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Steve Jobs Describes the First Time He Met a Gay Man, in New Bio

I've been reading Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs , which came out today, and I was curious to know if the book described any of Jobs' interactions with gay and lesbian friends or employees.

JobsThe book does, in fact, discuss Steve Jobs' first encounter with someone gay, and how he handled it, and it happened shortly after February 1974, when Jobs became one of the first fifty employees of Atari.

Jobs developed a reputation at the company for arrogance and body odor, two qualities that made many of the employees want to avoid him. He did find one close friend, however.

I've transcribed this segment by hand, so apologies in advance for any inaccuracies to the original text, or typos:

Not all of his coworkers shunned Jobs. He became friends with Ron Wayne, a draftsman at Atari, who had earlier started a company that built slot machines. It subsequently failed, but Jobs became fascinated with the idea that it was possible to start your own company. "Ron was an amazing guy," said Jobs. "He started companies. I had never met anybody like that." He proposed to Wayne that they go into business together; Jobs said he could borrow $50,000, and they could design and market a slot machine. But Wayne had already been burned in business, so he declined. "I said that was the quickest way to lose $50,000," Wayne recalled, "but I admired the fact that he had a burning drive to start his own business."

One weekend Jobs was visiting Wayne at his apartment, engaging as they often did in philosophical discussions, when Wayne said that there was something he needed to tell him. "Yeah, I think I know what it is," Jobs replied. "I think you like men." Wayne said yes. "It was my first encounter with someone who I knew was gay," Jobs recalled. "He planted the right perspective of it for me." Jobs grilled him: "When you see a beautiful woman, what do you feel?" Wayne replied, "It's like when you look at a beautiful horse. You can appreciate it, but you don't want to sleep with it. You appreciate beauty for what it is." Wayne said that it is a testament to Jobs that he felt like revealing this to him. "Nobody at Atari knew, and I could count on my toes and fingers the number of people I told in my whole life. But I guess it just felt right to tell him, that he would understand, and it didn't have any effect on our relationship."

In related news, Apple has posted its company memorial to Jobs on its website.

You can also watch 60 Minute lengthy segment on Jobs from last night, AFTER THE JUMP...

Watch the rest HERE.

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  1. How many more stories do we have to suffer about this arrogant, greedy man? He met a gay man once, big deal.

    Posted by: Rovex | Oct 24, 2011 9:15:09 AM

  2. Slog machine? Butning?

    At least this story has something to laugh at.

    He designed toys for the middle class.

    Posted by: SPOT | Oct 24, 2011 9:48:23 AM

  3. Body odor? Really?

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Oct 24, 2011 9:53:31 AM

  4. Upset that no one will remember you, Rovex? What makes him greedy, exactly? Because he didn't go and put his name on a foundation and instead donated to charity anonymously? What makes him arrogant? Because, after being burned and thrown out of his own company, he finally learned the power to saying no to people? Go ahead and be a doormat and kiss everyone's behind all you want, but don't expect that to get you anywhere in life.

    Posted by: Joey Y | Oct 24, 2011 9:58:29 AM

  5. Jobs, like many geniuses, was difficult to deal with. That makes him neither a monster nor a saint.

    Posted by: Paul R | Oct 24, 2011 10:25:48 AM

  6. ?? First time he met a gay man?? Really, he never left his parents home?! You see - we are everywhere.

    Posted by: Allen | Oct 24, 2011 10:28:44 AM

  7. "Body odor? Really?"


    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Oct 24, 2011 10:46:04 AM

  8. Joey Y the guy was an ass. Half of his products are begged, borrowed or stolen technology and yet he gets violently upset when someone does it to him. His answer to the antenna-gate issue ('you are holding it wrong'), proved he was arrogant as did his reaction to the now superior and higher selling Android. His donations were small fry compared to gates, who actively campaigns and donates billions.

    I dont care if im remembered or not, id just prefer people were remembered fairly. He just wanted to hurt every other company around him, very un-Buddhist of him. With this as his goal as described in this book, he died a failure since android is wining 2 to 1 and Samsung overtook Apple as the biggest smartphone manufacture in Q3 this year.

    In reality his devices havent had anything like the impact on the world as Microsoft Windows, Sony/Philips CD and DVD or Nokia mobile phones.

    Posted by: Rovex | Oct 24, 2011 11:04:05 AM

  9. I don't know what reality Rovex is living in, but to say that his divides haven't had an impact clearly underestimates his OWN use of Windows, as it uses ... say it with me, a mouse.

    Let's not even start with the purchase of digital music by individual songs.

    iPads are replacing textbooks. Enough said.

    Rovex, just say you don't like the man. You cannot, however, diminish or deny his contributions to advances in technology. Well, you could, but why?

    Posted by: Dr. Verdon Coleman | Oct 24, 2011 11:24:59 AM

  10. This whole story speaks to the tragedy danger of the closet ... in the mid-late 70's Atari was, essentially, run by gay men. Indeed, in 77 or 78, Ray Kassar, a gay man, became Atari's CEO.

    Posted by: mike moore | Oct 24, 2011 11:26:45 AM

  11. Rovex, I'm not a fan of the Jobs cult, or even an Apple fan but to say the devices haven't had the same impact is flat out wrong. Even more when you compare them to Sony's Walkman and Discman. They had a huge impact and changed the way people listened to music. Just like what happened with the iPod. Sure there were other mp3 players but none more important than Apple's.

    Posted by: Syrax | Oct 24, 2011 11:30:21 AM

  12. Hoping to beat some Jobsbot likely to post something like, "And Jobs gave $100,000 to Prop 8 and released a statement saying it was wrong." Uh, no, unlike Google's Sergey Brin, Jobs released no personal statement, the corporation did. And, no, unlike Brin and fellow straights Brad Pitt and Steven Spielberg who each PERSONALLY gave $100,000, gazillionaire Jobs didn't personally contribute a dime. [Jobs' wife, apparently in the process of cleaning lint out of her Louis Vuitton bag, did contribute $5k.] As for the corporation's donation? Do the math on how little $100k was out of the over $4 BILLION they made that year.

    And, then, there's that little thing about his annointed successor apparently being the last living so deep in the closet you can see the top of his head queen in the entire Bay Area. HE didn't give a dime to fight Prop 8 either.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Oct 24, 2011 11:52:18 AM

  13. Mr. Towle, I want to suggest that the "Ron Wayne" referred to in the biography later co-founded Apple with Jobs and Wozniak, but he gave up his 10% share in the company for $800 two weeks after it was started. He is credited with having drawn "the first Apple logo, wrote the three men's original partnership agreement, and wrote the Apple I manual".

    He would've been at least $10 billion rich in stock if he had stayed on, but he said that he doesn't regret leaving the company.

    He's also coming out with a biography of his own. Should be very interesting.

    Posted by: RayneVanDunem | Oct 24, 2011 12:03:49 PM

  14. Um the mouse was NOT an Apple invention, it was another example of Apple buying an idea from someone else, Xerox.
    They just marketed it well as with multi-touch, MP3 players and everything else. The iPhone was never even the best selling smartphone platform, it was always second or third to either Blackberry, Symbian or Android.

    I didnt say Apple had no impact, i said they didnt have the same impact. The fact is the PC was selling 50x as many as the Mac and the iPhone wasnt a big player until last year really. Smartphones had been around for many many years before that, selling many millions more than the iPhone has managed yet.

    Apples biggest impact was on those who dont understand technology. They are now the loudest most obnoxious voice. The majority are just getting on with our lives as before, rolling our eyes.

    Posted by: Rovex | Oct 24, 2011 12:08:45 PM

  15. Rovex, you sure are twisting some facts and leaving out many others. Either way, you sound incredibly bitter about something. What it is, I am not sure. So you don't like Steve Jobs or Apple? Big deal. Denying their impact so vehemently however just makes you look like a delusional prick.

    Posted by: Bastian | Oct 24, 2011 12:20:03 PM

  16. Rovex, I'm with you on this one...Apple is great if you want shiny, but I prefer my tech do what I want...

    Posted by: AladinSane | Oct 24, 2011 12:24:38 PM

  17. Bastian.. how am i leaving out facts? AGAIN i didn't say they/he had no impact, my issue is with the way his impact is being reported. He didn't invent the computer, mouse, mp3 player, phone or anything else. He didn't put a computer in every home, he didn't single handedly create the technological age, but that's how its being reported. He was one of the many important figures, but not central to the entire modern age and technological innovation will do just fine without him. It may in fact do better if his death means Apple backs off on its selfish abuse of the patent system.

    Posted by: Rovex | Oct 24, 2011 12:36:25 PM

  18. He probably was not a very nice person, apparently stunk, and had wretched social skills, that is too bad. His achievements seemed valid enough, even in light of being just another RobberBaron. As for his effect on humanity; his machines may captivate and amaze, but I don't see they help foster a loving peaceful planet. The end result for everything his life was about, would have to be that at the end of the day you can unplug the damn thing.

    Posted by: booka | Oct 24, 2011 12:50:05 PM

  19. This is a boring article.

    Posted by: Tyler | Oct 24, 2011 12:57:35 PM

  20. Rovex, if you need to be reminded, little Apple, Inc. had had a long-standing lawsuit against Microsoft because Microsoft stole, and I mean, STOLE the entire desktop concept from Apple, tweaked a few bytes here and there, patented them, called their product Windows and then sat back while Apple tried its best to keep the Windows juggernaut from smothering Apple. Apple failed. Apple finally settled its copyright suit with Microsoft, unfortunately, simply because Bill Gates' company and its influence and dominance was simply too powerful.

    Windows is nothing but MSDOS glorified with lights and whistles. Windows is still the dog-program of computing. Word stinks. Excel stinks. Powerpoint stinks. Give me WordPerfect and Lotus any day if I have to work on a Microsoft-based computer.

    What Apple did do and I am a witness to it, is they changed the concept of publishing forever. Desktop publishing completely wiped out traditional typography and Apple and its computers with their neat, clean, simple user-friendly meme were the reason why.

    Most publishing became "in-house". It was possible to set type, design pages, set up galleys, prep for printing--all with an Apple computer.

    From my perspective, as a typographer, Apple changed the world I knew and thrived in, for better or for worse.

    I'm sure Mr. Jobs had his failings. Judging by the anti-Jobs tone here and elsewhere, I'd say Mr. Jobs led a very successful life. Mr. Jobs deserves his place in the pantheon of personal computing. He earned it.

    By the way, what have YOU or the rest of the snarks here done that have changed humanity, for the better?

    That's what I thought. So, here's a suggestion: STFU, WAY UP.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Oct 24, 2011 1:32:03 PM

  21. Wow...I must the only person in the universe who just doesn't care.

    Yes, he spearheaded a number of great inventions, but he was nothing more than a creative business man - not a saint, not a god. Let the man rest in peace already.

    Posted by: Talisman | Oct 24, 2011 1:53:14 PM

  22. Why can't we just appreciate SJ's contributions to the tech world. We don't have to say anything about him as a man or a philanthropist. A lot of people contributed mightily to their field but would not (are not) be described as nice people. And maybe he's not into the idea of being Geffen, Broad, or Gates in the world of philanthropy. It doesn't take away from his contributions to the tech world. And weather or not he "invented" anything doesn't matter. He is the face of Apple and Apple products have been iconic in many ways. That's not a subjective observation, it's a fact.

    Posted by: dms | Oct 24, 2011 1:57:06 PM

  23. FYI, the reason Steve Jobs stunk back then was that he was on an all-fruit diet and he figured that because he was on this diet he only needed to bathe once a week.

    Posted by: Scott20148 | Oct 24, 2011 2:13:25 PM

  24. No Talisman you are not alone. It just seems like there are more people who want to either canonize Jobs or vilify him because they are so vocal about their passion. For those of you mystified by the body odor business...the very young at the time Jobs mistakenly believed that vegans did not have body odor and therefore did not have to bathe very often nor wash their hair. Somewhere along the line someone disabused him of this belief. Young people often have crazy notions but very few them become billionaires.

    Posted by: Paul | Oct 24, 2011 2:13:53 PM

  25. What a very strange comment thread...

    Posted by: Andalusian Dog | Oct 24, 2011 2:48:50 PM

  26. 1 2 »

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