Veterans of the Mac team had learned that they could stand up to Jobs. If they knew what they were talking about, he would tolerate the pushback, even admire it. By 1983 those most familiar with his reality distortion field had discovered
something further: They could, if necessary, just quietly disregard what he decreed. If they turned out to be right, he would appreciate their renegade attitude and willingness to ignore authority. After all, that’s what he did.
cultural mix that the catalog sought to celebrate. “Steve is right at the nexus of the counterculture and technology,” he said. “He got the notion of tools for human use.”
Brand’s catalog was published with the help of the Portola Institute, a foundation dedicated to the fledgling field of computer education. The foundation also helped launch the People’s Computer Company, which was not a company at all but a
newsletter and organization with the motto “Computer power to the people.” There were occasional Wednesday-night potluck dinners, and two of the regulars, Gordon French and Fred Moore, decided to create a more formal club where news about personal electronics could be shared.
They were energized by the arrival of the January 1975 issue of Popular Mechanics, which had on its cover the first personal computer kit, the Altair. The Altair wasn’t much—just a $495 pile of parts that had to be soldered to a board that would then do
little—but for hobbyists and hackers it heralded the dawn of a new era. Bill Gates and Paul Allen read the magazine and started working on a version of BASIC, an easy-to-use programming language, for the Altair. It also caught the attention of Jobs
and Wozniak. And when an Altair kit arrived at the People’s Computer Company, it became the centerpiece for the first meeting of the club that