in 1956 for inventing the transistor. Another dominant firm was Hewlett Packard, founded in Palo Alto in 1939. HP was a company of engineers, selling products to engineers. There were tons of them scattered all over this valley of apricot orchards.
As Steve was growing up in Los Altos, he became increasingly curious about the world of electronics that filled his neighbors’ garages. His own father introduced him to Heathkits, which fascinated him:
These Heathkits would come with these detailed manuals about how to put this thing together and all the parts would be laid out in a certain way and color coded. You'd actually build this thing yourself. I would say that this gave one several things. It gave one a understanding of what was inside a ﬁnished product and how it worked because it would include a theory of operation but maybe even more importantly it gave one the sense that one could build the things that one saw around oneself in the universe. These things were not mysteries anymore. I mean you looked at a television set you would think that "I haven't built one of those but I could. There's one of those in the Heathkit catalog and I've built two other Heathkits so I could build that." Things became much more clear that they were the results of human creation not these magical things that just appeared in one's environment that one had no…