Jobs and Wozniak took the stage together for a presentation to the Homebrew Computer Club shortly after they signed Apple into existence. Wozniak held up one of their newly produced circuit boards and described the microprocessor, the eight kilobytes of
memory, and the version of BASIC he had written. He also emphasized what he called the main thing: “a human-typable keyboard instead of a stupid, cryptic front panel with a bunch of
lights and switches.” Then it was Jobs’s turn. He pointed out that the Apple, unlike the Altair, had all the essential components built in. Then he challenged them with a question: How much would people
be willing to pay for such a wonderful machine? He was trying to get them to see the amazing value of the Apple. It was a rhetorical flourish he would use at product presentations over the ensuing decades.
Had he stayed on and kept his 10% stake, at the end of 2010 it would have been worth approximately $2.6 billion. Instead he was then living alone in a small home in Pahrump, Nevada, where he
played the penny slot machines and lived off his social security check. He later claimed he had no regrets. “I made the best decision for me at the time. Both of them were real whirlwinds, and I knew my stomach and it wasn’t ready for such a ride.”
Jobs was able to get his first car, with his father’s help, when he was fifteen. It was a two-tone Nash Metropolitan that his father had fitted out with an MG engine. Jobs didn’t really like it, but he did not want to tell his father that, or miss out on the chance to have his own car. “In retrospect, a Nash Metropolitan might seem like the most
wickedly cool car,” he later said. “But at the time it was the most uncool car in the world. Still, it was a car, so that was great.” Within a year he had saved up enough
from his various jobs that he could trade up to a red Fiat 850 coupe with an Abarth engine. “My dad helped me buy and inspect it. The satisfaction of getting paid and saving up for something, that was very exciting.”
That same summer, between his sophomore and junior years at Homestead, Jobs began smoking marijuana. “I got stoned for the first time that summer. I was fifteen, and then began using pot regularly.” At one point his father found some dope in his son’s Fiat. “What’s this?” he asked. Jobs coolly replied, “That’s marijuana.” It was
one of the few times in his life that he faced his father’s anger. “That was the only real fight I ever got in with my dad,” he said. But his father again bent to his will. “He wanted me to promise that I’d never use pot again, but I wouldn’t promise.” In fact by
his senior year he was also dabbling in LSD and hash as well as exploring the mind-bending effects of sleep deprivation. “I was starting to get stoned a bit more. We would also drop acid occasionally, usually in fields or in cars.”
He also flowered intellectually during his last two years in high school and found himself at the intersection, as he had begun to see it, of those who were geekily immersed in electronics and those who were into literature and creative endeavors.
“I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology—Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear.” His other favorites included Moby-Dick and the poems of Dylan Thomas. I asked him why he related to
King Lear and Captain Ahab, two of the most willful and driven characters in literature, but he didn’t respond to the connection I was making, so I let it drop. “When I was a senior I had this phenomenal AP English class. The teacher was this