Apple's first employee opens up about Steve Jobs, the creation of Apple II

In a rare interview, Apple's first employee, Bill Fernandez, opened up about working with Steve Jobs, his role in building the Apple II computer, and how he played matchmaker to introduce Jobs to co-founder Steve Wozniak.

In his interview with Jason Hiner on Tech Republic, Fernandez said that he and Jobs became fast friends in middle school in Cupertino, California:

"We were both nerdy, socially inept, intellectual," said Fernandez, "and we gravitated towards each other. 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."

It was Fernandez who had introduced Jobs to Wozniak:

It wasn't long after he introduced Jobs and Wozniak that Fernandez noticed the two of them hanging out on their own. They collaborated on two things: electronics projects and practical jokes. Eventually, the two of them starting working on professional projects together when Jobs landed a gig with Noah Bushnell at Atari and enlisted help from Wozniak in creating the game "Breakout."

When the pair was ready to take on the personal computing revolution, Fernandez was hired to help:

As Fernandez remembered it, they told him they needed an electronic technician and he was the best one they knew, and would he come work for them at their little company."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."

Unfortunately, as Apple grew, Fernandez felt like there wasn't room to grow at Apple. He left and eventually returned to Apple and was tasked to work on the Macintosh, where he honed in on UI and design:

One of the skillsets that Fernandez was developing along the way was designing interfaces for humans -- both virtual interfaces and physical interfaces. The Mac team turned out to be an amazing place to cut his teeth on these ideas because the team dove deeply into the concept of user interface and how to build a new one that average people could intuitively understand. They famously settled on the metaphor of a physical desk, and they imposed a tremendous amount of discipline on themselves to design a system that wouldn't confuse users.

If you're interested in the history of Apple, be sure to catch Fernandez's full interview at the source link below:

Source: Tech Republic

Chuong H Nguyen