The childhood of Steve Jobs: abandoned, chosen and special | Digital Trends Spanish


Abandoned, chosen and special. This is how the American journalist Walter Isaacson defined Steve Jobs’s childhood in the eponymous biography he published in 2011 under the authorization of the founder of Apple. If childhood is the foundational floor, that of Steve Jobs – born on February 24, 1955 in Palo Alto – was marked from the beginning of his days by being put up for adoption by a pregnant woman, Joanne Schieble, conflicted by the canons of the patriarchy, and a father and mother, Paul and Clara Jobs, who from childhood impressed on their son the belief that he was someone special.

The genius of Steve Jobs is recognized from his first steps in the technology industry, first as an employee of Atari in 1974 and later with Apple in 1976. But as with other prodigies, childhood played a fundamental role in the formation of his Curiosity for electronics, than for his preference for minimalist design and not to mention his known despotic and insensitive character.

His biographer describes that, despite the fact that Jobs always denied it, his character as an adopted son marked him in an ambivalent way. Greg Calhoun, a friend of Jobs’s since his days as a college dropout, said the Apple founder constantly talked about his adoption. “It made him more independent, he followed a different beat from the others and that was because he was in a different world from the one he was born into,” he says in Isaacson’s biography. Chrisann Brennan, mother of Jobs’ first daughter, does not hesitate to point out that his status as an adopted son explains why, paradox aside, he abandoned her when he was 23 years old, the same age as his biological father when he gave him up for adoption.

Jobs had known since childhood that he had been adopted. He must have been between six and seven years old when, when he told a neighbor, she asked him with cruel innocence if his real parents did not want him then. “My head was filled with thunder,” Jobs told Isaacson. His parents tried to contain him by telling him that he had been a chosen child and that because of this, he was special. The anecdotal episode gave rise to the other two conceptual pillars of Jobs.

Cars and a modern house for workers

Steve Jobs became interested in technology through his father and the context of California in the 60s, mixed by the hippie revolution and the beginnings of the industry of what would later become one of its faces, Silicon Valley.

His father, Paul Jobs, was a Coast Guard mechanic who did not finish high school. Steve lived in Palo Alto after his family moved due to the collection job his dad took on. It was in the garage of that house where his father tried instill in him a taste for mechanics and cars. Although the result is rather debatable, there was no doubt that those afternoons unleashed his curiosity. “I did not have a vast knowledge of electronics, but I often found it in cars and some of the objects that I repaired. He taught me the basics and I was very interested in that, ”Jobs told his biographer.

Already during his adolescence and in the consolidation of Silicon Valley after the success of Hewlett-Packard, Jobs found in his neighbor Larry Lang – precisely an HP engineer – the next starting point for his taste for electronics. The Apple founder told Isaacson that the engineer made him speak into a carbon microphone, a basic experiment to understand the principles of broadcasting. Jobs recounted what happened to his father, who did not give credit until he saw it for himself. According to Isaacson, that anecdote revealed to Jobs that, despite being just a young man, he was smarter than his parents.

The afternoons he spent between Lang’s garage and his father Paul’s took place in the city of Mountain View, where decades later Google would set up its headquarters. Jobs’ residence was at 286 Diablo Avenue and was a home built by Joseph Eichler, a real estate developer who built more than 11,000 homes at various sites in California. They were cheap houses, for ordinary Americans, but also modern. “Their houses were elegant, cheap and good. They offered a clean design and simple style to people with few resources, ”Jobs said of Eichler’s work. “That was the original vision for Apple,” he recalled.

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