Steve Jobs and Atari.

One of many the many jobs listed on Steve Jobs‘ resume is that of his stint at Atari beginning in May 1974. In a Gamasutra article by Frank Cifaldi, Pong engineer Allan Alcorn first met Steve Jobs when he was nothing more than another unkempt engineer coming in off of the street looking for a job. Jobs was apparently so scuzzy they didn’t know whether to call the cops on him or hire him, so after speaking with him, Allan Alcorn took a chance on Jobs and gave him a job based primarily on his passion for electronics and programming. Apparently Jobs was more than a little eccentric and hard to work with, but Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell had nothing but praise for the young man. In an interesting side story, Steve Jobs was going to quit his job at Atari to go on a spiritual journey to India. Allan Alcorn made Jobs a deal: he would pay for his ticket to India in exchange for first sending Jobs to Germany to correct a technical problem the Germans were having with a product. Jobs accepted this proposition though his German counterparts were allegedly horrified by his demeanor, lack of decorum and overall strange manner. Continuing with Atari after his travel to India nearly killed him, Steve Jobs, and surreptitiously Steve Wozniak as well, solved a chip problem for Atari’s new game “Breakout,” bringing the chip count under 50 while most games at the time used at least 100. Doing so won Steve Jobs a bounty that he is said to have split with Steve Wozniak to the tune of $350 dollars for each, but Jobs is reported to have made a bonus of $5000 for the achievement overall. It is noted that Steve Wozniak held no ill feelings over this and instead commented that he would have done it for free if he had been asked. At the time Wozniak was helping Steve with his Atari project he was working on calculators made by Hewlett Packard. The two would, of course, go on to found Apple Computer and form an indomitable partnership of geniuses in the nascent personal computer industry.