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Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak are widely recognized as the major driving forces behind the creation of Apple computer, but there were also several other key employees in the early years who helped establish what is now one of the most valuable companies in the world.

TechRepublic has published an in-depth profile and interview with Bill Fernandez, who was Apple's first employee when the company was incorporated in 1977. Fernandez, who helped build the first Apple I and Apple II computers and is credited with introducing Jobs and Wozniak, shares some details on working with a young Steve Jobs, the early days of Apple, and more in the piece.

fernandez-with-apple-i.jpg
Image courtesy of Bill Fernandez, via TechRepublic
Fernandez, who grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley, went to middle school with Steve Jobs, who he described as "nerdy, socially inept, and intellectual," qualities that led to a quick friendship.
We both also were not at all interested in the superficial bases upon which the other kids were basing their relationships, and we had no particular interest in living shallow lives to be accepted. So we didn't have many friends."
Jobs reportedly spent quite a bit of time over at Fernandez's house, which his mother had decorated in a "meticulous Japanese style" that Fernandez credits as an early influence on Jobs' interest in minimalist design.

Fernandez was also a close friend of Steve Wozniak and introduced him to Steve Jobs, which led to the famous partnership between the two. After Jobs and Wozniak formed Apple, they hired Fernandez as an electronic technician and he became the first official full-time employee.

According to Fernandez, he drew the first completed schematic of the working Apple II after reverse engineering Wozniak's design to standardize it for production. The schematic went on to be used to build the Apple II, making history.
"When Woz designed something, most of the design was in his head," said Fernandez. "The only documentation he needed was a few pages of notes and sketches to remind him of the overall architecture and any tricky parts. What the company needed was a complete schematic showing all the components and exactly how they were wired together."
As the first Apple computers grew in popularity, the company began hiring more employees and started inching its way towards an IPO. Despite his position as one of the early employees, Fernandez, as a technician, was not able to advance in the company and wasn't offered stock options. "There was no growth path for me," he said, stating that he became bored and dissatisfied with the work.

With no prospects for advancement, Fernandez left Apple just 18 months after he started working for the company. Fernandez later returned as a member of the technical staff after spending some time in Japan, going on to work on the first Macintosh. Though he was never officially awarded stock, Wozniak gave out shares of his own stock to many early employees, including Fernandez, Chris Espinosa, and Daniel Kottke.

Bill Fernandez's full interview, which goes into far more detail about the early days of Apple and his life after leaving the company, can be read over at TechRepublic.

Article Link: Early Apple Employee Bill Fernandez Shares Details on Steve Jobs, Creation of the Apple II, and More
 

Rocketman

macrumors 603
How many shares of stock did Woz give him? Went up more than 200x.

Shatner immediately sold his Priceline shares paid in kind. :D Went up more than 20x.

Stern got Sirius shares as part of his contract for $500m, and reportedly sold most of them right away, before they more than 4x.
 

Daalseth

macrumors 6502a
Jun 16, 2012
599
306
I want an Apple II :(

I had two, a IIc and then a IIe with the big (1mb) RAM card. On the latter I could load all of AppleWorks at once. We organized our wedding with the DB, writing, and spreadsheet parts of AW. I also I played Chuck Yeager Flight Simulator for hours.

Good times
 

nostaws

macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2006
521
472
for all the people bagging on Woz in the comments in the last article:

"Though he was never officially awarded stock, Wozniak gave out shares of his own stock to many early employees, including Fernandez, Chris Espinosa, and Daniel Kottke. "
 
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Truefan31

macrumors 68040
Aug 25, 2012
3,587
835
lol man jobs was likely a douchebag. Didn't offer growth or stock to your middle school friend and first employee?
 

MattMJB0188

macrumors 68020
Dec 28, 2009
2,032
583
ENOUGH with Jobs!!! The man was such a tool. Why do we still talk about him years after his demise. STEVE IS DEAD. D.E.A.D. Gone forever!!!
 

ArtOfWarfare

macrumors G3
Nov 26, 2007
9,577
6,091
lol man jobs was likely a douchebag. Didn't offer growth or stock to your middle school friend and first employee?

Startup I'm part of only gave stock to the initial four members. Apple gave stock to three people. I don't think it's weird to not give this guy any stock. You either pay someone in stock or cash (or a mix). The stock is worthless initially, but has the potential to become very valuable (or never become valuable at all), whereas the cash has relatively constant value. I figure Apple gave him a lot of cash. If he wasn't content with the money, he should have asked for more or left.

----------

ENOUGH with Jobs!!! The man was such a tool. Why do we still talk about him years after his demise. STEVE IS DEAD. D.E.A.D. Gone forever!!!

Steve's spirit/memory lives on forever in the hearts and minds of many (my own included). Physical death doesn't have to be the end... although I guess you must be terrified of your own mortality, if you think it is.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Penryn
Nov 14, 2011
24,458
31,733
Chris Espinosa still works at Apple. I would assume he's got the most tenure of any employee at Apple (not counting Woz).
 

MattMJB0188

macrumors 68020
Dec 28, 2009
2,032
583
Startup I'm part of only gave stock to the initial four members. Apple gave stock to three people. I don't think it's weird to not give this guy any stock. You either pay someone in stock or cash (or a mix). The stock is worthless initially, but has the potential to become very valuable (or never become valuable at all), whereas the cash has relatively constant value. I figure Apple gave him a lot of cash. If he wasn't content with the money, he should have asked for more or left.

----------



Steve's spirit/memory lives on forever in the hearts and minds of many (my own included). Physical death doesn't have to be the end... although I guess you must be terrified of your own mortality, if you think it is.

Yeah what was I thinking. That must be it. Thank you so much for your wonderful insight to point that out. After reading it, I feel so much smarter now.
 

Wombat-man

macrumors member
Nov 11, 2010
40
99
How many shares of stock did Woz give him? Went up more than 200x.

Shatner immediately sold his Priceline shares paid in kind. :D Went up more than 20x.

Stern got Sirius shares as part of his contract for $500m, and reportedly sold most of them right away, before they more than 4x.
On the other hand, a friend of mine had stock options in both AOL and MCI.
Those would have been better to sell much earlier than my friend did...
 

macduke

macrumors G5
Jun 27, 2007
13,268
19,988
It would have been really fun to work for those companies back then. Too bad it can never happen again. You can't just build smartphones in your garage. It requires million dollar factory lines with immensely small parts. There are all of these agreements that must be signed and most minimum orders are incredibly huge. There will never be another Wozniak-like character tinkering in a garage because the barrier to entry for technology is too high. You can't compete. You'd have to invent something completely different from silicon that you could easily produce yourself. Good luck with that! The industry is moving towards nano-scale graphene and I'd like to see anyone make that in their garage.
 

Truefan31

macrumors 68040
Aug 25, 2012
3,587
835
Startup I'm part of only gave stock to the initial four members. Apple gave stock to three people. I don't think it's weird to not give this guy any stock. You either pay someone in stock or cash (or a mix). The stock is worthless initially, but has the potential to become very valuable (or never become valuable at all), whereas the cash has relatively constant value. I figure Apple gave him a lot of cash. If he wasn't content with the money, he should have asked for more or left.

----------



Steve's spirit/memory lives on forever in the hearts and minds of many (my own included). Physical death doesn't have to be the end... although I guess you must be terrified of your own mortality, if you think it is.


Ok. He was employee #1. He introduced woz to jobs. They were childhood friends. It's a d**k move to not offer him a slice of the company. If he left after 18 months there's a reason. No growth, no options. It's messed up. If it wasn't then woz wouldn't have to give him his own shares.
 

Karma*Police

macrumors 68030
Jul 15, 2012
2,529
2,883
lol man jobs was likely a douchebag. Didn't offer growth or stock to your middle school friend and first employee?

It seems harsh, but that's why Jobs was so successful. Business and friendship don't always mix. If he ran it like Woz, I think we all know that Apple wouldn't have lasted very long.
 

jayducharme

macrumors 601
Jun 22, 2006
4,564
6,144
The thick of it
Maybe Apple should hire Fernandez back...

"But in moving towards flat design we are losing much of the wisdom that was embedded in the old 3D style of UI. For example: A user must be able to glance at a screen and know what is an interactive element (e.g., a button or link) and what is not (e.g., a label or motto); A user must be able to tell at a glance what an interactive element does (does it initiate a process, link to another page, download a document, etc.?); The UI should be explorable, discoverable, and self-explanatory. But many apps and websites, in the interest of a clean, spartan visual appearance, leave important UI controls hidden until the mouse hovers over just the right area or the app is in just the right state. This leaves the user in the dark, often frustrated and disempowered."

Fernandez sees the current state of flat design as "a very mixed thing" and worries "we have lost a lot of the wisdom of the past, as we're moving into a cleaner future."
 

bradl

macrumors 603
Jun 16, 2008
5,940
17,433
I had two, a IIc and then a IIe with the big (1mb) RAM card. On the latter I could load all of AppleWorks at once. We organized our wedding with the DB, writing, and spreadsheet parts of AW. I also I played Chuck Yeager Flight Simulator for hours.

Good times

Still have my IIe. 64K of RAM, 80 column card.

All of my reports and term papers from 2nd grade up till graduation was written on that, plus enjoyed my many days of Lemonade Stand, Spy Hunter, Zaxxon, and Choplifter.

Seeing how nostalgia (retro) is back in style, I'm so glad I convinced my mother to not get rid of it, especially when it is Smithsonian material now.

Now.. if only I can get back another original Intellivision.

BL.
 

norrismantooth

macrumors regular
Nov 29, 2010
185
44
Dallas, TX
ENOUGH with Jobs!!! The man was such a tool. Why do we still talk about him years after his demise. STEVE IS DEAD. D.E.A.D. Gone forever!!!

Can Apple please release the DNA series of iPhone? A series that includes ACTUAL Steve Jobs DNA inside the phone? Maybe a little window where we can view it? I need more Steve Jobs.

----------

Woz seems like a solid guy.

He is, and is Apple Fanboy #1.
 

Poisonivy326

macrumors 6502
Nov 25, 2012
485
97
This is a wonderful article, very rich in detail. But employee #4 and he didn't get offered stock options? Wow. I couldn't picture Mark Zuckerberg or Tim Cook doing that.

Woz giving him some shares was a nice gesture though.
 

WardC

macrumors 68030
Oct 17, 2007
2,727
215
Fort Worth, TX
I will have to disagree with some of the scathing comments above, from people who have never met Steve or ever even talked to him!

I have met Steve, and talked with him. I met him at Macworld Expo 2000 after he gave the keynote address...I broke through the crowds of media reporters, made my way to the front of the stage because I wanted to get a chance to meet him. When he was done talking to a reporter, he turned right around, and was right in front of me -- so...I introduced myself to him...

He was actually very friendly. He welcomed me to San Francisco, and said "I'm glad you could make it out here. This is a wonderful city." I told him that I was the Vice President of my local MUG and he told me "It's great to have young people like you who are interested in technology, We need more young people like you..." I told him about how we got my Dad his first computer, a Bondi Blue iMac and that he absolutely loves it. I told him about my computers, PowerMac G4 and that I was very impressed by the new designs since he became CEO.

Overall, he was more than kind, very friendly, and cordial. He even was smiling and joking around. Not a rude, arrogant man at all.

The thing is...Steve took business and his company seriously. He demanded excellence. He demanded things be done right, the right way. If it wasn't right, it wasn't right, and it wasn't good enough. He was brutal to employees, but only if they were not meeting expectations or performing up to exactly 100% -- because he demanded 100% at all times, and for the products that Apple developed to be on a level of sheer greatness...

And, that is why Apple is where it is today. If you accept mediocre and make mediocre products, you will be remembered as a mediocre company. And Steve wanted Apple to be remembered as the best there is...the best of the best.

So, please...do not go saying profane things about Steve. The truth is he was two different people entirely...the Steve at work at Apple and the man you meet on the street or at a coffee shop....Steve was not a bad person. I know this firsthand...he wasn't. So stop with all this.
 

Designer Dale

macrumors 68040
Mar 25, 2009
3,950
100
Folding space
Ok. He was employee #1. He introduced woz to jobs. They were childhood friends. It's a d**k move to not offer him a slice of the company. If he left after 18 months there's a reason. No growth, no options. It's messed up. If it wasn't then woz wouldn't have to give him his own shares.

Most startups don't last 6 months, let alone 18. Apple nearly went broke several times before becoming the beast it is today. Patience is necessary for such rewards, Grasshopper...

It seems harsh, but that's why Jobs was so successful. Business and friendship don't always mix. If he ran it like Woz, I think we all know that Apple wouldn't have lasted very long.

Yes. Woz was working for HP while he designed the Apple and wanted to give them the design because he believed it was rightly theirs. I need to reread the book, but I think he took the idea to HP and they turned them down. They were the big calculator company, after all...

Dale
 
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