Entrepreneurs

The first project Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak worked on was a high school prank

Steve Jobs, right, with his friend and co-founder, Steve Wozniak
Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Steve Jobs, right, with his friend and co-founder, Steve Wozniak

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak's relationship began well before the two launched Apple in 1976.

In fact, Apple's first employee, Bill Fernandez, introduced the co-founders in their teens, he tells Y Combinator in a series of interviews with early employees at tech companies. Fernandez had known Wozniak since the age of five: He grew up three houses down from his family in Sunnyvale, California. But he didn't meet Jobs until seventh grade.

"Neither of us wanted to play the social games that you needed to play to be accepted into any of the numerous cliques," Fernandez says of Jobs. "So we eventually gravitated towards each other and started hanging out."

While hanging out one day, Fernandez and Jobs happened to run into Wozniak, who was four years ahead of them.

"Woz was out on the street washing his car," Fernandez recalls. "And I thought to myself, 'Well you know, here are two electronics buddies. They might be interested in meeting each other and doing electronics stuff.' So, you know, we walked over to the car and I introduced them."

While the two Steves didn't necessarily hit it off, "they eventually became friends and started doing projects together," Fernandez says. "It turned out that Woz loved pranks and Jobs had a very counter-cultural streak."

Steve Jobs, left, and Steve Wozniak in 1977
Tom Munnecke | Getty Images
Steve Jobs, left, and Steve Wozniak in 1977

It's fitting then that the eventual co-founders of Apple first collaborated on a high school prank. Jobs and Wozniak had "this huge sign of a hand with the middle finger raised," Fernandez says. "It was a huge cloth poster and they put it up on the roof of our school and weighted the ends with rocks, I think.

"This was the end of the building that all of the parents faced during graduation. And the idea was that during graduation they would cut some strings which would release this thing to roll down over the side of the building and it said, 'Best Wishes, Class of '72!' and it was giving them the finger."

A few years later, the two pranksters "went on to doing blue boxes together," Fernandez says. And the rest is history.

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